Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, December 20, 2010

Dealer: South

Vul: N/S


8 4 2

8 7

A K Q 4 3

5 3 2


10 7 6 3

J 9 6


10 9 7 6 4


J 9 5

Q 10 5 3 2

J 10 6

J 8



A K 4

8 7 5 2



South West North East
2 Pass 3 Pass
4 NT Pass 5* Pass
7 NT All Pass    
*Two of the five aces (counting the trump king as an ace) plus the trump queen

Opening Lead: 10

“Only by unintermitted agitation can a people be kept sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity.”

— Wendell Phillips

Nobody’s brain functions particularly well first thing on a Monday morning. Perhaps it is the weekend that slows thinking down, but I always feel that the reader may benefit from a less challenging deal to recharge the mind.

That said, how would you set about playing seven no-trump, reached after South sets diamonds as trump and uses keycard Blackwood? The four common responses to the inquiry treat the trump king as one of the aces, or keycards. In order, the answers are to show zero or three keycards, one or four, two without the trump queen, and two with. After the first two responses the inquirer can then ask for the trump queen. So here, North with the fourth-step response showed the two missing keycards (the diamond ace and king) and the trump queen, and South closed his eyes and bid the grand slam.

Having bid the hand accurately, South made no mistake in the play. He won the club lead and led the diamond seven to the queen, cashed the diamond king and parked his diamond eight under it, then took the diamond ace and unblocked his diamond five. Now he triumphantly played the diamond three and followed with his remaining diamond spot, the two. That left him in dummy to take the fifth diamond winner and rack up his contract.

Note that without the triple unblock, declarer would have been unable to cash the long diamond in dummy when diamonds split 3-1.


South Holds:

A 9 3
J 8 5
10 5 4 2
8 5 2


South West North East
    2 3
Pass 4 5 5
Pass Pass Dbl. All Pass
ANSWER: Whenever the opponents appear to be sacrificing and have no legitimate chance to make their contract, the logical opening lead is a trump to cut down on a possible ruff. Here, there is surely no hurry to cash winners, but is it farfetched to envisage dummy with, for example, three trumps and one club? Now a trump lead looks essential.


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