Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

When people will not wed their own minds, they are apt to be overrun with nettles.

Horace Walpole

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


There are plenty of reasons to delay the drawing of trump, such as playing a crossruff, but a bad trump break may also necessitate an indirect route to the goal. In that case, a trump coup, such as in today’s exhibit, may achieve the desired result.

Against four hearts East took the lead club 10 with the king, cashed the ace, and exited with the club five. After discarding the diamond two from hand and winning the trick with dummy’s club jack, declarer played the heart ace then led a heart to the 10.

So far so normal; but when West discarded a spade, South had only nine sure tricks with the best chance of achieving a 10th trick coming from a trump coup. For this to work, an opponent would have to be on lead when declarer’s trump length had been reduced to that held by East.

So, South played a spade to the ace and ruffed a spade. Had he now played a diamond to the ace and then led a third spade, East would have discarded a diamond and would then have been able to ruff away the diamond king. But declarer first played the diamond king, then a diamond to the ace, before playing another spade. Now East could only discard a club and declarer ruffed. Since South now held the heart K-J and the diamond jack, he could exit with the latter, and could not be prevented from taking the last two tricks.

The three club call should be a very good hand — and it should not be a limit or game-forcing hand in spades, since with that you would bid spades or jump descriptively to the four-level. Initially I’d expect partner to want me to bid three no-trump with a diamond stopper, but you are way too good for that action. Cuebid four clubs and find out what your partner wants to do next.


♠ A 9 6 3 2
 A 3
 A 9 5
♣ J 6 3
South West North East
    1 Pass
1♠ 2♣ 3♣ 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


David WarheitApril 14th, 2015 at 9:42 am

People need to weed their own minds, not wed them; that would be too hard.

jim2April 14th, 2015 at 12:09 pm

I think that is what narcissists do.

BTW, I never answer a cue bid with a cue bid. I get hives at the mere notion!

Bobby WolffApril 14th, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Hi David,

Not wed their own minds, but rather weed them, my, but you are getting so picky and all over a mere quote. Just because you are more literate than all of us here, shouldn’t give you such an advantage.

But, alas, it certainly does and I thank you for it.


Bobby WolffApril 14th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Hi Jim2,

Bridge and narcissists go together like a horse and carriage. Ask the local gentry and they will say its elementary.

On reflection, often, a cue bid as a response to a strength showing cue bid immediately alerts partner that slam is in the air, particularly here, where club control (South’s weakness) has just been accounted for and whichever suit partner prefers (spades or diamonds) will likely be the target for a grand slam.

If I had to guess right now, I would guess that either trump suit will take at least 13 tricks (all+) with the lone exception perhaps: s. KQJxx, h. void, d. KQJxxxx, c. x and that hand would indeed, being a freak of nature (or more specific, dealing), unlikely to occur.

However, a good exercise to conduct in bridge class would be to list possible hands which North may hold, to justify his initial cue bid.

It would indeed be strange for North to not have one first round control for such an effort. Maybe either s. QJ10x, h. KQ, d. KQJxxx, c. A or s. KQJx, h. KQ, d. QJ10xxx, c. A
is more likely or even possibly: s. KQJx, h. void, d. QJ10xxxx, c. Ax.

Jim2, save getting your hives with the realization that if you do not eventually choose to bid the grand slam it will indeed have about 16 tricks, but if you do, the opening leader’s partner will surely be void in the suit which is led.

Such is life in the TOCM TM corral.

Iain ClimieApril 14th, 2015 at 8:22 pm

Hi David, Bobby,

My wife reckons that I’m so in love with my own ego that I probably would like to wed my own mind. Ouch!



Bobby WolffApril 15th, 2015 at 1:55 am

Hi Iain,

Please explain to your lovely wife that in America it would now probably be explained as minding your own weed, especially with the new medical laws.