Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
Dbl. Pass 4 Pass
4 Pass 5 Pass
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead:6

“Suffering isn’t ennobling; recovery is.”

— Christiaan Barnard

In today’s deal, your partner (North) was far too strong simply to jump to four spades in response to your takeout double. His cue-bid, coupled with a raise to five spades, denied a heart control. As South, you have extras and a control in the heart suit, thus an easy raise to six spades.


You ruff East’s second top heart with a low trump, but alas East discards a heart on your trump ace. How do you plan to make the slam if West began with exactly two hearts?


Your first move should be to lead the trump three, winning West’s nine in dummy. Then you cash the ace-queen of diamonds and continue with the ace and king of clubs. Next, you play the club queen. When West follows, you discard a diamond from dummy and persist with the club jack. West ruffs and you overruff.


West is now known to have 5-2-3-3 shape, so it is safe to cash another diamond. You have taken 10 tricks and make the last two on a high crossruff.


The play is similar when West holds four clubs, in which case you will discard two diamonds from dummy and only then lead a third diamond. Dummy will overruff West, and again you will score the last two tricks on a crossruff.


It would not matter if West could ruff the third club, for then his original distribution would be 5-2-4-2. You would overruff and cash the two remaining diamond winners before taking the last two tricks, as before, on a high crossruff.

ANSWER: Partner’s range is 6-10 points. With no real source of tricks beyond what you have shown, you should pass rather than raise to two no-trump. It is close, though. If you had as little as a 10 in one of your long suits, you might invite game with a raise to two no-trump.


South Holds:

A J 3 2
Q J 6 3
K Q J 6


South West North East
1 Pass 1


Pass 1 NT 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