Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Measure your mind’s height by the shade it casts!

Robert Browning

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


Ian McCance’s “The Setting Trick”, published by Master Point Press, offers a range of problems. You will be able to pat yourself on the back for solving any of the problems in the book. If you fail the challenge, you will be even keener to redeem yourself on the next.

Today’s deal comes from the book, but I have edited a couple of spots to make the point a little sharper.

Against three hearts, West led the club four and South’s king fell under East’s ace. East could see that attacking declarer’s trump holding might well pay dividends so long as South had started with just five trumps. East therefore returned a club at trick two, which South ruffed, as West unblocked the club 10 on this trick to ease the defenders’ communications in clubs.

At this point declarer led a diamond to dummy’s king. He continued with the heart 10 – and the critical moment of the deal had been reached. Danish International Jens Auken described this sort of moment as the kill point.

When West ducked the heart 10 smoothly, it gave the impression that East had the ace and queen, or at the very least the trump queen. Falling for the bait, declarer repeated the heart finesse. Now West emerged from the bushes, winning this trick, then cashing his master heart. Having denuded dummy of hearts, West took out South’s last trump by playing a third round of clubs. The defenders still held the spade ace as their entry to allow them to run the clubs on defense.

At this point in the auction you can be fairly sure partner will only have four spades if he has a dead minimum or is unsuitable for competing further. Since he is clearly not long in hearts, the opponents’ club fit rates to be an eight-card one (or East might well have gone back to hearts). Your honors look more suitable for offense than defense, so I would risk a call of three diamonds now.


♠ K Q 6 3
 10 8 2
 K Q 10 3
♣ J 9
South West North East
Pass 1 Dbl. Pass
2 ♠ 3 ♣ Pass 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