Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vulnerable: Neither

Dealer: North

Send, Dealer: North


A 10 7 4 2

A 3

Q 5 4 2

8 3


J 9 6

K J 6 2

K J 10 7 5 2


K Q 8 5

Q 8 5 4

9 7

Q 9 4



10 9 7

A K J 10 8 6 3

A 6


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

*Good spades and a diamond fit

Opening Lead: Heart two

“But what is this

— D.H. Lawrence

Somewhere in a Monty Python sketch someone exclaims “Oh no! Not the comfy chair!” As you play this diamond slam, the same thought may occur to you.

The best contract in this deal from last year’s European Championships might have been for South to play five diamonds, but a few players were sufficiently carried away to attempt slam on the auction shown. That was a lot of bidding, but if as declarer you can justify your overbidding by overplaying the cards, all will be forgiven.

A heart lead appears to remove an entry from dummy, but allows you to win the ace, play the spade ace, and ruff a spade (but not with the three), cash the diamond ace, and lead a low diamond (but not the three) to the queen, ruff a spade (but not with the three), then give up a heart. You can win the club return, ruff a heart, ruff a spade (but … you’ve guessed it!), and finally lead that carefully preserved diamond three to the four in dummy to cash your spade winner and discard the heart loser.

On an initial club lead the same approach of using the heart ace, diamond queen and diamond four as the three entries needed to ruff out and enjoy the long spade will see you home.

Of the 64 tables in play, six bid and made the slam. Our sympathy to the Welsh ladies who also reached slam and made 12 tricks … but they tried seven diamonds.


South holds:

A 10 7 4 2
A 3
Q 5 4 2
8 3


South West North East
Dbl. Pass ?
ANSWER: This hand is too strong to jump to three spades to show an invitational hand — you’d make that call with one fewer spade. The right action here is to jump to four spades, bidding what you think you can make. Incidentally, cuebidding then bidding spades suggests a stronger hand in high-card terms.


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