Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, April 14th, 2017

Amid the pressure of great events, a general principle gives no help.

Friedrich Hegel

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


In today’s deal at his second turn, South can either reverse into hearts or simply jump to two no-trump. Either way, he will get to show his real extras, suitable for no-trump, by his third turn. Now North can jump to slam.

In six no-trump, on the opening lead of the spade eight, South needs to generate extra tricks from both diamonds or spades. It looks logical to play on diamonds first; if the finesse succeeds, South can then develop his 12th trick from spades.

So South wins the spade king, then club ace, and takes the diamond finesse. West wins his king and returns another spade through dummy’s tenace. Since the finesse looks a broken reed, South must put up the ace and play for a squeeze.

First he cashes the diamond ace, then runs his clubs, and at trick nine, West is obliged to save two diamonds, and must therefore reduce to two hearts. Dummy’s threat card in diamonds has served its purpose and must now be discarded, so that dummy can preserve the spade jack as a threat against East.

Declarer next crosses to dummy with the heart ace, and cashes the diamond jack, squeezing East. East cannot release a spade, since dummy’s jack would then become established. East therefore discards a heart, and South wins the last two tricks with the heart king and nine.

Did you see the defense to the slam? West must shift to a heart at trick four. This disrupts declarer’s communications for the squeeze.

There is no need to jump to game; you cannot be sure that four spades (or three no-trump) is the right place to play. Equally, slam might be cold. All of this suggests that the right way to develop this hand is to cuebid two diamonds, planning to bid two spades over two hearts, which will be natural and forcing. The cuebid by an unpassed hand is forcing to suit agreement.


♠ A J 6 5
 A 8 5
 J 5 4 2
♣ A 6
South West North East
  1 Dbl. 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