Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, June 1st, 2019

No one thinks of winter when the grass is green!

Rudyard Kipling

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


When you reach the normal contract of four spades, you have been warned that diamonds may not break, but at least the shortage will be in the right place. After the diamond five is led, you capture East’s queen with your ace. How should you continue?

The best chance seemed to be finding the heart ace with West, or perhaps the spade king with East. So you lead a heart at trick two, which goes to the king and ace. Back comes the spade two, and now you must revise your plan. Be warned: the answer isn’t easy! The point is that if you ruff two diamonds in dummy, West may score two trump tricks, and you will still have a diamond loser left.

The best line is to win the spade ace, then lead a club to the ace and ruff a club. Trump a diamond in dummy and ruff another club to hand. At this point, you lead one more diamond, and West can do no better than throw a heart. You ruff yet another club to establish dummy’s fifth club, and when West follows, that marks him with an original 3=4=2=4 shape.

You can now endplay West by leading the spade queen, throwing a low heart from table. (If you lead the spade nine, then West might meanly hop up with the king and exit with the spade 10, leaving you with two diamond losers.)

Note that as the cards lie, West can take your spade queen with his king and cash the spade 10. However, he must then lead a heart to dummy’s king, after which the club 10 is the game-going trick.

Double here would be takeout, maybe suggesting tolerance for partner’s suit — the same hand with a second spade instead of a small card in either minor would be perfect for that call. Instead, should you bid two diamonds because of your suit disparities, or double and rely on getting to the right strain? I think I’d bid two diamonds, expecting to get to the right major suit if partner doesn’t fit diamonds.


♠ 2
 A 10 9 7
 K Q 10 8 4
♣ Q 6 3
South West North East
  1 ♣ 1 ♠ 2 ♣

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