Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 5, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W


Q 9 8

A Q J 8 5

5 3

9 6 4


10 7 6 5 2

9 7 4

A Q 10 4



K 4 3

K 10 2

6 2

J 10 8 7 3



6 3

K J 9 8 7

A K Q 5


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

Opening Lead: 5

“Economy is going without something you do want in case you should, some day, want something you probably won’t want.”

— Anthony Hope

Put yourself in the East seat when West leads a low spade against three no-trump.

The natural inclination is to play your spade king (hoping it wins), drive out North’s third-round spade winner, then try to keep declarer from enjoying the hearts in dummy.

This is a good idea as far as it goes, but what if South has the spade ace and partner has led from five to the jack or 10? (In both cases, not only would playing the spade king give South a third natural spade trick, but it would also give him a possible late entry to dummy with the spade queen.)

On the sight of dummy, East should focus his attention on trying to try to kill the heart suit by holding up his heart king as long as he can and by saving his spade king over the queen to prevent the latter from being an entry.

Best defense is to duck the first spade. South will win in hand and lead a heart to dummy as West gives count in hearts by following low. East ducks offhandedly, and South returns to hand with a club to play a second heart to the queen and king.

Now East exits with the club jack, and when West pitches the spade two, it clarifies the layout and the count in that suit. East can duck the next spade play, and the defenders will be in complete control.


South Holds:

Q 9 8
A Q J 8 5
5 3
9 6 4


South West North East
    2 Pass
2 Pass 2 NT Pass
ANSWER: Your partner has suggested 22-24, and you have shown five hearts. What next? The simple answer is that your playing strength in hearts is almost good enough to offer partner a choice of slams, which you could do by bidding five no-trump (meaning “pick a slam”). If you feel slightly more cautious, you might settle for a jump to four no-trump, suggesting a little extra but not quite enough to drive to slam.


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