Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: East-West


A J 8 7

9 5 3

A 9 4

A J 5


K J 4

7 6 3 2

K Q 10 9 7 4


10 9 6 3

10 8 7 2

10 8

8 6 3


K Q 5 4 2

A Q 6

K Q J 5



South West North East
1 2 3 Pass
3 Pass 4 Pass
4 Pass 4 NT Pass
5 Pass 6 All Pass

Opening Lead: Club King

“Be calm? And was I frantic?

You’ll have me laughing soon.

I’m calm as this Atlantic,

And quiet as the moon…”

— Edwin Arlington Robinson

Emotion at the bridge table is the great equalizer. When we think we have done well or badly, we often lose focus.


When today’s deal came up in a match between two decent teams, both tables bid competently to six spades. West led a high club which South won in dummy. His first thought was that his side might have missed the grand slam. He then took his eye off the ball by playing a trump to the king. When the 4-0 break came to light, he could see that he had no realistic chance to establish more than five trump tricks, so he drew trump and cashed three rounds of diamonds, ending in dummy. Then he took the heart finesse and conceded down one when West won and exited with a high club.


In the other room declarer also received a club lead against six spades. He made the critical play at trick two of ruffing a club in hand, then played the spade king and a spade to dummy, ruffed another club, played the spade queen from hand, then went to the diamond ace to draw the last trump, pitching a heart loser. Now he simply ran the diamonds and conceded trick 13 to the heart king.


Readers may try to make the slam by doing anything other than ruffing a club at trick two. But please don’t try too hard — it cannot be done.


South Holds:

K Q 5 4 2
A Q 6
K Q J 5


South West North East
    1 Pass
ANSWER: If you play weak jump responses, you will have to bid one spade and muddle through thereafter. If you play strong jump responses, you can bid two spades, then raise diamonds at your next turn to show your slam potential, good fit, and your own good suit all at one go.


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