Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 21, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: N/S

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


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

Opening Lead:8

“The cutting of heads is become so much a la mode, that one is apt to feel of a morning whether their own is on their shoulders.”

— Thomas Jefferson

Today’s deal cropped up at the Senior Pairs at the 2006 World Championships.


At one table North and South showed their red suits in the auction shown, and South became declarer in six no-trump. When West led the club eight, declarer could see that if hearts broke 3-3 and clubs were no worse than 4-2, there would be 12 tricks, with the spade finesse for the overtrick.


On winning the club lead with the queen, declarer cashed the top three hearts, then played a fourth to West, establishing the fifth heart. Back came the diamond three to the nine, queen and ace. South cashed the last heart, and to keep the clubs intact, East was forced down to the king-doubleton spade.


When declarer continued by running dummy’s clubs, West had to retain the diamond king and thus came down to to two spades. This meant that when declarer successfully finessed the spade queen, then cashed the ace (her last spade), the eight, was her 12th trick.


At another table, defending against the same contract, Paul Hackett had the West cards. The play also replicated that of the other table for the first five tricks. In with the heart nine, Hackett returned a spade instead of a diamond, and South ended one down.


The logic of the spade switch is that declarer can take the spade finesse for himself if necessary. But Hackett’s switch to a spade might (and indeed did) cut communications for a squeeze.

ANSWER: Jump to three spades, which is pre-emptive, not a limit raise. You could always cue-bid two clubs with a good hand, so your call suggests four trumps and fewer than nine high-card points. It is important to emphasize your fourth trump early on, so partner can sacrifice if necessary over four hearts.


South Holds:

K 10 3 2
J 10
Q 8
10 9 5 4 2


South West North East
  1 1 Dbl.


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