Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, April 1st, 2011

Vulnerable: East-West

Dealer: South


K 10 2

Q 7

K Q 10 9 8

K 7 5



10 9 8 6 5 3

4 3 2

J 3 2


J 9 7 6

J 4 2

7 6

A 10 8 6


A Q 5 4 3


A J 5

Q 9 4


South West North East
2 NT Pass 6 NT All pass

Opening Lead: Heart 10

“No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,

Relax his pond’rous strength, and lean to hear.”

— Oliver Goldsmith

In today’s deal you might relax when dummy comes down, imagining you had 12 top winners and that the only issue was how to play for the overtrick. But because you have only 11 sure winners unless spades split, you should focus on how to generate that extra trick if things go wrong.

Sometimes in situations of this sort it is right to run the long suit and play for opponents to discard incorrectly, but here both opponents can probably release hearts comfortably enough, and your own hand comes under some pressure. Accordingly, it looks right to test spades early.

You win the heart lead in hand with the king and start by cashing the spade ace — in case the suit is 5-0. When you next lead a spade to the king, the bad break is revealed. You could now rely on either player holding the club ace singleton or doubleton. However, far better is to play East for the club ace, in which case you can bring him under irresistible pressure.

The play is simplicity itself. At trick four you lead a club toward the queen (which East must duck), then run the diamonds, throwing the heart ace and a spade.

In the four-card ending, East can keep the guarded club ace and his two spades, but finally the heart queen squeezes him down to a bare black honor. No matter which card he lets go, you pitch from the other black suit and establish your 12th winner in comfort.


South holds:

K 10 2
Q 7
K Q 10 9 8
K 7 5


South West North East
1 Pass 1 2
ANSWER: There is nothing terribly wrong with a call of two diamonds here. But since your plan was to rebid one no-trump had that been sufficient, you do not want to distort your hand by bidding something else now. And beware! A call of two no-trump here would show 18-19, not 12-14. (Had East overcalled one spade, you could sensibly bid one no-trump, of course.)


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