Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, March 30th, 2015

To most people nothing is more troublesome than the effort of thinking.

James Bryce

East North
Neither ♠ K 5 4
 Q 10 8
 A K 6 2
♣ A K 5
West East
♠ 3
 J 5 4 3 2
 5 4
♣ J 10 9 8 6
♠ A 10 9 8 7 2
 7 6
 J 9 8 7
♣ 7
♠ Q J 6
 A K 9
 Q 10 3
♣ Q 4 3 2
South West North East
Pass Pass Dbl. Pass
3 NT Pass 4 NT Pass
6 NT All pass    


As declarer, you should delay committing yourself until you can find out as much information as possible. Here, after East opened with a weak two spade bid, South passed initially, then jumped to three no-trump at his next turn. When North invited slam, South felt he had a maximum for his first two calls, and jumped to slam.

Against six no-trump West led the club jack, won in dummy. Once the spade ace was dislodged South could count 11 tricks and knew he had to look to the minors to furnish the 12th. However, there was no reason to hurry, so at trick two declarer played dummy’s spade king. When East won and returned a spade, South cashed all his major suit winners, West discarding a heart and a club on the spades, and East a spade on the third heart.

Declarer now knew East had six spades, two hearts and a club. South continued with the club queen, and when East showed out, his shape was revealed as 6-2-4-1.

Whereas the bidding and early play might have suggested that West was the likelier candidate to have diamond length, South had now the evidence to come to the opposite conclusion. Since East had twice as many diamonds as West, it was twice as likely that East had the jack. So declarer led a diamond to dummy for a successful finesse of the diamond 10; then the diamond queen followed by a club to the king saw the diamond king represent the 12th trick.

Declarer rates to have the top end of a strong no-trump with four spades and most likely five clubs, with either two cards in each red suit or a singleton diamond and three hearts. Meanwhile, dummy rates to have only three clubs, as he did not revert to three clubs, perhaps with five diamonds. Since West did not try one no-trump at his second turn, I’d go after hearts as our most likely source of tricks.


♠ Q 7 3
 A 8 5 2
 J 6 3
♣ Q 10 2
South West North East
  Pass Pass 1♣
Pass 1 Pass 1♠
Pass 2♣ Pass 2 NT
All 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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact