Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

What a word is truth. Slippery, tricky, unreliable. I tried in these books to tell the truth.

Lilian Hellman

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


In today’s deal North tries for a grand slam but signs off in six hearts when South cannot bid more than six diamonds over the five no-trump enquiry. (South would have done more with the diamond queen instead of the jack).

When West leads the club jack, South wins the ace and takes one top diamond. If no large diamond appears on his right or left, declarer might well simply draw all the trumps and play a second diamond to the jack. This line would succeed unless East had begun with a singleton diamond.

However, when the diamond 10 appears from East, South decides to take it at face value. He draws two rounds of trump ending in dummy, cashes two spades to pitch his club loser, then leads a diamond toward his own hand, while leaving one trump outstanding.

If East discards on the second diamond, South will win with the king, and give up a diamond. This leaves him in position to ruff a fourth diamond with dummy’s high trump.

However, since nothing can be gained by discarding, East ruffs the second round of diamonds and plays back a spade. South trumps, and can cash the diamond king, then ruff a diamond for his contract.

As an aside, maybe West could persuade you to go wrong if he started life with Q-10-9-3 by dropping the 10 on the first round? You might then draw all the trump before playing a second diamond, and be left with two diamond losers.

You may be tempted to pass, and I might indeed break partnership discipline to do that if slightly weaker. However, this auction is technically forcing. On this sequence, it is modern practice to play the call of two spades as natural but not promising or denying extra values, forcing for one round. So your plan would be to bid two spades, and pass any non-forcing continuation partner produces.


♠ Q J 10 4 2
 8 7 4
♣ K 8 6 5
South West North East
  Pass 1 Pass
1 ♠ Pass 2 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact