Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, February 26, 2010

Dealer: West

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
  1 Dbl. 3
3 4 4 Pass
Pass Dbl. All Pass  

Opening Lead:A

“In the affluent society no useful distinction can be made between luxuries and necessaries.”

— J.K. Galbraith

Everybody did much too much bidding in today’s deal, a problem originally from a collection by Paul Lukacs and Jeff Rubens.


The contract looks like an extremely bad one since you have two red aces to lose and must somehow hold your club losers to one trick. It will not be sufficient to find the ace and queen of clubs onside. That you do not have the club nine means the defenders appear to have two natural tricks in the suit.


Accordingly, a series of precisely timed maneuvers is needed, based on the slim chance that West has the doubleton club ace-queen.


Ruff the heart and draw only two rounds of trump, then play a diamond. Best is for West to win the ace immediately and continue diamonds. (If he ducks his diamond ace, he will find himself on play with no convenient exit card.) You cash one more round of diamonds, ending in hand, still leaving a trump at large, and play the club jack. What is West to do? If he ducks, you have your two club tricks. If he wins the ace, he will have to give you a ruff and sluff or surrender his club trick, so he must cover your jack with the queen. You take the club king and only now do you draw the last trump, then run the club eight to land the contract.

ANSWER: After the negative double, you might have introduced spades with only three of them, so your partner’s auction suggests 10-11 points with a heart stop and four spades. He has guaranteed four spades or he would have bid one no-trump at his previous turn. Since you have four spades but no game interest, simply bid two spades now.


South Holds:

A J 9 8
6 4
K Q 9 8
K 8 7


South West North East
1 1 Dbl. Pass
1 Pass 1 NT 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