Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: All

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


South West North East
1 Pass 3 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead:K

“There are horrible people who, instead of solving a problem, tangle it up and make it harder to solve for anyone who wants to deal with it.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Against four hearts, West led the club queen to dummy’s king. Declarer then cashed dummy’s heart king and exited with a low diamond. Once East played low on this trick, the defense was dead.


West won his ace and continued with a second diamond, which was best for the defense. East won and played the heart queen. However, declarer won the heart ace and tried the spades. When they broke 4-2, he ruffed the fourth round in his hand, cashed the club ace, and exited with a trump. East had to win and give declarer a ruff and discard. Note that the line chosen would never fail when the simple line succeeded. It was all about increasing the chances.


Note that if declarer cashes both top trumps before trying the spades, careful defense would now beat the contract. And curiously, on the line declarer actually selected, East could have prevailed by rising with the diamond king and continuing clubs.


At double-dummy, though, declarer can always succeed by winning the opening lead with the ace and playing a diamond. East wins the king and plays a second club. Declarer wins with dummy’s king, plays a heart to his ace, and tries spades. When they do not break, he discards a diamond from his hand on the fourth round.


East plays a trump back to dummy’s king, but now a diamond is ruffed and declarer exits with a trump, forcing East to give a ruff and discard.


ANSWER: Do not be tempted to do more than jump to three spades, an invitational sequence to show four trumps and 10-11 points. Partner might have enough for game, but if so, he will be able to look at his 13 cards and appreciate them just as well as you can. Tell him what you have, and let him decide for himself.


South Holds:

K 7 5 4
K 8 6 4
Q 7
K 8 4


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 1 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