Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

Progress, therefore, is not an accident, but a necessity…It is part of nature.

Herbert Spencer

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


In today’s deal from Frank Stewart’s latest book, Keys to Winning Bridge, I’m going to show you what might happen at the table before discussing what should happen.

When West leads the diamond three against six hearts it goes to the four, jack, and king.

Declarer will take the heart ace and queen and run the spade queen from dummy to West’s ace. Back comes a second top diamond, and declarer wins in hand, ruffs a diamond, and should now take the ruffing finesse in spades rather than rely on the club finesse. If West has managed to keep his fingers off a top spade lead from the ace-king at trick one he deserves to beat you.

But the key to the deal is that East should cover the spade queen at trick four. If South has the spade ace, the contract is surely unbeatable. After all, East can count six trump tricks for South, the club ace, diamond ace-king and at least one diamond ruff in dummy. (Since West led the diamond three, he can have no more than five diamonds, leaving South with at least three.) In fact declarer rates to be cold for 13 tricks whatever you do.

When East’s spade king wins, he will exit passively in diamonds, and whether declarer plays on spades or clubs, the defenders will surely score another trick, one way or another.

Note also that declarer’s chances of obtaining a defensive error are much higher if he makes his first play in spades from dummy and not from hand.

There is some ambiguity about what is a cuebid and what is natural here (if your RHO had bid a major then your call in that suit would be played by many as natural). But cuebidding two clubs is safe enough; this must be artificial and should get partner to pick a major. You can then raise, and show an invitational hand.


♠ Q J 10 6
 Q 7 6 5
 5 4
♣ A J 6
South West North East
  1 ♣ Dbl. 1

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

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