Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 27, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: E/W


8 6 2


8 3

A K 10 8 7 5 2


Q 10 7 3

Q 9 5 2

Q 10 7 6



K J 9 4

K J 10 4

5 2

Q 9 4


A 5

A 7 6 3

A K J 9 4

J 3


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

Opening Lead: 3

“There is not a fiercer hell than the failure in a great object.”

— John Keats

After reversing, South has a problem at his third turn, when North repeats his clubs. Maybe he should use fourth-suit forcing instead of stopping off in three no-trump. After all, five clubs is the best game today, and slam is in the picture, even facing North’s dead minimum. Having said that, South’s decision to bid three no-trump is reasonable enough., West’s fourth-highest lead of the spade three strongly suggests that he has at most four cards in the suit, since if he had five, the three could not be fourth-highest. This is so because South can see the spade two.

South should realize that it would be foolish to duck the first trick and risk a shift to hearts. He must win his spade ace and should now try to bring the club suit in if he can. The right way to do this is to run the club jack at once, keeping communications intact with the dummy if the finesse against the queen loses.

Playing the ace-king of clubs, hoping to drop the queen, will cost the contract today, since there would be no way to reach dummy’s established club suit. And if declarer switches his attention to diamonds after finding no joy in the clubs, the defenders have five winners before declarer can take nine.

As it is, East takes his club queen at trick two and can cash three spade tricks for his side, but declarer has the rest.


South Holds:

J 10 3
Q J 8 7 2
J 8
A 6 5


South West North East
    3 Pass
4 Dbl. Pass 4
All Pass      
ANSWER: Your heart sequence is not so solid that you can lead it with impunity, particularly when partner rates to be very short. I would secretly admire any defender who led a low heart at trick one, but that is far too rich for me. I’ll settle for the club ace and find out later what I should have done.


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