Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Resolved to take Fate by the throat and shake a living out of her.

Louisa May Alcott

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


Today’s deal comes from the 2015 Gold Coast pairs in Brisbane, and presented both the defenders and declarer with a challenging problem.

Try four hearts by South, or if you prefer you can play it from the North seat after a diamond lead (yes, a top club lead by East would leave you with too much work to do). Either way, you win the diamond ace at trick one.

You now lead the heart king to find the bad news in trump. You play low from dummy, then lead a low heart to dummy’s 10. What is your plan now?

Best is to lead a spade toward your hand, intending to cover East’s card, and put West in. His best play is to try to kill your entries to hand by leading the diamond king – but you can riposte by discarding a low spade, rather than ruffing in. Whatever West does next, you can arrange to cash the spade ace, then ruff a spade high in the North hand and draw trump ending in South. The same line of ruffing out spades works if West returns a spade at trick five.

Incidentally, when North was declarer on a diamond lead, finding the most testing defense was not easy. Quite a few defenders as West won the spade to underlead in diamonds. That resulted in a disastrous minus 450, when declarer could discard from dummy after his diamond queen scored. Of course West should have led out the king rather than underlead it, since he knew declarer would not have a losing option of misguessing.

Your partner has shown 18-20 HCP, so you have just enough to move on to game. The best way to check back for a heart fit is to bid three clubs, a cuebid that will get your partner to raise hearts with three. Passing two no-trump would be trying to land on the head of a pin.


♠ 8 4
 A 10 7 4 2
 Q 10 4
♣ 7 5 3
South West North East
Pass 1 ♣ Dbl. 1 ♠
2 Pass 2 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact