Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: Both


A K 4

K J 9 2


8 6 5 2


Q J 10 8 5

8 5

Q 10 8 5 2



9 6 2

7 3

J 9 6 4

K 10 9 7


7 3

A Q 10 6 4

7 3

A Q 4 3


South West North East
1 Pass 2 NT* Pass
4 Pass 4 Pass
5 Pass 5 Pass
6 All Pass

* Game-forcing heart raise

Opening Lead: Queen

“Superiority to fate

Is difficult to learn.”

— Emily Dickinson

In today’s auction, South suggests a minimum opening with no shortage via his second-round jump to game. North keeps the auction alive by cue-bidding, and finally South upgrades his trump honors and his honors in the long suits to take a shot at slam.


From declarer’s point of view, when there are losers in only one suit (clubs) and the side-suits can be stripped out, clubs should be the last suit attacked. Declarer draws trumps, ruffs out the spades, then plays the diamond ace-king before leading a low club from dummy.


If East follows low, South can afford to play low as well, intending to take the finesse later. West wins the jack and has to give South a ruff and a sluff with a diamond or a spade play. South ruffs in dummy, discarding a club, then can take the club finesse to bag the slam.


So is the contract always makable? Not so fast! When declarer does not try to ruff a diamond in dummy, East can count out South’s hand precisely. He knows his partner had a singleton club. If it is a small singleton, the defense has no hope, But if the singleton is the jack or the queen, East has to try to circumvent the looming endplay.


Look what happens if East plays the club king and swallows his partner’s jack! After this diabolical defense, there is no way for South to avoid losing two club tricks.


South Holds:

7 3
A Q 10 6 4
7 3
A Q 4 3


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: Whether or not you play the two-diamond response as game-forcing, it must be right to emphasize your good suit by rebidding two hearts now. Even in a game-forcing auction, the three-club call here should deliver extra shape or high cards. Meanwhile, another advantage of the two-heart bid is that it lets partner develop his hand more economically.


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact