Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, May 24, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: All

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


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

Opening Lead: Jack

“In baiting a mouse-trap with cheese, always leave room for the mouse.”

— Saki

If you were to look only at the North-South cards, you would like your chances in six clubs. If you can ruff out the spades without losing a trump trick, you have excellent chances of 12 tricks.


All well and good, but you have bid your cards only to the pedestrian contract of three no-trump, so you had better not go down, given your side’s combined 30 high-card points!


At some tables South might win the diamond lead in dummy and cash the two top clubs, finding the bad news, then try his luck with either hearts or spades. He could try to come to hand with the heart queen (a 50 percent chance) or he could play three rounds of spades, hoping for an even break, roughly a one-third shot. Today neither of these lines would work; the defenders would win and clear the diamonds, and declarer would go down.


At teams-scoring or rubber bridge, overtricks do not really count for much; the objective is to make your contract. The best line to do that is to win the diamond ace and play the club king, then the club queen, overtaking with your ace. That may turn your six club winners into five, but it does ensure that you have the entries to set up the club suit without the loss of a tempo. You concede a trick to the club jack, then win the diamond return, and cash out your nine winners.

ANSWER: Just because you do not know what you should lead is no reason to abnegate responsibility by leading a trump (which rates to lose a trick when partner has an honor). When in doubt, lead from your long suit. A club could cost a trick, but it is also quite likely to set up a trick or allow you to cash club winners before they go away.


South Holds:

J 6 2
J 7 4
Q 4 3
K 9 6 4


South West North East
Pass 3 Pass 4
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