Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, April 9th, 2012

No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you never should trust experts.

Lord Salisbury

West North
Both ♠ A 10 8 5
 6 3
 A 8 2
♣ A J 8 2
West East
♠ 6
 K Q J 10 9 4 2
 Q 6 3
♣ 7 3
♠ J 9
 8 7 5
 10 7 5 4
♣ Q 10 9 6
♠ K Q 7 4 3 2
 K J 9
♣ K 5 4
South West North East
3 Dbl. Pass
5 NT* Pass 6♣ Pass
6♠ All pass    



How good a contract is six spades here? You may be surprised to know that although the contract looks good, best play will result in only a 90 percent chance.

The instinctive line, however, will fail today. Imagine that you win the opening heart lead, draw trump, and play the club king and a club to the jack. East wins to return a club, and unless you follow an inspired line in the diamond suit, you will lose a trick to the diamond queen.

But you can do much better after the lead of the heart king to the ace. Take the spade ace and king, ruff dummy’s losing heart, then cash the club king and lead a low club, intending to cover West’s card. As the cards lie, when East takes the club eight with the nine, he can do no better than lead a low diamond. When the diamond nine forces the queen, declarer claims the rest.

In this variation, had the diamond nine been covered by the 10, declarer would cash his remaining trumps and discard a diamond from dummy. Then a club to the ace would reveal how that suit lay. If the clubs were 3-3, declarer could claim. If West had four clubs, then the diamond finesse would be a certainty as West could have no more than a singleton diamond. And if East had four clubs and had kept them all he would be down to one diamond, so it would be correct to play a diamond to the king.

The spades do not offer much hope, given your weak intermediates and the fact that your RHO has four of them. So the choice is an obedient heart or an undisciplined club. I'm prepared to risk my partner's wrath by leading a club in the hope that I can find partner at home there. You only live once!


♠ Q 8 5 3 3
 8 2
♣ K J 8 3 2
South West North East
1 1 Dbl.
Pass 3 Pass 3 NT
All pass      

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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact