Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, August 10th, 2015

Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.

Cardinal Newman

S North
None ♠ Q 9 7
 9 8 6
 J 7 5
♣ K 10 6 4
West East
♠ K 6 5 3
 Q 2
 Q 10 2
♣ 9 7 5 2
♠ A 8 4
 K 5 4 3
 K 6 4 3
♣ 8 3
♠ J 10 2
 A J 10 7
 A 9 8
♣ A Q J
South West North East
1 ♣ Pass 3 ♣* Pass
3 NT All pass    

*6-9 HCP


When South upgrade his hand out of his strong no-trump range of 14 to 17, North treated his hand as worth a club raise. This combination of actions led to NorthSouth stretching to a thin, though not hopeless game.

When West led a low spade to the first trick, declarer could see that he was very short of entries to dummy to play hearts. So he carefully put in dummy’s spade nine to the first trick. East won his ace as South unblocked the 10, and had one chance to defeat the game — though it would have required great defensive cooperation. He must shift to a diamond to let West win and go back to spades. Instead, though, he made the more normal play of continuing the attack on spades. West ducked the second spade, so declarer won dummy’s queen and led a low heart to the jack and West’s queen (ducking does not help today). That player cashed his spades as South pitched diamonds from both hands. When West exited with a diamond, declarer won in hand and cashed off the four club winners to discard his last diamond.

Now declarer could run the heart nine from dummy and repeat the finesse when East ducked, to score three hearts, four clubs, and one trick in each of the other suits.

Curiously, if declarer does not have the heart seven (switch the heart five and seven, for example) he cannot play the heart suit for three tricks on best defense, because of the entry problems to dummy.

West’s double was for take-out, so your opponents rate to be in a 4-4 fit, and I’d expect declarer to want to take diamond ruffs in dummy. A trump lead might cut down on that option for declarer and rates to be relatively passive. A diamond lead would be the second choice of course, but might easily help set up a discard for declarer or solve a guess.


♠ Q 8 2
 10 6 3
 Q 6 4 3
♣ K 10 9
South West North East
    1 1 NT
2 Dbl. Pass 2
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