Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, April 26, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E-W

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


South West North East
2 Pass 2 Pass
2 NT Pass 7 NT All Pass

Opening Lead: 10

“To do nothing and get something formed a boy’s ideal of a manly career.”

— Benjamin Disraeli

Grand slams are rare and, as today’s deal demonstrates, it pays to play them carefully. West led the club 10 against seven no-trump, and declarer could count 12 certain tricks. The 13th could come from finding a 3-3 club break, and if that failed, successfully picking up the spade queen.


Declarer tried clubs first, cashing those in hand, then crossing to dummy with the diamond queen to play the club king, discarding a spade from hand. No joy there. Since there was no hurry to play spades, South began cashing red-suit tricks, hoping to glean further clues. The first came when hearts broke 5-2. Hearts had to be cashed before diamonds as one club discard could be made on the third diamond, but what should be sluffed on the fourth?


Had West followed to the last diamond, spades would have split 3-3, still leaving South unsure of the location of the queen. But when West showed out on the fourth diamond, his shape was revealed as 4-2-3-4, which meant East was marked with a doubleton spade. West had already been forced to discard one spade on a heart, and another had to go on the last diamond to retain the club guard.


With spades now 2-2, declarer could cash the ace and king, certain that the queen would fall, promoting the 10 into the 13th trick.


This position is sometimes referred to as a show-up or pop-up squeeze.

ANSWER: Dummy rates to be strong, with five clubs and four hearts. The best suit for your side to try and develop winners in appears to be hearts. Lead a small heart to avoid confusing your partner about your length in that suit.


South Holds:

J 7
10 6 3
A J 9 4
10 4 3 2


South West North East
  1 Dbl. 1
2 2 Pass 2
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 2010. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact