Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Vulnerable: Both

Dealer: South


10 6 3

K Q J 7

K 7 5 4

Q 7


10 8 6 3

Q 9

J 10 9 8 5 4 2


J 7 5

A 9 5 4

A J 10

K 6 3


A K Q 9 8 4 2


8 6 3 2



South West North East
4 All pass

Opening Lead: Club jack

“There is nothing so well known as that we should not expect something for nothing — but we all do and call it Hope.”

— Edgar Howe

As South you make a slightly heavy pre-empt of four spades. (Many would bid this without a club honor.) So when dummy comes down with trump support and a near opening bid, your partner will feel very disappointed if you cannot find a way to 10 tricks. Of course, if the red aces are poorly placed, you may be doomed — but you should focus on the circumstances you can control, not the ones you can’t.

You win West’s club lead in hand and play a top trump, discovering the 3-0 break. You now realize that you no longer have a sure entry to dummy in the trump suit. What should you do next?

It looks logical to play a heart, and West starts an echo to show an even number, allowing East to take the trick. Back comes the club king, and the natural play is to ruff and try the spade nine. If East wins, you can use the spade 10 as an entry to dummy. But a sly East will duck, and now you will find that you need the diamond ace onside — unlucky!

Maybe a better plan is to duck the club king, pitching a diamond. Unless East started with a singleton diamond, whatever he returns will let you reach dummy to discard two of your diamonds on dummy’s hearts.

The diamond finesse is a 50-50 shot; the chance of a bad diamond break is far smaller, even given the bad trump break.


South holds:

J 7 5
A 9 5 4
A J 10
K 6 3


South West North East
1 1 1 Pass
ANSWER: Your partner’s call of one spade shows at least five (with only four he would have started with a negative double); nonetheless, you should rebid one no-trump. With a completely balanced hand and a decent heart stop, you want to convey your hand-type as accurately as possible; with a side-suit doubleton, a spade raise would be fine.


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