Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 9th, 2017

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care,
They pursued it with forks and hope.

Lewis Carroll

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


In today’s deal you win the opening spade lead in six hearts, to test trumps. The 3-0 break should not present a problem; the real issue is how to avoid the loss of a trick in each minor.

Life is easy if the club finesse succeeds. You can discard a club on the spade king and another on the third round of diamonds. How might you succeed with the club finesse wrong?

If you can sneak a diamond past the ace, you can discard your other diamond on the spade king. Indeed, if you lead a low diamond and the ace goes up, you will have two discards coming on the diamonds and one on the spade king. So you can discard all three potential club losers.

Which defender should be the intended victim of this maneuver, known as a Morton’s Fork? The lack of opposing bidding provides a clue. Assume the worst: West has the club king as well as a spade suit headed by the queen-jack. The opponents’ silence is entirely consistent with 5-5 spades.

If West had the diamond ace, club king and five spades he would surely have overcalled one spade. So draw trump ending in dummy (ensuring you leave the six as an entry) and lead a low diamond towards the jack. If East plays low, you win with the jack, cross to dummy with the heart six and throw your last diamond on the spade king.

If East takes his ace and switches to a club, take the ace, unblock the diamond jack and pitch your clubs on dummy’s three winners.

You may have a weak hand, but that doesn’t mean you have to roll over without a fight. Since your partner rates to be relatively short in spades, you might take a surprising number of tricks in clubs, especially if he has a five-card suit, while the opponents can also come close to making a partscore. So bid three clubs.


♠ 10 8 6 4 2
 A 9 7 2
♣ 10 6 3 2
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 ♠ 1 NT 2 ♣ 2 NT

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