Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: East-West


Q 8

J 5 3

J 10 7

A J 9 8 7


J 10 9 7 4 2

8 2

K Q 8 5



6 5 3

Q 10 9 4

9 4

K 6 3 2



A K 7 6

A 6 3 2

Q 10 4


South West North East
2 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening Lead: Spade Jack

“‘In my youth,’ Father William replied to his son,

‘I feared it might injure the brain;

But now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,

Why, I do it again and again.'”

— Lewis Carroll

Some themes crop up more frequently in the fevered imaginations of bridge writers than at the table. But that does not mean that those themes are not both valid and worthwhile — they are.


With that caveat, consider that you will need to play carefully today to guarantee three no-trump, although on the face of it you have tricks to spare, one way or another.


I suspect if the deal were played in the local club, the defenders would lead spades, and declarer would win and play on clubs, with East taking the first or second round to return a spade. South would emerge with nine winners and might well think that the defenders had found the best lead and continuation. True enough, but consider what might happen if East had restrained himself sufficiently to duck both the first and second clubs. Now declarer would have three club tricks not four, and with the spade blockage, would have no re-entry to dummy.


So what is declarer to do? Answer: when the club queen and 10 hold the trick, with West discarding on the second round, South leads his third club to dummy’s ace, then plays the fourth club, discarding his spade king! Now the opponents must give him an entry to dummy if they continue the attack on spades. Equally, a shift to either hearts or diamonds merely puts off the evil day when one of dummy’s red jacks will provide an entry to the board.


South Holds:

Q 8
J 5 3
J 10 7
A J 9 8 7


South West North East
Pass 1 2 Dbl.
ANSWER: You have enough to raise hearts pre-emptively, but since you expect to be defending a spade game, wouldn’t you like to get partner off to a club lead? The best way to do that is to bid three clubs now. As a passed hand, you can’t be rescuing partner from his long suit before anyone has passed for penalties. This is a fit-showing call, indicating heart tolerance and a desire for a club lead.


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