Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, April 29th, 2016

Many things happen between the cup and the lip.

Robert Burton

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


There are some hands where it may be better to be in a grand slam, or a safe game, than in a small slam. This might apply on a hand where the defenders establish a winner at once, and declarer needs a finesse to make either 11 or 13 tricks. Today’s deal has something in common with that idea, but South missed the point, and it proved fatal to his slam.

Most North-South pairs stopped at three no-trump here, but one pair imaginatively ventured into six hearts. West led the diamond queen, and declarer won and crossed to the heart 10. He took the spade finesse successfully, cashed the spade ace and ruffed a spade on the table. There were not enough entries to hand to ruff the last spade and draw trump, so South followed with three rounds of trump. East discarded two diamonds, and the 4-2 club break left South a trick short.

While the spade finesse was necessary (since five club tricks, four trumps and two aces adds up only to 11 tricks) South’s line of play stood to yield either 11 or 13 tricks, never 12.

To give himself the chance of some added pressure if the clubs do not break, South must duck the opening lead, to correct the timing for a squeeze. West can do no better than lead a second top diamond. Now declarer finesses in spades, cashes the ace and ruffs a spade, then runs the trump. On the fourth heart, East has to unguard either spades or clubs, and declarer has the rest.

Your chances of making game in a major suit may not be good, but it would be somewhat cowardly to pass out one diamond here, and raising diamonds or bidding no-trump is certainly unattractive. I’d risk introducing hearts, hoping partner can come again. A cuebid of two clubs is a plausible if aggressive alternative.


♠ A Q 9 7
 A K J 9
 A 5 4
♣ 6 2
South West North East
      1 ♣
Dbl. Pass 1 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

1 Comment

DC pot doctorsMay 17th, 2016 at 6:25 pm

He used this to inform me I was a fraud and not lkkely ill, annd his speciality, when he wanted
to bee particularly abusive, was to declare that hee was going to contact thee DWP and tell them to stop my DLA because there was nothing fallacious with
me. Although my husband died 6 years in the past, I still wrestle with the legacy of
this abuse and assume medical professionals annd others will not believe