Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, December 14th, 2012

Truth exists; only falsehood has to be invented.

George Braque

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


In today's deal West entered with the unusual no-trump, showing at least 5-5 shape in the minor suits. South's double proclaimed a strong hand, and North now had a problem. His selection of three hearts on a hand containing an ace and a king was an underbid; I think that four clubs would have been best. All was well, though, when South rebid three spades and North raised to four spades. How would you play this when West leads the club king to your ace?

Declarer could see eight spades and only six hearts between his hand and the dummy. It seemed therefore slightly more likely that West held one spade and two hearts rather than the other way around. So he crossed to the trump king and led a diamond to the ace. A heart to the ace was followed by another diamond toward the South hand.

East saw that he could not gain by ruffing a loser with a master trump so he discarded, and declarer won with the diamond king. He then surrendered the third round of diamonds, planning to ruff the fourth round. West won the trick and could not thwart declarer’s plan. If he returned a diamond, declarer would ruff with dummy’s five and the defenders would then score just two trump tricks to go with the one diamond trick. If instead West returned a club, declarer would ruff in his hand and lead a fourth round of diamonds himself, ruffing in the dummy.

Either way, the contract was home.

Partner's reverse to two diamonds (forcing you to give preference at the three-level) shows extras. Now should you bid two no-trump to protect your spade king, or give preference to three clubs, allowing partner to look for no-trump himself? I prefer the latter — which I'd play as forcing in a noncompetitive auction. Showing your four-card support may be critical to partner's plans.


♠ K 5
 A 8 6 5
 7 6 4
♣ 8 6 5 4
South West North East
1♣ Pass
1 1♠ 2 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