Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, August 15th, 2011

Vulnerable: Neither

Dealer: South


A J 3

7 5 2

K 7 6 3

J 9 4


K Q 9 5 2

Q 9 3

Q J 10

5 2


10 8 6 4

8 4

A 9 5 4

Q 8 7



A K J 10 6

8 2

A K 10 6 3


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

Opening Lead: Spade king

“Put all your eggs in one basket and — watch that basket.”

— Mark Twain

Two chances are not always better than one, but in general you would like to take your chances in a contract in correct order, rather than trying to put all your eggs in one basket.

See if you can spot the relevance of that adage when planning the play in four hearts on the lead of the spade king. In essence, the contract is highly likely to make if the diamond ace is well placed for South. But if it isn’t, declarer needs a good break in hearts and clubs, and for one of the finesses in those suits to work. As the cards lie, if declarer takes the heart finesse first, he will lose a club later. (Even though the club finesse is onside, declarer will no longer have an entry to the board to take it.) Compare what happens if declarer tries for two chances to make his game. Say that at trick two, declarer runs the club nine from dummy. If the finesse loses, South can cash the heart ace to guard against a singleton heart queen, then re-enter dummy with the club jack to try the heart finesse.

Today, the club nine would hold the trick, so declarer next plays a heart to the 10. West wins the queen and shifts to diamonds. Declarer ruffs the third diamond and cashes the heart ace. Next he plays the club ace, in case the same hand has one club and two hearts. When clubs split, he simply draws trump and claims the rest.


South holds:

J 10 9 5 2
J 5
Q 10 3
8 7 2


South West North East
1 Pass 1
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 4 Pass 4
All pass
ANSWER: The opponents have implied slam interest, but have stopped low because they have no diamond control. If you are going to lead a diamond, leading the queen gives you more chances of cashing three diamond tricks on the go. (Imagine partner with three or four diamonds to the A-J, for example.) I admit that the results might well make you look foolish!


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