Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 2, 2009

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 Pass 2 2
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead:S

“There is such a choice of difficulties that I am myself at a loss how to determine.”

— James Wolfe

Consider the play in today’s four hearts when a spade is led. Had the opponents been silent, the best chance for the contract would be to find the spade king well placed. The chances of that are slim, though, once East introduces his spades. So which finesse would you like to play for? Take your time!


Based on the auction, declarer decides to play low from dummy and East inserts the nine. Declarer wins the ace and plays the heart king. West wins and continues with a spade. After taking the spade 10, East plays the spade king, ruffed high by South.


Declarer now needs a discard for his slow diamond loser, and the only viable prospect comes from the clubs. Curiously, the location of the club king is irrelevant; all that South requires is that West hold the club jack. After drawing the last trump, declarer leads out the club queen. Here, East wins with the king, but declarer picks up his 10th trick by finessing against West’s club jack on the next round of clubs.


Note that if West had produced the club king on the first round, declarer would have played low from dummy and, again, later finesse West for the club jack. You should also note that finding the club king with East would be enough if there were two entries to dummy — but there are not. You cannot lead toward the club queen, then cross back to the North hand after unblocking clubs.

ANSWER: There seems to be no reason to be active. The most passive choice is a trump, though it may finesse partner, dummy being nearly entryless. If you feel that this risk seems too high, the low-spade lead might be the next most attractive option.


South Holds:

Q 4 2
Q 6 4 2
A 5 2
9 7 4


South West North East
    1 2
Dbl. Pass 2 3
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