Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, February 28th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: Both



A 10

A K 10 5 4

Q 8 5 4 3


K 3

K J 8 5

7 6 2

A K 9 6


9 8 6 4

Q 6 4 2

9 3

10 7 2


A Q J 10 5 2

9 7 3

Q J 8



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

Opening Lead: King

“To clothe the fiery thought

In simple words succeeds,

For still the craft of genius is

To mask a king in weeds.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

One aspect of bridge that new players and even relatively experienced duplicate players find very hard is to judge when to win tricks and when to duck them. After a few experiences of ducking aces and finding them ruffed away, a defender will hasten to take his tricks before the rats get at them, and his partner will then tell him, “Aces were made to take kings!” 

Having been given this hint, play four spades on a top-club lead and heart shift. At the table, declarer took the heart ace and played another heart. Alive to the idea that declarer might be trying to ruff a heart in dummy, East made a nice play. He hopped up with the heart queen and led a trump, and when declarer finessed, West took his spade king and heart winner for down one. 

If you focus on today’s theme, you will see that declarer had a very simple resource available to him by following with a low heart from dummy at trick two. Contrast the situation East would now find himself in. If he returns a trump, declarer finesses, wins the heart return with the ace, then crosses to hand and draws trumps. The diamonds provide a home for the heart loser. 

If East returns a heart at trick three, declarer wins dummy’s ace, comes to the diamond queen to ruff his last heart, then ruffs a club and plays ace and another spade to remain in control of the hand whatever the defense does. 


South Holds:

Q 7 4 2
10 7 5 3
K J 4


South West North East
1 NT
Pass 2 Pass 2
Pass 3 NT All Pass  
ANSWER: I would look here for our side’s most passive lead. Both minor suits look far too committal, and since dummy rates to have four spades, I’d be very reluctant to lead that suit around to an honor in declarer’s hand — though it could be our side’s best lead if my partner has a very strong spade holding. I would expect a heart lead to be more passive, so that would be my choice.


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