Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, April 10th, 2017

He has gained every point who has mixed practicality with pleasure, by delighting the reader at the same time as instructing him.


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


At a Fort Worth sectional, one of my readers, Dick McLamore was South. When he produced a strong jump shift to North’s one-heart opener(!) he heard North jump to five clubs, suggesting good clubs. So he took a pot at the grand slam, once he found a spade control opposite.

When West doubled, North masochistically passed, but McLamore decided that the double had to be based on a club void, the so-called Lightner double. This asks the hand on lead either to attack dummy’s first-bid suit, or to give his partner a ruff. Accordingly he escaped to seven no-trump.

This was logical reasoning, but wrong in every respect. Admittedly, the complete deal would have come as a complete surprise to just about everybody except North, who had had a bidding box accident at her first turn.

Against seven no-trump McLamore captured the spade king lead with the ace. If diamonds were 3-3, he could see there would be 13 tricks for the taking, but West showed out on the third round. Can you see how to advance the play?

Declarer simply ran the clubs, throwing a spade from hand on the fifth. He already knew from the bidding and play thus far that West had the spade queen and the hearts guarded, but even if East had held four hearts as well as West, the last club would have successfully squeezed both players.

In that scenario only a heart lead would have broken up the squeeze, and anyone who found that would have my admiration.

My guess would be to lead my second highest club, because with such a bad suit I want my partner to be alive to the idea that he might need to shift to a second suit in order to beat the opponents. If I had two sure entries on the side, I might lead fourth highest here.


♠ Q 3 2
 10 4
 A J 6
♣ 9 7 6 4 3
South West North East
      1 NT
Pass 3 NT 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact