Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Dealer: East

Vul: Both


10 5 4 2

A J 8 4


J 7 6 4


A K Q 8 3

Q 3

J 8 5

Q 10 8


J 9 6


A 10 9 7 4 3

K 5 3



K 10 7 6 5 2

K Q 6

A 9 2


South West North East
1 1 3 3
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: Spade King

“Immortal patriots! Rise once more:

Defend your rights, defend your shore.”

— Joseph Hopkinson

In today’s deal you had to decide whether to take the push to four spades or sit back and try to beat your opponents’ game. With no extra spade length, the key may be whether partner has short hearts (and the opponents are bidding on shape) or whether he has two or three hearts, when you may be able to set their game and the sacrifice would prove expensive. On balance it seems right to pass.


Against South’s four hearts you lead the spade king, partner plays the six (suggesting an odd number) and declarer the seven. How do you hope to take four defensive tricks?


You need to place partner with the diamond ace and a top club, or both top clubs. Accordingly, it looks important to switch to a club now.


If partner has both minor-suit aces, or both top clubs, any small club will probably suffice. However, if partner has the club king without any intermediates and declarer has the club A-9, a switch to the club eight will not be good enough. Declarer will play low from dummy and hold his club losers to one.


To cover every possible situation, you must switch to the club 10. If declarer plays low from dummy, so will your partner, and your 10 will force declarer’s ace. However, if he covers your 10 with the jack, your Q-8 will be poised over his 9-2 when partner gets in with the diamond ace and leads clubs again.


South Holds:

10 5 4 2
A J 8 4
J 7 6 4


South West North East
    2 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: Obviously you have a great hand for spades. The best way to agree spades and get your assets across is to start with a jump to four diamonds. This is a splinter-jump, setting spades and showing values with a singleton diamond. Even if partner signs off in four spades, you are probably worth one further effort — a five-heart cue-bid looks right.


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