Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: N/S

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


South West North East
1 Pass 1 2
3 Pass 3 Pass
4 Pass 4 Pass
4 Pass 6 All Pass

Opening Lead:Q

“But life is sweet, and mortality blind,

And youth is hopeful, and Fate is kind

In concealing the day of sorrow.”

— Thomas Hood

Sometimes the best a player can do on a hand is to play off all his trumps and see what happens. If declarer’s card-reading is good, it is surprising what positions can develop.


Against six clubs West led the spade queen, won by dummy’s ace. Declarer’s best chance seemed to be a 4-3 diamond break, so he played the diamond ace and ruffed a diamond, played a club to the ace, and ruffed another diamond. When East showed out, declarer had no choice but to run off all his trumps. As declarer led out the last club, his other four cards were three hearts and a losing spade, while dummy had three hearts, the spade jack and a small diamond.


If West discards a diamond, declarer throws dummy’s spade, crosses to the heart king, and exits with the losing diamond, forcing West to win and play back a heart into South’s ace-10. If instead West discards a heart, declarer discards dummy’s diamond. Now if East discards a spade, declarer exits with a spade and East must broach the heart suit, while if East discards a heart, the hearts must break 2-2.


For all you scholars, this position is known as a squeeze without the count. Most squeeze positions require declarer to need all the remaining tricks but one. Giving up a trick to make a squeeze work is often called “rectifying the count.” But in a squeeze without the count, declarer loses a trick after the squeeze has operated.

ANSWER: Your partner’s auction sounds forcing, and he has hearts, or hearts and clubs. Either way, you have enough trumps to raise him to six hearts. The question is whether you have enough to cuebid five spades in case your partner is interested in a grand slam. I’d say no. You already showed a good hand and could have held an even better hand for your first action, so just bid six hearts.


South Holds:

A J 7
K J 6
A 10 9 7 5
A 10


South West North East
3 NT Pass 4 Pass
5 Pass 5 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