Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 12th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: North-South


Q 6

A J 3 2

K J 10 4

10 5 4


7 5

K 10 6

A Q 9 8 2



J 9 2


7 6 5

9 8 7 6 3 2


A K 10 8 4 3

Q 9 7 5 4




South West North East
1 Dbl. Rdbl. 3 *
3 Pass 4 Pass
4 NT Pass 5 Pass
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead: Club King

“Dear hope! Earth’s dowry, and heaven’s debt!

The entity of those that are not yet.”

— Richard Crashaw

You might have avoided playing an anti-percentage heart slam today if you had been using Keycard Blackwood, when the trump king counts as an ace. But once you are there, you’d better make your slam!


The play of this hand revolves around the trump suit. Had there been no bidding, the normal play in hearts would be low to the jack. If both follow low, the ace is played, and on a good day the suit will be 2-2. If East plays the 10 under the jack, the closed hand can be re-entered for a lead of the queen through West’s king.


However, West’ takeout double of one major pretty much guaranteed support for the other. So you should play West for at least three hearts. If he has four hearts or the K-10-8, you are a dead man walking. However, if West has the heart K-10-6 or the K-8-6, you are alive and well.


Lead the heart queen at trick two, which will surely be covered. If East plays the heart six, you have no recourse. However, if East produces the heart eight or 10, re-enter the closed hand to lead the heart nine, repeating the finesse and almost certainly picking up the suit for no losers. As an added bonus, after drawing trumps, you will make an overtrick if spades break 3-2 or the jack is singleton. You can pitch four diamonds from dummy on four spades, eventually ruffing your singleton diamond in dummy!


South Holds:

K J 7
6 4 3 2
J 10 2
A 10 2


South West North East
    Pass 1
Pass 2 Dbl. 3
All Pass      
ANSWER: A trump lead looks sensible, in case declarer wants to try to ruff a major in dummy. If you lead a trump, you should choose a small one, in case your partner has a singleton king or queen. That way you avoid crashing his honor and setting up a finesse against your remaining honor.


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