Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dealer: East

Vul: None

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


South West North East
Pass 3 4 Pass
4 Pass 6 All Pass

Opening Lead:K

“Slight not what’s near through aiming at what’s far.”

— Euripides

Although your partner could have explored for a grand slam, he made the sensible bid of six hearts. How do you plan to make 12 tricks on the lead of a top club?

When both opponents follow to a top trump from dummy, the aim should be to make 12 tricks even when West has a small singleton spade. You must try to set up the spades without letting West ruff away a spade honor. So take just one top spade, then cross to your hand in diamonds and lead a spade toward dummy.

West cannot help the defense by ruffing on air, so he correctly discards a club and you win dummy’s king. Now you ruff a third spade with your trump queen. (If you ruff with the nine, West will overruff and lead another round of trumps, leaving you with a spade loser.) You can now ruff a diamond in dummy and lead a fourth round of spades, ruffing it with the trump nine.

West can overruff now, but you will win his return, draw the last trump, and claim. If West had been unable to overruff, you would ruff a club back to dummy, cash the trump king, and run the spades, losing a trick only if trumps did not split.

Incidentally, if West were able to ruff the diamond ace, you would need the spades to be 3-2. You would ruff the club return, cash a second trump honor, and play on spades.

ANSWER: Whether you are a passed hand or not, the modern style is to use a jump to three diamonds as pre-emptive and a cuebid of two spades to show a limit raise or better in diamonds. The reason is that you want to raise as high as possible with a weak hand and support, thus making your opponents’ lives much harder.


South Holds:

9 4
Q 9 2
A 8 5 4 2
8 6 2


South West North East
    1 1


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