Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Yogi Berra

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


It is easy to get carried away with hands like North’s, especially when your take-out double unearths a heart fit. But partner could have bid more than two hearts and did not do so. Even inviting game is not without risk, but when North makes a try, South is more than happy to advance.

Game is nothing special, since the chance of losing three clubs on the go is far from negligible. Also, you appear to have a spade and likely diamond loser to deal with. However, when the club king is led, followed by a trump shift, you can win with the ace, overtake the trump queen with your king, and play a second club.

West wins the club ace and does best to exit with a club to the queen. You take it, cash the diamond ace, lead the heart 10 to your jack and advance a low spade toward the king. This is a Morton’s Fork: If West plays the ace, you have the entries to pitch your diamond loser on the spades.

So West must play low, and you win the king and cash your last two trumps. In the three-card ending, you will play West to have started with five spades and three diamonds, but watch his discards carefully! If he pitches a diamond, you will know you can cash the diamond king and jack. If he comes down to a bare spade ace, you exit in spades and force him to lead away from the diamond queen.

This position is known as a strip-squeeze, and we will leave any jokes to be made on the table.

Slam is still technically in the offing, even though you may seem to be a long way off. Don’t tell your partner what he has — explore with a call of three clubs, and see if he shows any signs of life. What would excite you is a three-diamond call. You can then bid four diamonds and let partner know you have slam interest but no heart control.


♠ A J 7 6 3
 9 5
 Q 10 7
♣ A K 2
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 ♠ 2 2 ♠ 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact