Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 28th, 2011

Dealer: West

Vul: Both


A K 8 6

J 7 6

A K 10 9 7 3


10 5 2

Q 10 5 4 3

9 6 5 2



9 3

9 2

A Q 10 8 7

Q J 6 4


Q J 7 4

A K 8

K J 4 3

8 2


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

Opening Lead: Club Five

“Logic and sermons never convince,

The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul.”

— Walt Whitman

When a good player lets you score a cheap ruff, think twice about obliging him — it will not generally be in your interest to do what he wants.


In today’s deal West chose the lead of his singleton club against the spade slam, though a singleton in dummy’s long suit is less frequently the killing lead than you might think. Had he led a trump, declarer’s task would have been hopeless. Incidentally, on a diamond lead, declarer can make by discarding at trick one from dummy and subsequently ruffing a diamond low in dummy, then a heart high (not by any means an obvious line).


Declarer won the club lead in dummy, crossed to hand with a heart, and led another club. West now fell from grace when he ruffed this. Even though he shifted to a diamond to shorten dummy’s trumps, it was now easy for declarer to set up the clubs by ruffing just once more in his hand. With the remaining trumps now 2-2, he had a trump left in each hand so he could ultimately ruff dummy’s losing heart in his hand.


Suppose West refrains from ruffing the club at trick three. Declarer wins in dummy and ruffs a club high, crosses back to a trump and ruffs another club high. The trouble is that all this ruffing high has generated a trump loser. Although declarer can now draw two rounds of trump and run his clubs, the defense must come to a trump and a heart.


South Holds:

A J 5 2
Q 10 3 2
7 4 3
9 3


South West North East
      1 NT
All Pass      
ANSWER: It looks natural to lead from a major suit rather than a minor. I have few strong prejudices about opening leads, but borrowing from the French, I do feel strongly that leading from a four-card suit headed by the ace against no-trump is almost always going to be close to my fourth choice. Here a small heart is available as a far more attractive option.


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