Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Vulnerable: Both

Dealer: South


Q 9 4

A J 6


K Q J 8 7 2


K 10

5 4 2

J 10 8 7 4



7 5 2

K 8

Q 9 6 5

A 9 6 5


A J 8

Q 10 9 7 3

A K 2

10 4


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

Opening Lead: Club three

“The reticent volcano keeps

His never slumbering plan;

Confided are his projects pink

To no precarious man.”

— Emily Dickinson

If you need four tricks to defeat a contract but can see only three, it may be vital to set up the fourth, even before securing the second.

Against four hearts, West led the club three to East’s ace. In spite of declarer’s attempt to muddy the waters by dropping the club 10, East knew that his partner’s lead was a singleton. The four was the missing spot-card, and West would have led his top card had he held a doubleton.

East returned a club and his partner duly scored a ruff, but apart from the king of trumps, that was the end of the defense, as South’s losers in spades and diamonds could later be discarded on dummy’s clubs.

Could the defense have done better? Yes. The club ruff can wait, as East knows that he will come in again with the heart king to deliver it. On the bidding, West is marked with a high card. If that card is the spade king, it needs to be speedily set up as a winner before South’s losing spades disappear. A spade return at trick two will set the contact since East will score his trump king in due course and administer the club ruff.

East knows that declarer has a completely balanced hand with five hearts, so there is no way for declarer to dispose of his club on dummy’s spades. Moreover, even if declarer has great diamonds, the clubs in dummy will not all evaporate.


South holds:

K 8 7 5
K 3
Q 9 6
J 6 3 2


South West North East
1 Pass 2
Pass 2 Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 3 NT
All pass
ANSWER: Although you need less from your partner in spades than in clubs to set up a suit for your side, declarer’s bidding suggests he is more worried about clubs. So perhaps a low club is best. However, if you suspect East of being a trickster, maybe the spade lead might be better, since East could be trying to fake club weakness.


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