Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 5, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: E/W

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


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

Opening Lead:K

“Like one that on a lonesome road

Doth walk in fear and dread.”

— Samuel Coleridge

Most people go into a cold sweat when faced with a squeeze, but often only a bit of technique is needed. In today’s deal, for example, declarer employed the Vienna Coup, a device whereby a long suit can be run without one hand being embarrassed for discards.


West leads two top hearts against six clubs and South ruffs the second one. If the diamonds break 3-3, there are 12 tricks. But even if they don’t, there is a chance for a squeeze.


Suppose that you continue by running the clubs. Four discards are needed from dummy, spades being the obvious candidates. But if either defender holds the spade king and four diamonds, as here, he should simply bare his spade king. When dummy’s spade ace is cashed, the king will fall, establishing the queen. But now there is no way back to your hand to cash that spade winner.


If instead you cash the spade ace before running the trumps, your problems are solved. Here it is East who holds the spade king and the diamond guard, but it could have been West for the same money. When you play your last club, dummy’s last low spade is discarded. If the spade king has been discarded, you cash the spade queen, then dummy’s three top diamonds. If not, simply play diamonds from the top and hope for the best.

ANSWER: In situations of this sort, where you have a suit of your own, but partner has overcalled at the two-level, my bet would be on leading the club jack. The diamonds (dummy’s likely long suit) can probably wait. However, if your sequence were in spades, where you might need to lead them at once, the situation would be far more problematic.


South Holds:

10 6 3 2
9 7 3
Q J 10 4
J 6


South West North East
  1 2 Dbl.
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 4 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