Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 17, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: All

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


South West North East
  2 3* Pass
3 Pass 6 All Pass

Opening Lead:J

“An optimist is a guy who has never had much experience.”

— Don Marquis

In today’s deal you can hardly blame North for getting carried away when you admit to a spade suit. And since the club queen on its own might be enough for slam, he can hardly expect you to cooperate intelligently in any slam venture.


Let’s look at the prospect for making six spades when West starts with the diamond jack. The simple hope is to find trumps 2-2 and the heart ace onside, but in the real world, West’s pre-empt when vulnerable will guarantee possession of the heart ace.


Another chance is to find the Q-J of clubs doubleton. Is there any other way to avoid a club loser? Only if you can somehow find a home for dummy’s clubs. And is there any hope of that? The answer, rather surprisingly, is yes, but only if you are careful about it.


Start by winning the diamond, drawing trumps, then cashing the second top diamond and the two top clubs. Assuming the missing club honors do not both fall, you lead dummy’s singleton heart and put up an honor from hand. West must win this trick with the heart ace and cannot play a diamond or you ruff in hand and pitch dummy’s clubs on this trick and your remaining top heart.


Equally, if West leads a heart, whether a big or a small one, you run the lead around to your hand, then establish a second discard from the heart spots while you still have the spade re-entry to your hand.

ANSWER: Your partner’s sequence suggests a very strong hand, which may or may not have heart support. You are best advised to bid two no-trump (after all, you have the next best thing to a club stop) and let partner decide where to go from here. Repeating your hearts would be consistent with a far weaker hand than this.


South Holds:

8 7 4
K Q 9 8
9 8
10 9 3 2


South West North East
  1 Dbl. Pass
1 Pass 2 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