Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
1 Pass 3 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: Queen

“The ruling passion, be it what it will,

The ruling passion conquers reason still.”

— Alexander Pope

Today’s deal is another from the fertile imagination of Patrick Jourdain in his book “Problem Corner” (published by Master Point Press).


A mundane line in four spades would be to win the lead of the club queen and eliminate the trumps and clubs. If trumps do not split, you hope to hold your losers to one trick in each red suit by finding the heart ace onside – surely not too much to ask.


However, you can see before you touch a card that the only real danger is that the trumps are 3-0 and the heart ace is wrong. Don’t just hope for the best in situations of this sort — plan how to overcome the problem!


The solution is counterintuitive because it involves losing a trick in a suit where you do not have to surrender one so you can increase your chances for a later endplay. You should let the club queen win the first trick!


Your next move will be to win the next club lead (no defense is any better), then draw two rounds of trumps, leaving West with the master trump. Now you take the two top diamonds ending in hand and follow with the club ace, throwing a diamond from dummy. You ruff the third diamond in dummy and finally exit with a trump. West, forced to win the trick, is endplayed.


Incidentally, if East ruffs the second round of clubs at trick two, you will justifiably be able to complain about your bad luck!

ANSWER: Your partner has made a slam-try for spades, showing short hearts, and your decent hand has become spectacular, with no wasted values facing his shortage. Use Blackwood and drive to slam unless two key-cards are missing.


South Holds:

K 9 7 5 2
9 7 5
K 7 3
K 4


South West North East
  1 Dbl. Pass
2 Pass 4 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