Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Dealer: East

Vul: Both


K 9 6 2

9 6 2

K 10

10 8 6 2


Q 10 8 7 4

A 8

9 7 6 3

Q 7


J 5

Q 3

A 8 4

A K J 9 5 4


A 3

K J 10 7 5 4

Q J 5 2



South West North East
1 1 2 3
4 All Pass

Opening Lead: Queen

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

— Havelock Ellis

Sometimes one has to consider a single suit in the context of the bidding and play thus far. One auction by your opponents may push you one way; another auction may drive you in a different direction.


You reach four hearts after East has bid strongly in clubs, and ruff the second club, West showing a doubleton. Now a spade goes to West’s queen and dummy’s king, and now a trump to the …?


If East had the doubleton heart ace, he would surely have risen with it and played a third club for the trump promotion. If your opponents are competent enough to find this play but did not do so, it was presumably because West does not have the heart queen. So play a trump to the jack — this also caters for most of the 3-1 breaks too.


Conversely, say you reach four hearts with the same North-South cards but after West opened the bidding and showed both minors. West leads a top club (East playing a discouraging card) and shifts to a diamond; you call for dummy’s king and East plays the eight — presumably top of a doubleton.


How should you play trumps? The point now is that you need East to have one of the top hearts if you are to have any chance. If he has the queen, then West will take the first trump and give his partner an overruff in diamonds. So your only chance to make the hand — unlikely as it may be — is to lead a trump back to your king.


South Holds:

K 9 6 2
9 6 2
K 10
10 8 6 2


South West North East
1 1 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: Although you have a minimum hand, your spades are decent. However, you have weak hearts and perhaps a wasted diamond king. It is a tough call whether to sign off in three hearts or advance with three spades. I prefer the latter if only because spades might play so much better than hearts on the right day.


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