Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, December 3rd, 2012

He is free… whose impulses are unimpeded, whose desires attain their purpose, who falls not into what he would avoid.


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


Against three no-trump West leads the heart eight, and East wins the first trick with the queen and returns the heart five when you hold up the ace. You might as well duck this, just in case West has opened on a five-card suit. West wins with the jack and clears the heart suit, dummy and East each throwing spades.

You have eight top tricks, so an extra trick from the diamond suit will carry you to the finishing line. You will need to duck a round of diamonds at some stage and it must be to East, the safe hand with no more hearts. At trick four you lead a low diamond from your hand. If West produces the diamond six or seven you will cover with dummy’s eight, forcing East to win the trick. Nine tricks will then be yours when the diamonds prove to be 3-2.

Suppose West holds diamond Q-10-7 and inserts the 10 on the first round. You win with dummy’s ace and see that it would not be safe to continue by cashing the diamond king. West would win the third round of diamonds and cash too many hearts for your liking. Instead, you return to your hand with a spade and lead another diamond toward dummy. West has to produce the seven this time. You cover with the eight, and are now sure to make three diamond tricks without letting West on lead.

The reason why a heart lead is so much more attractive than a spade here is two-fold. The first factor is the heart 10, which argues that if you find partner with any high card in the suit, you probably won't be costing your side a trick. The second factor is that if hearts are right, you have a plausible entry to your suit, while the reverse does not apply to spades.


♠ K 8 3 2
 Q 10 8 2
 J 9 6
♣ 8 4
South West North East
1 NT
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