Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Our discussion is on no trifling matter, but on the right way to conduct our lives.


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


**Short spades, agreeing diamonds


Today's deal comes from the excellent new book by Tim Bourke and Justin Canfield, “The Art of Declarer Play”. Tim provides the deals, Justin the thought process an expert player must go through on a complex deal.

When West leads the diamond five against your slam, how do you plan to make 12 tricks? Since West clearly has the spade ace, you must ruff clubs and utilize your knowledge of West’s length in the majors. The first question is if you can make the slam when West has a singleton club by drawing trump, then taking the club ruffs. Try it, and you will find that you have to use the heart king as an entry to dummy, or that if you lead a low spade from hand, a heart shift rates to break up the pressure for a squeeze.

You should conclude that making 12 tricks is impossible when West began with two trumps. You must hope that West has only one trump, and take the opening lead to cash the club ace-king at once. If they live, you ruff a club, then cross back to the diamond 10 and ruff dummy’s last club. Now you go to dummy with your last diamond to play the fourth and fifth round of trumps, pitching a spade and heart from hand.

In the four-card ending if West comes down to a doubleton heart, your hearts run. If instead he blanks the spade ace, you will give up a spade, ducking in hand, to establish the spade king.

This hand is closer to a two diamond overcall than some, but facing a passed hand I feel like I need more for a two diamond overcall than this. Give me the diamond 10 in place of the four, and you might tempt me into indiscretion. As it is, I pass.


♠ K 8 5
 A 10 4
 K J 8 6 4
♣ J 2
South West North East
Pass Pass 1♠

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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact