Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: None

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


South West North East
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 4 Pass
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead: King

“Unfold thy face, unmask thy ray,

Shine forth, bright Sun, double the day.”

— Christopher Harvey

If you play two-level and four-level transfers (the latter known as Texas transfers), then a transfer followed by a raise to game can be played as a mild slam-try. That was what North-South were doing here, and South simply drove to the spade slam when he was offered the invitation.


Slam is secure on any lead except a diamond, and 13 tricks will materialize if trumps break, as dummy’s losing diamond will disappear on South’s fourth heart.


However, West was dealt an easy diamond lead, and two rounds of trumps revealed the inevitable trump loser. That left the problem of how to eliminate the diamond loser before East gained the lead with the master trump and returned the diamond that would sink the slam.


One possibility involves finessing the club jack — a straight 50-50 shot. A better plan is to cash hearts. As long as East holds three or more, dummy’s losing diamond is dispatched before East has the opportunity to ruff in.


An even better chance exists, which involves combining plays in clubs and hearts. Cash the two top clubs, and if the queen has not dropped, ruff a club. If the queen now drops, then dummy’s diamond is jettisoned on the club jack. And if the queen fails to fall, the heart play is probably still available.


This line of play succeeds not only on the layout of this hand, but also on about four out of five possible defensive distributions.

ANSWER: Yours not to reason why! Your partner has suggested defending and you are looking at a semibalanced hand with a weak spade suit. Thus there is no reason to consider doing anything other than following partner’s suggestion, and defending.


South Holds:

A 8 6 5 3 2
A Q 9
7 2
K 6


South West North East
1 Dbl. Rdbl. Pass
Pass 2 Dbl. 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