Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, March 1st, 2012

But evil is wrought by want of thought,
As well as want of heart!

Thomas Hood

North North
East-West ♠ A K 4
 A Q 8 3
 A 9 8 7 2
♣ 7
West East
♠ 8 3
 9 6 4 2
 K Q J 10 4 3
♣ 2
♠ J 9 7 6 5
 K J 10
♣ J 10 5 3
♠ Q 10 2
 7 5
♣ A K Q 9 8 6 4
South West North East
1 Pass
2♣ Pass 2 Pass
2♠ Pass 3 NT Pass
4♣ Pass 6♣ All pass


On the way to today's club slam, North's jump to three no-trump showed about a strong no-trump. When South made a slam-try with his four-club call, North believed his excellent controls more than made up for his singleton trump.

West led the diamond king. Declarer won in dummy and did not relax despite the likelihood that he had at least 12 top winners. Instead he made the expert — and necessary — play of immediately ruffing a diamond, on which East discarded a spade. Declarer’s precaution was aimed at scoring his small trumps should clubs not behave. Now he played three rounds of clubs, and with a certain trump loser, it looked as if the contract now depended on the heart finesse.

But South had a better plan. He entered dummy twice in spades, each time to ruff a diamond in hand, as East discarded two hearts, and next cashed the spade queen. There were two possible plays now. South could have tried to throw East in with the winning trump, to endplay him in hearts, but he knew East still had a spade left, so that player would be able to cash a spade winner.

South found a more elegant solution. He entered dummy with the heart ace and, when the king fell, claimed his contract. But had the king not fallen, declarer would have led the diamond nine from dummy. If East ruffs in, South can discard his last heart, while if East pitches his spade, South makes his trump nine en passant.

Your hand seems to be just too good to pass one spade (though only just). The choice is to raise to two spades or to bid two diamonds. Both calls show good hands, but my slight preference is to bid two diamonds because that suit might play so much better than spades. You hope that partner can always convert back to spades with extra length and an unsuitable hand.


♠ A K 4
 A Q 8 3
 A 9 8 7 2
♣ 7
South West North East
Dbl. Pass 1♠ Pass

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


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