Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: None

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


South West North East
  2 3 Pass
3 NT All Pass    

Opening Lead:Q

“The best plan is, as the common proverb has it, to profit by the folly of others.”

— Pliny

The book “Planning the Play in No-trump” contains much challenging and thought-provoking material. It is from the Bridge Technique Series published by Master Point Press and, like all the others in this series, is written by David Bird and Marc Smith.


Today’s hand illustrates a failing that most of us must have been guilty of at some time or other — assuming that the opponents will unthinkingly continue the attack on their originally led suit at their next opportunity.


Against three no-trump West led the spade seven, and declarer took East’s four with the ace. The clubs had to break 3-2 for the game to make, so declarer led the club king, then the 10 to the ace, and a third club to West’s jack. At this point South was expecting to come to five club tricks, two red aces and two spades.


Alas for declarer, West had also been thinking and was aware that South held the spade king because East had played a discouraging spot-card at trick one. Therefore, he shifted to the heart 10, and the defense continued to play red suits at every opportunity. Consequently, declarer ended one down, the spade king languishing forlornly in his hand.


Had declarer led the club 10 at trick two and ducked, giving up the club trick that had to be lost sooner rather than later, the club king would have remained as an entry to the otherwise orphaned spade king, and nine tricks would have been there for the taking.

ANSWER: In this sequence, a call of three hearts suggests values there and is looking for game in hearts, diamonds, or no-trump, depending on what you can produce. With all your points in the black suits, there is little reason to look beyond three no-trump. You may not make it, but if you cannot, you do not rate to make any other game either.


South Holds:

A K 3
8 7 6 2
8 6 5 4
K 10


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