Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: None

4 3 2
8 6 5
A K 3 2
A K 5
West East
Q 10 9 8 7
9 3 J 10 7 4
Q J 10 9 8 7 4
Q 10 4 2 J 9 7 3
A K J 6 5
A K Q 2
6 5
8 6


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 2NT Pass
4NT* Pass 6 All pass

*Quantitative, not Blackwood

Opening Lead: Q

“’Danger! What danger do you foresee?’

Holmes shook his head gravely. ‘It would cease to be a danger if we could define it,’ said he.”

— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Earlier this month we looked at a deal from Eddie Kantar that featured avoiding a possible fourth-round loser in a side-suit, where dummy was relatively short of trumps. In today’s deal you should avoid taking a finesse for the trump queen if it might preclude ruffing a possible fourth-round loser in dummy.

In six spades you have two concerns: the trump suit and the fourth heart. But if you successfully play for a 3-2 trump split — which represents a two-thirds chance — you are home free.

Win the opening lead and cash the spade ace-king, leaving the queen at large. Now attack hearts. Cash the three top hearts. If the spade queen trumps one of your heart winners, that will not present a problem, since you can still ruff your heart two with dummy’s mighty spade four.

By contrast, if you take the trump finesse and it loses, you may not be able to ruff your fourth heart safely. The player with the doubleton heart may have three spades, or, if you cash the spade ace before finessing, the defenders may be able to play a third round of trumps and kill the ruff in dummy. (Imagine today’s West with four hearts instead of two. The trump finesse is now fatal to declarer.)

Note that if trumps are 4-1 onside, you can cross back to dummy to finesse in trumps on the third round. You will still make if hearts break, or if you can arrange some red-suit pressure.

ANSWER: There are three options: to raise in no-trump, to jump in hearts (which would be a game-force), or to bid a simple two hearts. The last of these three is the least aggressive but also the right call. If partner does not pass, but corrects to two spades, you will advance with two no-trump, getting your values across nicely.


South Holds:

A K J 6 5
A K Q 2
6 5
8 6


South West North East
1 Pass 1NT 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 2009. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact