Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, June 11th, 2012

Mankind always sets itself only such problems as it can solve….

Karl Marx

East North
Neither ♠ J 6 3
 10 7 2
 8 7 5 2
♣ 9 6 3
West East
♠ 8 5 4 2
 J 6
 K J 4
♣ Q J 10 4
♠ —
 Q 9 8 5 3
 10 3
♣ A K 8 7 5 2
♠ A K Q 10 9 7
 A K 4
 A Q 9 6
♣ —
South West North East
2♣ Pass 2 Pass
2♠ Pass 3♣* Dbl.
3 Pass 3♠ Pass
4♠ All pass    

*Second negative.


Sometimes an easy game suddenly develops unexpected problems. Here you pick up one of your best hands of the decade, but to compensate for that, your partner has one of his worst. His three-club bid showed 0-4 points, and his three-spade call at his third turn suggested no feature he wanted to emphasize.

Accordingly, you come to a stop in four spades. When West leads the club queen, you ruff, then cash the spade ace, getting news of the 4-0 break.

With three possible diamond losers you cannot afford to play ace and another diamond or a 4-0 break onside would doom you immediately. So you cross to the spade jack and finesse the diamond queen, the best safety play against a 4-1 diamond break. If the finesse holds, you’d draw trump and play on diamonds for 10 or 11 tricks.

When the finesse loses, you ruff the next club and play the diamond ace, crossing your fingers. When both opponents follow suit, you can play a third diamond. West wins and plays a third club, but now you discard the heart four. If the defenders lead a fourth round of clubs, then dummy’s spade six would still be in place to take care of the ruff, and the hearts would provide the entry back to hand to draw the rest of the trumps.

If West exits with a heart, you can simply draw trumps and claim the rest.

On an auction of this sort, you should lead clubs rather than diamonds, because your partner has gone out of his way to direct the lead. A club lead may either cash out the suit for your side, or set up winners when your partner has a side-entry in one of the majors.


♠ 9 6 2
 9 8 3
 K J 6 5 3
♣ Q 4
South West North East
1 1♠
3 4♠ 5♣ 5♠
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