Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils;
for time is the greatest innovator.

Francis Bacon

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

*heart raise with unspecified shortness


After North uses Stayman and finds the heart fit, he may have a useful gadget available to him – one named after the late Grant Baze. He can jump to three spades, an artificial call promising slam interest with heart fit and an unspecified short suit, which he later reveals to be diamonds.

South’s hand fits his partner’s nicely if North has a singleton diamond, given his own outstanding trumps. If partner makes a try for slam when you have all the top trumps, you should never sign off. So he makes one effort, and that is enough for North to drive to six hearts.

It is never easy to know when to count losers, and when to count winners. In six hearts, if South can take the three club tricks and four trumps he needs to take two diamond ruffs in dummy. The problem is the entries back to hand: how is South to get to his hand to ruff a second diamond after taking the first ruff in dummy? Declarer needs to ensure that if he loses a club trick, it must be at a time when the opponents are not in position to take a diamond trick also.

The solution is to win the spade lead in dummy, cross to the diamond ace and take a club finesse. If it loses, play to ruff two diamonds while drawing trump, using the club jack as a re-entry to hand. If the club finesse holds, use trumps to come back to hand to ruff two diamonds, then ruff a spade to hand to draw the last trump.

Whether or not you play this as extras, the sequence can hardly be forcing (partner had many ways to show a better hand, such as jumping in clubs or cuebidding). That being so, since you are very much at the bottom end of your range, you can pass happily enough. Had your partner bid two hearts, that would have guaranteed real extras.


♠ Q 9 8 6
 9 8 7
 Q 9 7
♣ Q 9 3
South West North East
Pass 1 ♠ Dbl. Pass
1 NT 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