Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: Both


A 10 7 6 5 4

K 5

K 6

10 8 2


K 9 3

J 9 3 2

3 2

K Q 9 7



Q 7 6

Q 10 9 8 7

6 5 4 3


Q 8 2

A 10 8 4

A J 5 4



South West North East
1 NT Pass 4 * Pass
4 All Pass    
*Texas transfer to spades

Opening Lead: Club King

“I pledge you — I pledge myself — to a new deal for the American people.”

— Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Today’s deal is a new venture for me — and possibly for you too! South rates to take 11 tricks in four spades after a top club lead by cashing the spade ace early, and would feel that his side has bid quite high enough. However, you are asked to look just at North’s and South’s 26 cards, then arrange the opponents’ cards to allow your side to bid and make seven no-trump!


West leads the club king against the grand slam. Since South’s only hope of not losing a spade is to find the singleton jack with East, (the bare king with West will not suffice), he takes his club ace and leads the spade queen from hand. West covers, and South next takes three tricks in the diamond suit via the finesse.


When West shows out on the third diamond, South can now guarantee the contract. The fourth diamond will serve as a threat against East, and the club 10 acts as a menace against West, so that when the heart king and all the spades are run off, neither defender can guard hearts without throwing a master in one of the minor suits.


In the three-card ending, North holds a spade, a heart and the club 10; South holds a small diamond and the doubleton heart ace. When the spade is led, East has to discard a heart to keep the master diamond, South throws the diamond from hand, and West is squeezed in hearts and clubs.


South Holds:

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


South West North East
    1 1
1 2 Pass Pass
ANSWER: The auction has somewhat reduced the likelihood that your side can make game, since your partner’s pass at his second turn suggests he is minimum balanced without spade support. That being so, I suggest a call of two spades should suffice now. With slightly better spade intermediates, you would risk a jump to three spades.


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