Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Vulnerable: Neither

Dealer: South


9 6 5 2

K Q 2

K 8 5

A 9 4


J 10 8 7

J 9 7

9 7 3 2

5 3



10 8 6 4 3

Q 6 4

J 10 7 2


A Q 4 3

A 5

A J 10

K Q 8 6


South West North East
2 NT Pass 6 NT All pass

Opening Lead: Diamond two

“Why! who makes much of a miracle?

As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles.”

— Walt Whitman

In a recent Norwegian Team Championship, Svein-Harald Riisnaes and his partner wisely opted to play slam in no-trump, not in their 4-4 spade fit.

When dummy came down, declarer had just 10 top tricks despite the combined 32 HCP and West’s helpful lead of a diamond to the queen and ace. Needing just three spade tricks, South elected to lay down the spade ace (planning to lead up to the queen on the next round of the suit). When the king dropped from East — yes, this would have been a great moment for a false-card from the doubleton king — declarer could see his way to 12 tricks if the missing clubs broke 3-3. Equally, if West held a finessable doubleton jack or 10 of clubs, the 12th trick could be developed.

Accordingly, Riisnaes took the club king and ace, but when no jack or 10 appeared, he had no option but to play off the third top club. West, who had to discard on the third club winner, threw a heart away, so Riisnaes took the three heart winners (pitching his club from hand) to squeeze a diamond out of West. Next came the diamond king, then the jack, and that reduced South, West and North each to three spades.

Declarer now led a low spade away from the queen toward dummy’s nine. West won with the 10, but was endplayed, so that the spade queen and spade nine scored the last two tricks, and the slam came home.


South holds:

9 6 5 2
K Q 2
K 8 5
A 9 4


South West North East
1 1 Pass
ANSWER: It looks natural enough to try for game here, but a jump to two no-trump should be invitational facing even a minimum overcall, and you are considerably short of the necessary firepower to issue such an invitation. Bidding only one no-trump sounds like an underbid, but you should leave it up to partner to bid on with extra high-cards or shape here.


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