Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Vulnerable: East-West

Dealer: South


A J 7

A Q 4

K 9 6

A J 5 3


9 5 4 2

J 10 9 7

10 7 5 2



10 6 3

6 5 2

8 4 3

10 8 7 4


K Q 8

K 8 3


K 9 6 2


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 NT Pass 7 NT All pass

Opening Lead: Heart jack

“The chest contrived a double debt to pay;

A bed at night, a chest of drawers by day.”

— Oliver Goldsmith

Today is two-fer Tuesday: you get two problems from the same deal. Looking only at the North and South cards, you have to decide how you would play six no-trump, and also how you would declare seven no-trump.

On the lead of the heart jack, the only suit in which you appear to have flexibility is clubs. In seven no-trump you need precisely four tricks from the suit. What are the options?

A somewhat simplistic approach is to stick with the adage “Eight ever nine never” and take the club finesse by cashing the club king and leading to the jack. So far so good — but that does not cover all the bases, in that it copes adequately only with the 3-2 breaks where the finesse works. But are there any 4-1 breaks you can cope with? Only the specific one shown here, where the bare club queen is onside. To negotiate that lie of the cards, you must start by taking the immediate finesse of the jack, but changing plans when the queen appears. You play the ace, then cash the jack, and next finesse the nine.

In six no-trump you need only take three club tricks. Here you also start by cashing the ace, but if no honors appear, you lead next to the nine. If East shows out on the second round, you can change plans, putting up the king and playing back to the jack. This line insures three tricks against any lie of the cards


South holds:

K Q 8
K 8 3
K 9 6 2


South West North East
Dbl. Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: You decided not to overcall two no-trump because you were a little too strong. You should see your plan through by now bidding two no-trump, which here suggests 18-20 or so. Do not be put off by having only one heart stopper. One guard rates to be sufficient here when the player with the long suit has a weak hand.


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