Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: N/S

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


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

Opening Lead:7

“Honesty is a good thing but it is not profitable to its possessor unless it is kept under control.”

— Don Marquis

Against six diamonds West led his singleton spade and declarer paused to take stock. Although a heart and a club could be discarded on declarer’s spades, it still looked as if there would be two club losers.


While it was possible that West held both club honors, it was more likely that the honors were split, in which case the best chance was to find one opponent with honor-doubleton of clubs. In order to make it as hard as possible for a defender to unblock his doubleton honor, declarer won the spade lead and immediately played a club, and when West followed low smoothly, declarer put up dummy’s ace. He then drew trumps, cashed his spades, discarding a club and a heart from dummy, ruffed a heart, and led a low club. East had to win and give declarer a ruff and discard for his contract.


As you can see, if East had unblocked his club king, or had discarded it on a trump, declarer would have been able to lead up to dummy’s jack for his contract.


Also note what would have happened if declarer had won the spade lead, immediately drawn trumps, then cashed his spades and heart ace. He would ruff a heart in the dummy before playing the club ace, on which East would now have known to unblock his king. Declarer would then have had to cross to hand with his last trump to lead a club toward dummy’s jack. West would have been able to discard a club, leaving himself with a winning heart to cash when he won the club queen.

ANSWER: It looks tempting to jump to four spades, and indeed you might well make four spades. But since partner might have competed to two spades with little more than jack-fourth of spades and an ace, you should cut him some slack. A simple raise to three spades shows a good hand and lets partner decide how much he had in hand for his first call.


South Holds:

A K Q 10
A 2
K J 7 5
9 3 2


South West North East
Dbl. 2 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