Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 13, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: None

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


South West North East
1 2* 3♠** 4
Pass Pass 5 Pass
6 All Pass    
**Singleton spade and diamond support

Opening Lead:K

“Do your duty and a little more, and the future will take care of itself.”

— Andrew Carnegie

You bid aggressively to the excellent six diamonds and receive a top-spade lead. Plan the play.


You expect to make five clubs, five trumps, the spade ace and a spade ruff. The only worry is that East may hold four diamonds. As you expect West to hold the heart ace, and entries to your hand are few and far between, a little care is needed with today’s layout.


A careless declarer would cash the diamond king at trick two and be doomed at once. A slightly more careful declarer would take the diamond ace at trick two and then lead the diamond eight. A mean East would resist covering that card. Now you cannot arrange to draw trumps and also ruff a spade in dummy, so the contract can no longer be made.


Instead, after taking the spade king with the ace, the key play is to ruff a spade at trick two with the trump 10 (or, if you prefer, the eight) and not with dummy’s small trump. Then, on cashing the ace of trumps and finding the bad news, you must continue with the diamond eight. This time East can do no better than cover. You will take this in hand with the queen, cross back to dummy with a club, and pick up East’s remaining trumps via the diamond finesse. Then, after drawing the last trump, you will have your 12 tricks.

ANSWER: While there might be a case for bidding only two no-trump, partner’s pass over the double suggests a balanced hand. Your crisp honor-structure indicates that you should have a decent chance at nine tricks, and you want to protect your heart holding. So it looks logical just to bid three no-trump and take the pressure off partner.


South Holds:

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


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


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