Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: East-West


K 10 4


A Q J 9 8

A 10 7 5


Q 7

A Q 4 2

5 4 3

K J 9 3


6 2

J 9 8 7 6 5

K 7 6

Q 4


A J 9 8 5 3

10 3

10 2

8 6 2


South West North East
2 Pass 4 All Pass

Opening Lead: Club 3

“I accept refreshment at any hands, however lowly.”

— W.S. Gilbert

You might care to plan the play in four spades by South, since at the table some experts found it harder than they should have.


Any West who led the heart ace at trick one gave declarer an easy task. West then switched to a club, but declarer ducked the first club, won the continuation, drew trumps, then took the diamond finesse, losing just one club, one diamond and one heart.


An opening club leads makes it much harder. Superficially, four spades seems to depend (after getting trumps right) on the diamond finesse. Because it was wrong, declarer had to go down.


South was in too much of a hurry to take that diamond finesse. Once declarer has avoided a trump loser, he will have no problems if the diamond finesse is right. The correct line is to duck the first club, win the club continuation, and cash the two top spades. If the spade queen is still outstanding, then declarer must take the diamond finesse; if it is right, he rates to be able to discard all his losers on the diamonds.


However, if trumps are 2-2, South does not need the diamond finesse. He simply plays another club. He knows that clubs are either 3-3 or that they lie as they do. (West would have led the jack from an original jack-doubleton.) West can go in with the king and switch to a diamond, but declarer rises with dummy’s ace and discards his losing diamond on dummy’s club 10.


South Holds:

K 10 4
A Q J 9 8
A 10 7 5


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
ANSWER: There are three promising candidates. You might jump to two no-trump, force to game with a jump to three clubs, or go low with a bid of two clubs. If your partner had responded in your three-card suit, you might force to game, but here your hand has gotten worse, not better. A simple two clubs is surely enough for the time being. Give me the spade jack instead of the 10 and I’d bid two no-trump.


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