Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 5th, 2018

When I play with my cat, who knows whether she is amusing herself more with me than I am with her?


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


In today’s deal, South heard West pre-empt in clubs over his one-spade opener. Now, when North cue-bid four clubs, this was a forcing raise in spades but did not promise a club control. South signed off in game to end the auction. When West led the club queen, East won the ace. South could take the club return, draw trumps and ruff dummy’s last club in hand; but now what?

Either a good guess in diamonds or finding the heart queen onside would see declarer safely home. Or, if hearts broke 3-3, one of dummy’s diamonds could be discarded on the 13th heart.

Accordingly, South continued with a heart to the jack and queen. Back came a deceptive heart four, to West’s 10 and dummy’s king. Declarer could now have run the heart seven, playing East for a four-card suit. But West was perfectly capable of contributing the 10 from the 109. So eventually South played a heart to his ace, then guessed poorly by leading a diamond to the king and ace. Down one.

The diamond guess was unlucky, but declarer had missed a 100 percent line. After drawing trumps and eliminating clubs, he was right to play on hearts. But he should have covered the three with the seven to endplay East.

If a heart is returned, dummy’s jack and king can be cashed, and South re-enters his hand with a trump to discard a diamond on the heart ace. If West puts up the heart 10 at his first turn, dummy’s jack is played, and East is again forced to clear up the heart position.

Had your RHO not doubled, you would have bid two hearts, of course. So should you now ignore the likelihood that there is heart length on your right and make the two-heart bid anyway? I’m not sure of the answer here. I’d certainly bid a better heart suit, but that doesn’t feel necessary here. I think I would pass and await further developments.


♠ K Q 5 3 2
 A 8 6 5
 10 4
♣ K 3
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 1 NT Dbl.

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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Bill CubleyApril 20th, 2018 at 3:44 pm

My cat gives me playing lessons. 😉

Bobby WolffApril 20th, 2018 at 4:03 pm

Hi Bill.

Like too many bridge players, just fiddling around!

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