Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, January 11, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: None

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


South West North East
1 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening Lead:2

“Between the dark and the daylight,

When the night is beginning to lower,

Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,

That is known as the Children’s Hour.”

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

No doubt you are all sick to death of being told that you should think carefully before playing from dummy at trick one. Having been given that clue, cover up the East and West hands and plan the play in three no-trump on the heart-two lead.


Start by counting your tricks: there are two spades, one heart, two diamonds (after you have knocked out the ace) and four clubs (after you have knocked out the king).


Look at what could happen if you were to finesse in hearts. East might win the king and, if in inspired mood, might find the switch to a spade. You would win in dummy and take a club finesse. West would win and knock out your last spade stopper so that the opponents would have two more spades to cash when in with the ace of diamonds. You would lose two spades, one heart, one diamond and one club.


If, by contrast, you win the ace of hearts at trick one and take a club finesse, then West will win the trick. Whether he plays a heart or a spade now, you cannot be denied your nine tricks before the defenders set up five winners. If he plays a second heart, you will duck in dummy, prepared to concede two heart tricks, but not three.


Note that West has found the best lead. On an initial spade lead, the defense can establish only two spades to go with one trick in each minor.

ANSWER: A spade lead might not hold out much hope of setting the game, but you have no likely entry with your weakish clubs. When partner overcalls, it is generally right to lead his suit in case of doubt, just to keep him happy (and perhaps also to stop him from overcalling on bad suits in the future!).


South Holds:

K 7 4
8 6 5 4
Q J 7 6 5


South West North East
  1 1 2
Pass 2 Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 NT All 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