Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.

Noel Coward

S North
None ♠ K 9 4 3
 Q 10 7
 8 5 4
♣ K 7 3
West East
♠ 7 2
 A 5 4
 K Q J 7 6
♣ Q 8 4
♠ 8
 K 9 8 6 3 2
 10 3
♣ J 10 9 5
♠ A Q J 10 6 5
 A 9 2
♣ A 6 2
South West North East
1 ♠ 2 2 ♠ Pass
4 ♠ All pass    


When North makes a simple spade raise, South cannot tell if game will have good play, but he must bid it anyway. You are favorite to make four spades facing a maximum or the right minimum – or if the defenders don’t find the best lead. It pays to be aggressive here, giving away as little as possible in the process.

However, the combination of the duplication of shape and wasted values in dummy means South has his work cut out today to bring home the game. On balance, it looks right to duck the first diamond to disrupt the opponents’ communication. But South must win the next diamond, and then does best to lead a trump to dummy.

South’s cunning plan is to lead a low heart from dummy at the fourth trick, trying to build a heart trick for an eventual club discard. This can be done if East has both top hearts; or if the top hearts are split, so long as it is West who wins the first trick in that suit.

If South led the first heart from his own hand, West would allow East to win the first heart. The effect of leading the first heart from the dummy, instead of from hand, is to persuade East to play low. Indeed, only an idiot or a genius will rise with the king here, won’t they?

When his ruse succeeds, declarer will eventually be able to lead the heart queen through East and ruff out the heart king. This establishes a home for the slow club loser, and the game comes home.

You are faced with a set of ugly alternatives. A panel might vote for all the four minimum actions in clubs, diamonds, hearts or no-trump. I think my diamond honors persuade me to repeat the suit, even though it technically shows six. But I can easily see how bids in any of the other suits might work. A call of one no-trump does not thrill me, however!


♠ 7 2
 A 5 4
 K Q J 7 6
♣ Q 8 4
South West North East
1 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