Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, April 25th, 2011

Vulnerable: Both

Dealer: South


7 6 3

Q 10 9

A 8 7 2

K 7 2


Q J 10 9 2

7 6

J 10 4

8 5 3


8 5

5 4 3

K Q 9 6 3

10 9 4


A K 4

A K J 8 2


A Q J 6


South West North East
2 Pass 2 NT Pass
3 Pass 4 Pass
4 NT Pass 5 Pass
5 * Pass 6 ** Pass
7 Pass 7 All pass

*Do you have the trump queen?

**Yes, and the club king

Opening Lead: Spade queen

“All too long

Seems the unjust to prosper and be strong,

Till the dark Furies come,

And smite with stern reversal all his home.”

— Aeschylus

Today’s heart grand slam has 12 easy tricks but no obvious route to the 13th. Instead of blaming partner for his aggressive bidding (it was really more your fault than his), focus on trying to find a way to keep destiny at bay.

One possibility is to win the spade lead, draw two rounds of trump, then play your clubs, discarding a spade from dummy. If all this passed off peacefully, you could then ruff a spade in the dummy. However, this needs clubs to be 4-2, and the long clubs to be with the long trump. Your chances of success are slim indeed.

Much better is to play on a dummy reversal. This esoteric-sounding technique is hard to spot because the approach is somewhat counterintuitive, but it is easy to execute. Dummy reversal means that you draw trump with the short trump hand, having used up the long trumps earlier by taking ruffs with them. Here, with a 5-3 trump fit, you take three ruffs with the five-card suit and draw trumps with the tripleton.

Let’s see how that works in practice: Win the opening lead, play a diamond to the ace, and ruff a diamond high. Now play a heart to the nine, ruff a diamond high, play a heart to the 10, and ruff your last diamond high. Finally, lead a club to dummy, draw the last trump, discarding your small spade, and your hand is high.


South holds:

K 10 6 3
8 4
Q 6
J 8 5 3 2


South West North East
1 Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 4
All pass
ANSWER: It feels natural to attack the unbid suit, so lead the diamond queen. This may not work, but it is surely your side’s best chance to generate tricks. My second choice would be a trump. This might be right if declarer cannot establish dummy’s clubs.


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