Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, June 11, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: E/W

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


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 2NT Pass
3♣* Pass 3 Pass
6 All Pass    
*New Minor, asking for spade support

Opening Lead: Queen

“I am not now in fortune’s power:

He that is down can fall no lower.”

— Samuel Butler

In today’s auction South can use the call of three clubs at his second turn as a relay, looking for three-card spade support from his partner. When he hits the jackpot, he knows that a grand slam rates to be out of reach, so he settles for simplicity by bidding what he thinks he can make.


As declarer in six spades, your first thought would be that you have decent play for 13 tricks. You can, you hope, ruff a diamond in dummy and take the club finesse for the overtrick. But the lead of the heart queen sets up some concerns about a defensive ruff in that suit.


You should leave the spade jack in dummy till you have ruffed your diamond loser — just in case. Accordingly, you win the opening heart lead, cash the two top diamonds, come to hand with the spade ace (noting that both hands follow), then ruff a diamond low in dummy. When you lead the spade jack, you observe West’s discard, a play that increases the risk of a bad break in hearts against you.


Taking no chances, you lead the club queen from dummy to encourage a cover; but when East plays low, you go up with the ace, draw trumps, and concede a club.


Note that if you had finessed in clubs, West would have taken the club king and given his partner a heart ruff; so your caution was justified.

ANSWER: You have already shown your hearts and your club support. Should you bid three no-trump when your partner asks you for other features? I feel that your club support is good enough for you to repeat the suit. A 5-2 heart fit might be right, but if so, partner can get there by raising you at his next turn.


South Holds:

Q J 10 9 7
Q 8 5 2
K 9 4


South West North East
  1 2 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 3 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