Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, February 4th, 2017

The strongest of all warriors are these two – Time and Patience.

Leo Tolstoy

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

*spades and clubs


This deal came up last year and saw two Australasian pairs challenging one another in a very delicate game. See if you can do better than the declarer at the table.

Four hearts in abstract is not terrible here for North-South, but it is hardly easy to get to. However, a misunderstanding about the meaning of North’s first double led South to a game where a bad break in one red suit or the other was virtually guaranteed.

West, led a diamond and East won his ace to return the suit. Declarer did well to win, lead a heart to the ace and finesse in hearts, but had made the fatal mistake of blocking the diamond suit by playing the king from hand at trick two and by not cashing the diamond queen before taking the heart finesse.

So he played a spade and the defenders returned the suit. Now declarer eventually ran into an overruff in clubs.

Had South unblocked in diamonds he could have discarded dummy’s losing club on the fourth diamond. He would have taken three diamond tricks and have drawn two rounds of trump (he would not even have needed the finesse) with the lead in his hand.

Declarer now ruffs a club, and leads a spade to the queen and ace. Whether West plays a spade or a club back, declarer ends up scoring all his three remaining trumps separately, plus the spade king.

The key is to get the club ruffs in before East can discard his clubs on the spades.

At this moment you cannot be sure whose hand it is. Regardless, though, you should jump to four diamonds, since with pure values, that is to say so much of your hand in the minors and so little wasted in the majors, you want to bid more not less. Switch your clubs and spades and you might make the same call but with far less conviction.


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