Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 1st, 2018

Let us consider the reason of the case. For nothing is not law that is not reason.

Sir John Powell

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

*Asking for the spade queen


At Yokohama last year, this deal pitted Jack Zhao of China against one of his former partners. Zhao, North, reached three no-trump after opening one heart then jumping to three clubs. You can hardly blame Fu Zhong for leading a diamond rather than a club, but that meant 12 tricks for Zhao — a near-top.

However, David Bakhshi and Kazuko Tsumori bid to six spades by North on the deal, and they also received a diamond lead. When Tsumori ran that to her hand, she had 12 tricks … and an even better score.

Six spades by South seems to have too much work to be done on a club lead, but an astute declarer can find his way home even then. Win the club ace, play a low heart to your ace, and trust the defenders’ count signal in hearts. Take just one top spade, then cash two top hearts, pitching clubs from hand. Now ruff a club, go back to the spade king and face the critical decision.

The fall of the spade honors makes it more likely that East holds the spade queen than that West began with precisely Q-J-10 of trumps. It would be right to cash hearts now if East began with a 3=4=4=2 pattern, but if you believe the carding, you should play East for only three hearts. The point is that if you play the fourth heart at once, East can ruff and exit in clubs; instead, ruff the third club and exit with a spade.

In the four-card ending, East must lead diamonds and allow your queen and ace to score.

It looks straightforward to bid three no-trump here, but your partner might have a singleton spade, in which case slam in clubs might make while three no-trump goes down. Temporize with three diamonds and find out more about your partner’s hand.


♠ 8 6 4 3 2
 Q 9 7 2
♣ 8 7 3
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 ♠ 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact

1 Comment

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