Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
3 Pass 4 NT Pass
5♣* Pass 5 NT Pass
6** Pass 7 All Pass
*Three of the five aces, counting the trump king as an ace
**Diamond king

Opening Lead: 10

“So many worlds, so much to do,

So little done, such things to be.”

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It is not normally a good idea to bid a grand slam with only 12 top tricks, but today’s declarer found two extra chances without taking a finesse. The substantial extra chance did not materialize, but at the end South was able to claim victory.


When North heard his partner show extras and six hearts, he found out about the key-cards and the diamond king and knew that his partner ought to have at least one other honor for his jump-response. His leap to the heart grand slam was a little sporting, but he figured the contract had to have play and might be cold.


The defenders led a trump — always sensible against a grand slam reached via Key-Card Blackwood, since declarer is unlikely to be off a finessible trump honor. Declarer won in hand, cashed the spade ace, then played three top clubs, discarding spades from hand. He crossed to the heart jack to ruff a spade high, then went back to the heart queen to ruff another spade.


Had spades split, he would have had his 13th trick, but as it was, he simply cashed his last trump, pitching a diamond from dummy. In the three-card ending, he led a diamond to his ace, and (knowing that East’s last two cards included the spade king) led a diamond back to his king, playing for his only remaining chance that West had started life with a doubleton diamond queen. When the queen appeared, the slam had come home.

ANSWER: On this sequence East has passed his partner’s takeout double, suggesting a heart stack. You should redouble for rescue, hoping that spades, diamonds or no-trump will play better for your side. When they announce they’ve got you, it is best to believe them!


South Holds:

K J 7 6
10 9 7 6 2
8 7 6


South West North East
  1 1 Pass
Pass Dbl. Pass 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


Paul BetheJune 7th, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Actually when East followed to the diamond at trick twelve, the King was guaranteed to fetch the queen, ao South knew the slam had come home (and did not need to wait for the Queen from West)

East had presumably pitched 2 diamonds on the second and third round of trump, and another on the long trump. He was known to hold the long spade. After a diamond to the Ace, 5 of the seven diamonds were out, East holding one spade, and either a diamond or club. When he produced a diamond, there was only one outstanding, and with West.

Bobby WolffJune 8th, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Hi Paul,

Of course, you are right and if you are suggesting being brash, at the point you mention, go ahead and make a claim of the grand slam.

However that move will not serve to make the opponents your fans. Perhaps the good that comes out of that is naming your actions, “A premature good feeling” or whatever.