Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, December 11, 2009

Dealer: West

Vul: N/S

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


South West North East
  Pass Pass Pass
1 Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 4 Pass
4 NT Pass 5 Pass
6 Pass 7 All Pass

Opening Lead:K

“Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself.

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”

— Walt Whitman

In today’s deal it looks natural to tackle the heart grand slam by winning the club ace and drawing trumps, then relying on the diamonds to split. That line requires nothing more than diamonds to be 3-2, something that occurs just over two-thirds of the time.


There are two alternative approaches you might reasonably follow. You could win the opening lead and play on spades, ruffing the third spade low and the fourth spade high in dummy. That line would fail when spades split 6-1 (surely impossible with both opponents silent throughout) or when spades split 5-2 with East having the shortage. This is about as good a play as relying on the diamonds to split, but it too would fail today.


An even better approach than those combines the underlying approach of the two lines. You win the club lead and draw two trumps, noting West’s discard on the second round. Then you play to ruff just one spade in dummy, which ought to pass off peacefully enough, and duly does so today. You cross back to hand with the diamond king and run the rest of your trumps to reduce to a three-card ending, where you have a spade menace in hand and three diamonds in dummy. West cannot keep both his spade and diamond guards, so your grand slam comes home on a squeeze.


This line will succeed about four times out of five and is your best chance for the contract.

ANSWER: A simple false-preference to two spades is sufficient here. You have shown at least invitational values with your first call. There is no need to commit the hand to no-trump yet. Let partner move on if he has extras, and if he does not, he will not need to be boosted beyond the two-level.


South Holds:

7 6
9 4 3
A Q 6 5 3
A 9 4


South West North East
    1 2
2 Pass 2 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