Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W


K Q 3

K 9 4 2

A K 9 3



10 7

6 5 3

Q 10 7 4 2

J 7 3


J 9 8 5


8 6 5

K 10 9 8 6


A 6 4 2

A Q J 10 7


5 4 2


South West North East
1 Pass 2 NT Pass
3* Pass 4 NT Pass
5** Pass 7 All Pass
*Short diamonds
**Two key cards, counting the trump king as an ace, and the trump queen

Opening Lead: 5

“Go where glory waits thee,

But, while fame elates thee,

Oh! still remember me.”

— Thomas Moore

At the table, North began by using the Jacoby two-no-trump convention to set hearts as trump. After using Blackwood, North was happy to gamble on a grand slam that he knew was unlikely to be worse than a 50-50 club finesse.

Declarer took the trump lead, eventually tested spades, then fell back on the club finesse, seeing nothing better. Down one, and an opportunity wasted. Let’s revisit the hand and try again.

Best is to win the trump lead with the ace. Next comes the diamond ace followed by a diamond ruffed high. South can lead the heart 10 to the king and ruff a second diamond high. South then leads a heart to dummy’s nine, which draws the last trump, and cashes the fourth trump winner while throwing a club from his hand. The diamond king reduces everyone to five cards.

Dummy has three spades and two clubs, South has four spades and one club — but what about East? He must keep his four spades, and so must try to bare his club king as smoothly as possible. Declarer cashes the three top spades, finding East with the length, at which point he knows East started with four red cards only, and four spades. Thus he has five clubs to his partner’s three and so is far more likely than West to have begun with the club king.

Additionally, what expert would take a finesse when he can play for a squeeze? Declarer plays a club to the ace. Result: happiness!


South Holds:

A 6 4 2
A Q J 10 7
5 4 2


South West North East
1 Dbl. Rdbl. 2
Pass Pass Dbl. Pass
ANSWER: Your partner has made a penalty double and you have no reason to overrule him. He won’t always produce four good trumps, but you can expect him to have either trump length or a hand unsuitable for playing hearts. In either eventuality you surely want to defend, so 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