Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Vulnerable: North-South

Dealer: South


Q 9

K J 4

10 4 3

J 10 9 8 6


J 10 4 3 2

10 9 2

8 6 2

7 2


A K 8 7 6 5

A Q 8


5 4 3


7 6 5 3

A K Q J 9 5



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

Opening Lead: Spade jack

“I know a trick worth two of that.”

— William Shakespeare

The success or failure of today’s contract was determined by declarer’s play to trick one. Be aware, the maneuver required was somewhat artificial, and the game reached by North and South was not the optimum one. Indeed, six clubs (played by North) is surely the place to be, though getting there might be beyond us all!

Fortunately for declarer, though, West led the spade jack and not a heart against five diamonds. Clubs are blocked, and if diamonds are 3-1 and the hand with the doubleton club has three diamonds, three rounds of clubs will not stand up before dummy’s sole entry — the diamond 10 — can be utilized.

What can declarer do? Having been lucky enough to escape the damaging heart lead, the card to play from dummy at trick one is the spade queen, taking West off lead and avoiding the fatal heart shift. East covers, and South completes his sterling work by resisting the urge to trump. Instead, he discards the club ace on this trick.

Now, with clubs breaking 3-2, the 3-1 trump break is no longer an insurmountable barrier. No return by East at trick two can harm declarer. On, say, another spade, South ruffs, draws two rounds of trumps with high diamonds in hand, then cashes the club king and queen. A diamond to the 10 extracts West’s last trump, after which three hearts from hand can be deposited on dummy’s clubs. South’s only other loser is a heart.


South holds:

Q 9
K J 4
10 4 3
J 10 9 8 6


South West North East
1 1 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: Your partner has made a long-suit game try, suggesting spade length and significant extra values or shape, or both. The fact that you have all your values in the majors suggests you should have what your partner needs, so despite your high-card minimum, you should jump to four hearts.


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