Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

The number of those who undergo the fatigue of judging for themselves is very small indeed.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan

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

*Slam-try for hearts


Today's deal, from a knockout match, featured some excellent play and defense, after a well-judged sequence where North made a slam-try and South drove straight to six hearts.

Superficially, the slam appears to depend on East holding either the club queen or the diamond ace (so a spade can be discarded from one hand or the other).

At one table declarer won the spade lead in hand, cashed the heart ace, and played a heart to dummy. He now played a diamond to his king, which West astutely ducked in perfect tempo. Convinced that East held the diamond ace, declarer crossed back to dummy with a third trump and played a second diamond. This time West won and played the diamond jack to remove dummy’s last trump. Now declarer could not avoid a spade loser.

At the other table South used his entries more efficiently. At trick two he crossed to dummy with a heart and played a diamond immediately. As it happened, West won and declarer now played successfully for the club finesse. However, if West had ducked, declarer would have crossed to dummy with a second trump and played a second diamond. West would have won this and taken a trump out of dummy by playing a third round of diamonds. But now declarer would have been able to take the club finesse, cash the club ace, and cross back to dummy with a trump. He would then have discarded his spade loser on dummy’s club king.

If you are going to bid, the most attractive call is four hearts. If your partner can force you to bid at the three-level with nothing, you surely have enough to try game. Passing for penalties is almost as attractive. Your club values look more useful on defense than offense, and where are the opponents' tricks going to come from?


♠ 8 5 3
 K J 9 4
 8 3
♣ K 8 5 3
South West North East
1 2♣
Pass 3♣ Dbl. 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