Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

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


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

Opening Lead: King

“I passed no secret, darkened nook

Without a shuddering, furtive look,

Lest he should take me unawares

In some one of his subtle snares.”

— Alice Williams Brotherton

Despite West’s old-fashioned strong jump overcall, South was prepared to gamble on moving past game when his partner showed game-forcing values and admitted to some trump support. Although dummy held just the three honor-cards, the heart slam looked respectable enough. South’s one concern was the fourth-round spade loser, and since there were several possible ways to get rid of it, it was important to take the chances in the right order.


West led two top clubs and South ruffed. The first question was whether to lead a high trump or a low trump from hand. Playing a high trump from hand would preserve entries to dummy; the low trump lead would allow a ruff in dummy if spades did not break.


South made his first good guess when a trump to the ace revealed the bad break. Now South had to decide whether East had long diamonds or had long spades, since if either suit was going to break, 12 tricks would be easy. Realizing that he might be able to overcome a bad spade break if the spade jack was doubleton, South guessed correctly to test diamonds from the top. He led out the king of diamonds, then the ace, and ruffed a diamond. When East discarded a club, declarer knew that it was now safe to go after spades. He cashed the three top spades, ruffed a spade low in dummy, and could now play off dummy’s top trump and claim the rest.

ANSWER: This auction is forcing, no ifs, ands or buts. Because passing is not a possibility, many players would now use a second negative of three diamonds, which allows opener to introduce a four-card major if he has one. That will simplify your task at your next turn, allowing you to raise a major or pass a call of three no-trump.


South Holds:

J 8 7 3
10 9 7 3
6 4
J 6 4


South West North East
    2 Pass
2 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