Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Dealer: East

Vul: Both


A Q 10

J 7

J 5 4

K J 10 7 3


9 8 7 2

A 4

A K 9 8 3

Q 4


K J 6 4

8 5 2

6 2

9 6 5 2


5 3

K Q 10 9 6 3

Q 10 7

A 8


South West North East
1 Dbl. Rdbl. 1
2 Pass 3 All Pass

Opening Lead: Diamond King

“There’s nothing of so infinite vexation

As man’s own thoughts.”

— John Webster

Most defenders in today’s deal would unthinkingly lead out three rounds of diamonds to get their ruff, then sit back and collect their trump ace, but nothing else. Three hearts would make nine tricks, and I suspect most pairs who had conceded the contract would move on without realizing that they could have done better.


West’s defense was entirely rational (partner wants a ruff, so I will give it to him), but he should realize that circumstances alter cases. On this deal there was certain to be no urgency to take the ruff; East was sure to have two or more hearts, and West had the trump ace. So a spade shift before giving partner the ruff would give the defenders their best chance of collecting a spade trick before declarer’s spade losers vanished on dummy’s clubs.


Note that there are two issues West has to bear in mind; the first is Will declarer discard any losers on the clubs before tackling trump? The answer is no. If declarer rises with the spade ace and plays three rounds of clubs, discarding a spade, West ruffs with the heart four, gives East a diamond ruff, and later makes the heart ace. Secondly, might declarer have the doubleton spade king instead of the club ace? If so, he could indeed discard a diamond on the spades and then guess clubs for his contract. This hand is less likely than his actual hand, though. He might well have opened a weak two-bid if he had that hand.


South Holds:

A Q 10
J 7
J 5 4
K J 10 7 3


South West North East
    1 Pass
2 Pass 2 NT Pass
3 NT Pass 4 NT Pass
ANSWER: This apparently illogical sequence is the way for your partner to show 18-19. The two-no-trump rebid suggested 12-14 or very strong, with an immediate jump to three no-trump showing a semibalanced 15-17. Here, your partner rates to have a completely balanced hand with only a doubleton club, or he might have produced a delayed club raise, so I would guess to pass the invitation.


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