Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Dealer: West

Vul: North-South


A K J 3

A 9 5 3

A K Q J 8


7 6 4 2

A K Q 10 7 2





6 5 3

J 8 6 4

10 9 4 3 2


Q 10 9 8

J 9 8 4

10 7 2

7 5


South West North East
  1 Dbl. Pass
1 2 6 All Pass

Opening Lead: Heart King

“Ah! the clock is always slow;

It is later than you think.”

— Robert Service

In today’s deal from a rubber bridge game, South was a valiant performer, but had a weak heart. When his partner jumped to six spades, he turned so pale that North insisted on getting him a glass of water before letting him play the hand.


But South’s mood was improved when nobody doubled the slam, and his complexion recovered a little on the sight of dummy, as he realized that the contract actually had some play.


West led the heart king, and declarer made his first good play when he ruffed with dummy’s spade ace. The objective on the deal was to come to six spade tricks, five clubs, and one diamond, but just in case clubs were not breaking, South decided to take out a little insurance.


As West was likely to have at least two diamonds just to make up his point count for the opening bid, South found the excellent play of ducking a diamond at trick two. He won West’s trump return (the best play) in hand with the spade 10, ruffed a heart high again, then cashed the diamond ace, overtook the spade jack with the queen, and played the spade 10-9, discarding diamonds from table.


The clubs failed to break, as South had foreseen, but his secondary chance came in when East was now squeezed in the minors, and so the contract came home.


South Holds:

7 6 4 2
A K Q 10 7 2


South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
ANSWER: It seems that you must raise spades now, but you do have a choice between raising to the three- and four-level, or producing a splinter-jump to four clubs. With such bad spades, it feels wrong to take any action at the four-level. The simple raise to three spades keeps open the option of playing in some other strain. (Even a 6-1 heart fit could be right, for example.)


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