Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Oft expectation fails, and most oft there
When most it promises.

William Shakespeare

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



Looking at the North-South hands, wouldn’t you expect 12 tricks to be made every day of the week? There are six top winners in the red suits, and five in the black suits. Declarer can test clubs and fall back on the spade finesse if necessary…can’t he? Up to a point, yes; but sometimes the defenders can force declarer to commit himself prematurely, and that is so in today’s deal, though it may not be obvious at first or even second glance.

At the table, the bidding saw North make a quantitative jump to four no-trump and South found a scientific way to explore for a minor-suit slam, settling in six no-trump when no club fit came to light.

When West led the diamond jack against the slam, South won with the queen. He led a heart to the king and then led back to the 10. West ducked twice, won the third heart and returned the diamond 10.

Now declarer was at the crossroads. In dummy for the last time, he had to decide what to discard on the other top diamond. Aware that the 3-3 break was against the odds, he chose to discard his small club and take the spade finesse, to go two off.

Declarer might have considered testing the clubs after two rounds of hearts were ducked, though if the hand with four clubs also has the heart ace, the contract would now fail. This seems the best line to me; but whatever the case, the credit should go to West for his thoughtful defense.

You limited your hand at your first turn after which partner showed a strong hand with hearts. In context you are very suitable for slam, so let your partner in on the secret with a cuebid of four diamonds. The fact that your RHO opened the bidding should not worry you; he was in third seat after all. Your partner knows your range, so if he just wanted to find the best game he can sign off now.


♠ 9 8 5
 K J 6
 A K 7 2
♣ 5 3 2
South West North East
Pass 1 Dbl. Pass
2 NT Pass 3 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