Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 6, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
    1 1
2 3 4 Pass
4 Pass 5 Pass
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead:Q

“A thought that does not result in an action is nothing much, and an action that does not proceed from a thought is nothing at all.”

— Georges Bernanos

Today’s six-spade contract requires just a modicum of care. And that is all the more true because when dummy comes down, you might imagine that you missed a grand slam.


The auction is somewhat old-fashioned — South’s jump to two spades is strong rather than weak. After the opponents intervene, it is difficult to develop the hand scientifically, so at the end South closes his eyes and jumps to what he thinks he can make.


South must win the opening club lead in hand with the ace, thus protecting the side entry to dummy’s diamonds. At this point the natural and correct play is to draw trump. You cash the three top trumps, in the process finding out you must lose a spade trick to West, and now you must establish dummy’s diamond suit for club discards.


By leading to dummy’s diamond ace, returning to hand by ruffing a heart, and leading a second diamond toward dummy, you can establish the diamond suit against any 2-2 or 3-1 division. Assuming West does not trump the second diamond (if he does trump, the suit is automatically established), declarer wins dummy’s diamond king and ruffs a low diamond in his hand. If West does not overruff, declarer gives up a spade to the jack and claims the rest of the tricks.


Note that you must drive out West’s master trump to let you run the diamonds at your leisure.

ANSWER: Leading the fourth suit on auctions like this has not worked well for me. I would lead a top diamond, hoping to catch partner with four good diamonds so that he can put me back in with a club for a second diamond through the dummy.


South Holds:

Q 5 4 2
10 7 4
J 10 4
A 3 2


South West North East
  1 Pass 2
Pass 2 Pass 3 NT
All 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