Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dealer: North

Vul: All

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


South West North East
    Pass Pass
1 3 4 5
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead:K

“I do the very best I know how — the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything.”

— Abraham Lincoln

For the last day of the year, here is one more deal from “My Favorite 52” by Larry Cohen, published by Master Point Press.


This one is called “Taking No Chances” and Cohen puts you in his seat as South. Focus on just those 13 cards for the time being. In third seat you open one spade, and the next hand pre-empts to three hearts. Partner bids four spades, RHO bids five hearts, and you …? Cohen suggests bidding six spades; the one thing you can be sure of if partner jumps to game facing a passed hand is that you will buy good trumps. And that is really almost all you need.


In six spades the defenders lead a top heart. You ruff, and draw one round of trump, happy to see both defenders follow. Plan the play now.


The correct answer is to draw a second round of trump, cross to your club ace, go back to dummy in trumps, and lead a second club. When East follows suit, what should you do?


The right answer is to finesse, breaking the rule of “Eight ever nine never.” This finesse is a safety play. Either West has no more clubs left, or he has just the bare queen. If the former, your finesse wins; if the latter, West must either return a diamond into your tenace, whereupon South’s third diamond goes on the long club, or give you a ruff and sluff, producing the same result.

ANSWER: When your partner bids on in a sequence of this sort, he is not scrambling for a better fit, but suggesting game-interest, since you have shown a club fit with values. However, in this sequence the fact that he has hearts or heart values makes your hand worse, not better. So sign off in four clubs — your partner will have to bid game on his own if it is going to make.


South Holds:

A K J 6
10 8 3
10 9 5 4 2


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 2 Pass 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