Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: N/S


K 5

A 8 6 5

7 6 4

8 6 5 4



J 2

Q J 10 9 5

K Q J 9 2


Q J 10 8

Q 10 9 7 3


10 7 3


A 9 7 6 4 2

K 4

A K 8 3



South West North East
1 2 NT Pass 3
Dbl. Pass 4 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: K

“Nothing happens to anybody which he is not fitted by nature to bear.”

— Marcus Aurelius

In today’s auction West’s two-no-trump bid promised the minors, and over your takeout double North found an imaginative “choice-of-games” cue-bid. After West leads the club king to your ace, how do you plan the play in four spades?

Since West can have at most three major-suit cards, he is more likely to hold only one trump than any other holding. If you start from that assumption, you should attempt to cut your four top losers in spades and diamonds to three by trying to ruff your fourth diamond in dummy.

Win the club ace, cross to the trump king in dummy, and lead a diamond to the ace. A heart to the ace allows another diamond to be led toward your hand. Because East knows he cannot gain by ruffing a loser with a master trump, your diamond king will win.

Now you put West on lead with a diamond, planning to ruff the fourth round of diamonds in dummy. Because West began with only one spade, he cannot prevent you from executing this plan. If he returns a diamond, you ruff with dummy’s five. All the defenders will score is two trump tricks to go with their diamond trick. If instead West returns a club, you will trump this in hand and lead a fourth round of diamonds, ruffing in the dummy.

Note that this line succeeds even if West has one heart and two spades; the defenders can maneuver a heart ruff, but East has one fewer natural trump trick.


South Holds:

Q J 10 8
Q 10 9 7 3
10 7 3


South West North East
    1 Pass
1 2 3 Pass
ANSWER: Your partner’s cue-bid shows a game-forcing hand, but he tends not to have heart support. (With heart support he would raise to the appropriate level or jump in a short suit.) Initially, he is looking for a diamond stopper for no-trump. Since you do not have that, but do have a fifth heart, rebid your heart suit to find out where partner is going.


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