Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: None

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


South West North East
    Pass 3
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead:3

“Nothing, I am sure, calls forth the faculties so much as the being obliged to struggle with the world.”

— Mary Wollstonecraft

When West leads his singleton diamond three against your heart slam, what is the best approach to making 12 tricks?


You win the diamond ace, and cash the trump ace, followed by the ace and king of spades. You now need to reach dummy twice to take two finesses in clubs. You could play for trumps to be 2-2, but this is not so likely after one opponent has pre-empted. So maybe finessing dummy’s trump eight might generate that extra entry? Alas, here East wins the trump nine and cashes a diamond for two down — how unlucky!


Better is to cash the spade ace-king at tricks two and three, then carefully lead the heart seven to dummy’s 10. Now you run the club jack to West. If he returns a spade, East may ruff, but you still succeed if he began life with the missing club queen (which you now know to be doubleton since East has shown two spades, two hearts and seven diamonds). You overruff with a top trump, draw the last trump, and lay down the club ace. When the club queen falls, you make two spades, six hearts, a diamond and three clubs.


If East cannot ruff the spade queen, you throw a diamond from hand. Then you repeat the club finesse, draw trumps, and claim 12 tricks.


If instead West returns a trump at trick six, you have a certain trump entry to dummy for the second club finesse and your contract.

ANSWER: Did you think about bidding five diamonds? You should not do so. You have already promised a seven-card suit and a weak hand — which you have — and should now leave any decision to your partner about whether to sacrifice. Once you make a pre-empt or a pre-emptive raise, you normally transfer captaincy to your partner. A raise by your partner does not invite you back to the party.


South Holds:

6 3
9 5
K Q J 10 9 6 4
Q 5


South West North East
3 Dbl. 4 4


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