Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Tomorrow night I’m giving a lecture on silence and invisibility. Don’t be surprised if I don’t show up.

Jarod Kintz

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


When there is a choice of entries to dummy and you need multiple entries, then, you should consider choosing as your first entry the one that does not permit the defenders to block you.

On lead against three notrump West led the spade queen. Declarer won in dummy and immediately led a low diamond towards his hand, appreciating that for his game to succeed he needed East to hold the diamond ace. East played low, the king won, and declarer entered dummy in hearts to repeat the process.

Now East rose with the diamond ace, blocking the suit, and returned, not a spade but the club king, attacking dummy’s last entry. South withheld dummy’s ace for two rounds, unblocking the club 10 from hand, hoping East would switch, but East persisted with clubs.

Although this line of defense presented declarer with two club tricks, the diamonds were now firmly blocked. South’s last chance for the contract was finding the heart queen onside. But when that finesse failed, South’s final hope of nine tricks went out of the window.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but if declarer had entered dummy with the club ace for the second diamond play, he could not have been prevented from taking nine tricks. With the diamond ace onside, this line would only fail if one defender had held an extremely good club suit.

Now if East wins the second diamond and returns a heart, South can take this in hand, unblock the diamonds, then enter dummy with the heart king to reach the rest of the diamonds.

I hope there will not be too many readers who have shuddered at the idea of responding light, and who now want to shut up shop in one notrump. We all know that this hand will play better in hearts or spades than in no-trump. Bid two hearts and let partner pick where he wants to play. (If you had game interest you would use ‘New Minor’ by bidding two clubs over one notrump as a forcing enquiry.)


♠ Q J 10 8 3
 Q 9 4 3
 4 3
♣ 8 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 Pass
1 ♠ Pass 1 NT 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


Iain ClimieJune 25th, 2015 at 8:58 pm

Hi Bobby,

I suppose the lesson is to use the entry which can’t be dislodged first although it was unlucky to find east with such an easy switch. Yet are there other options?

After the DK holds, bashing down the queen may pin a doubleton jack and keeps communications. East wins but mustn’t play the CK even though tempting. He plays the S9 which south has to duck and east has to hope west doesn’t overtake and helpfully play a third round. If west behaves, a club switch now beats 3N.

This hand illustrates how much potential dodgy 3N contracts have to scrape home. If west’s spades were more broken, a heart lead would surely have landed helpfully on the table at T1. As a stray thought, though, could east consider a lead directing X of 2C or is this too likely to just lose 380 or 580? Possibly ok at pairs, with 3N scoring 20 more if it makes, but appalling for team morale in other cases. How do you draw the line on such doubles between sensible and very expensive, at least during the bidding. Results always speak loudly.



Joe1June 25th, 2015 at 10:58 pm

Counterintuitive, but i see that the lesson is to protect the necessary need for an entry, giving up a single stopper, taking the risk of an unlikely 5-1 club break.

Bobby WolffJune 26th, 2015 at 12:41 am

Hi Iain,

These bridge challenges seem to come in many shapes and sizes. This one requires logically choosing the single stopper instead of (as mentioned) .. the incorrect intuitive one. Call the exercise the logic of numeracy but in reality, it applies directly to bridge in spite of its varied clothing. At least to me, our level play is similar to running a business. You have to zig and zag in order to be creatively successful. Always thanks for your down-home truths.

Bobby WolffJune 26th, 2015 at 12:45 am

Hi Joe1,

Thanks for describing exactly what is involved (in as few words as possible). There will always be great demand for doing just that .. in an economy of words!