Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dealer: East

Vul: All


K 6 5

K 8 2

A Q J 3

7 3 2


Q J 7

J 10 7 6

10 4

10 9 8 6



A Q 9

9 8 6 2

K Q J 5 4


A 10 8 4 3 2

5 4 3

K 7 5



South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead: 10

“Here, as elsewhere, the search for causes must follow the collection of facts.”

— Hippolyte Taine

Suppose you are sitting South in a team game, which means that assuring the contract is paramount. You have become declarer in four spades after East had opened one club. Your partner’s cue-bid in response to your overcall promised values and spade support. Your jump to three spades showed a little extra, allowing partner to bid on to game. Plan the play on the club-10 lead.

There are two obvious considerations. The first is that you would lead to the trump king and finesse on the way back if West produced an honor. This is the right play in abstract, especially if you want to keep East off lead. But here you wish to keep West off lead to avoid a potentially fatal heart shift, so that plan is a poor idea.

Instead, it looks entirely logical to play a no-frills line. Draw trumps, then cash winners. Accordingly, you take the two top trumps and leave West with the master trump if necessary, then run diamonds to pitch your heart loser. Nice try, but no cigar! West can ruff the third diamond and find the deadly shift to the heart jack.

Back once more to the drawing board. Win the club ace and play a deceptive spade four from hand. When West follows with the seven (he will, won’t he?), duck in dummy, knowing this will lose to East. Now the contract is ensured. You can win the return, draw trumps, and take five spades, four diamonds and a club.


South Holds:

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


South West North East
    2 Pass
ANSWER: Do you have any idea who can make what, facing your partner’s weak two? Neither do I! Since the opponents may well have an excellent fit in one of the majors, it behooves you to make their lives as hard as possible. Jump to three no-trump confidently. If they lead a major into one of your kings, who knows? You might even make it!


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