Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, May 9th, 2016

In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king.


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



Every year the US Bridge Federation organizes trials in four categories, Open, Women, Senior and Junior. The Open trials are currently being held to select a team for this September’s Olympiad, an event to which every country can send one team in each category.

Today’s deal cropped up in last year’s trials. It sees a competent declarer having a blind spot. See if you can do better than him!

Would you have balanced over three clubs with three notrump? It depends on how macho you feel, I guess, but it was not unreasonable. When your partner transfers to spades and East doubles you may have second thoughts – but at least you have four trumps. After a top club lead, plan the play.

The hand should be close to an open book. East has a singleton club and all the outstanding high cards, so the key is to avoid letting West in to cash clubs. Win the club lead and play the diamond king to force an entry to dummy for the spade finesse. That way the defenders cannot promote the spade king on the third round of clubs.

East will win the diamond ace and shift to a low heart. You rise with the ace and ruff a diamond to dummy. Then you take the trump finesse and end up with eight spade tricks and two aces.

If you play ace and a second spade, or lead a low trump at trick two, East can force an entry to his partner’s hand, to allow him subsequently to cash out his club winner.

Since nobody bid diamonds I’m guessing my partner has some shape like 2=2=4=5, with dummy pretty close to a 3=3=3=4 pattern. It feels right to lead clubs and force declarer, to obtain trump control. If my hearts were, say, queenjack fourth, I might lead trumps, to stop declarer singling in his low hearts.


♠ A J 8 6
 A 8 7 5
 9 6
♣ Q 4 2
South West North East
    1 ♣ Dbl.
Rdbl. Pass Pass 1
Dbl. 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact

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