Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Pleasured equally in seeking as in finding,
Each detail minding, Old Walt went seeking
And finding.

Langston Hughes

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


In today’s deal when North raised to two spades at his first turn, South might have driven to four spades and received a diamond lead. Perhaps unwisely, he tried a three heart call (three diamonds might have been more accurate, since that is the suit South really wants help in). Now when North bid four spades, West led a low trump, avoiding giving away the contract with a diamond lead.

It might seem natural to draw trumps and try to guess diamonds, but declarer decided he would try and find out more about the hand before committing himself. So he played a club to the king at trick two. East won and shifted to hearts, letting West take his ace, cash his club queen and exit in trumps.

Now South won in hand, ruffed out the hearts, and trumped a club high. At this point South knew that West had started with exactly two clubs and three trumps; this left him with eight cards in the red suits. East had pitched clubs on the second and third trumps, and each defender had followed with small hearts on the third round.

Since East had shifted to a low heart at trick three, the odds were that each defender had one of the jack and 10, so that suggested hearts were originally 4-4, and therefore West had begun with four of the missing six diamonds.

So declarer cashed the diamond ace and successfully finessed West for the diamond queen.

Your partner has asked for help in diamonds and you have a splendid holding, more than enough to bid game. In fact there are plenty of hands where you might make slam in either spades or diamonds, and the right way to show that is to bid four diamonds now. Imagine partner with a powerhouse and 5-2-4-2 shape to see why diamonds might be right.


♠ J 10 8 4
 9 7
 K J 6 2
♣ K 5 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♠ Pass
2 ♠ Pass 3 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