Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

Logic is like the sword — those who appeal to it, shall perish by it.

Samuel Butler

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


South’s opening bid of two clubs followed by a rebid of two no-trump shows 22-24 points, and it would be cowardly of North to bid less than seven no-trump. South needs all four diamond tricks to make his contract, so he must play on the side suits to get a count.

He can discover that West started with three clubs, as West discards a spade on the fourth club while East pitches two spades.

South next runs the hearts. When East drops the heart 10 on the third round, even though this may be a false card, it appears that West started with four hearts and East with only three.

South now leads his second spade, and both opponents follow. Since neither the 10 nor the nine has yet appeared, South should assume that West has the 10 for his opening lead. While it is possible that West began with a short holding including both the jack and 10, it is far more likely that he has length than shortage. Since the 10 has not appeared, he must have begun with at least four spades.

Let’s do the math: West started with at least four spades, at least three hearts and exactly three clubs. At most, therefore, West started with only three diamonds; he might have had only one, but never four.

So South takes the first two diamonds with dummy’s top cards. The distribution of the diamonds is revealed when West shows out at the 11th trick, allowing South to take the marked finesse at trick 12, to bring home his grand slam.

You do not have enough to drive to game — if your partner has a Yarborough, you have remarkably few tricks. But this hand is too good for a simple rebid of one no-trump after doubling, which suggests about 18 to 20 HCP, so you should bid two no-trump. If your partner passes, you may be in the wrong part-score, but it is the best way to get to your most likely game.


♠ K Q
 A Q J
 A 10 8 7
♣ A Q 10 9
South West North East
    Pass 1 ♣
Dbl. Pass 1 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