Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, May 18, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 NT Pass 6 NT All Pass

Opening Lead:10

“A man only becomes wise when he begins to calculate the approximate depth of his ignorance.”

— Gian Carlo Menotti

Once South had made the practical choice to open one no-trump rather than one heart, North had no easy way to look for a minor-suit slam, so jumped directly to six no-trump.

South won the spade 10 in hand then cashed the diamonds and remaining spades. Next came the ace and king of clubs, and when the jack did not appear, declarer followed with a club to the queen. One down.


The way home is to leave clubs — the likely candidate to provide the 12th trick — until last. Should East have four or more hearts and at least four clubs, he may be squeezed. But there will be other clues that appear along the way; and if clubs are 3-3 at the start of the hand, they will still be splitting at trick 12.


To tighten the end position, a far better line is to take the spade lead in dummy, then play a heart away from the ace. East will win with the queen and return a spade. South wins, then takes the heart ace, West showing out. Then comes the last top spade, East failing to follow suit.


Now four rounds of diamonds complete declarer’s count of the East-West hands. With East having 11 known cards (five hearts, four diamonds and two spades) he has room for just two clubs, so when the club jack does not appear under the ace and king of clubs, declarer can finesse dummy’s 10 in total confidence.

ANSWER: West has shown five hearts and a weak hand. Should you try to go active or passive? My guess would be to lead a trump. Although jack-third is an ugly holding to lead from, dummy is likely to have five small hearts since it rates to have no more than a four-count. So you are less likely than usual to pickle partner’s trump honor.


South Holds:

Q 7 3 2
J 7 4
Q 9 2
K 9 5


South West North East
    1 1 NT
Pass 2* Pass 2
All Pass      
*Transfer to hearts    


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