Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

At Christmas play and make good cheer,
For Christmas comes but once a year.

Thomas Tusser

South North
East-West ♠ 8 6 4 2
 A 10 9 5
 A 10 4
♣ 3 2
West East
♠ J 9 3
 Q J 9 3
♣ K Q J 9 5 4
♠ A K 7 5
 K J 3
 7 5 2
♣ 8 7 6
♠ Q 10
 Q 8 7 6 4 2
 K 8 6
♣ A 10
South West North East
1 2♣ 2 2 NT
3 All pass    


Since today is Christmas Day, I'm going to show a deal where East presented the opponents with a Christmas present. Put yourself in his position to see if you can do better.

You might argue that East followed a cowardly route in the auction, but it did seem reasonable to think that the majority of his hand looked wasted on offense. As you can see, though, the favorable lies in spades and diamonds meant that four clubs would have crawled home.

Against three hearts, partner leads the club king, and you discourage, suggesting an odd number. Declarer wins and leads a heart to the ace, partner pitching the club four. Then comes a second heart on which partner pitches the club nine. What now?

At the table East missed the point altogether here. Partner’s low club spots (remember he started life with six clubs to the K-Q-J so he doesn’t have many small clubs!) must suggest suit preference for diamonds. Since you may need to lead diamonds through twice, start now.

At the table East reverted to clubs and West could do nothing but return a spade, letting East exit with a third heart. But declarer won the heart queen and led out the spade queen. Now he had time to take advantage of the fall of the spade intermediates to set up the spade eight for the discard of a diamond: nine tricks made.

With three decent trump you do not have to be over-intellectual and reconstruct the 52-card diagram in your head. Simply raise partner to three diamonds and let the chips fall where they may. Whenever you have trump support you should have it as your first priority to let partner know that, rather than finding a reason to pass.


♠ Q 10
 Q 8 7 6 4 2
 K 8 6
♣ A 10
South West North East
1 1 NT 2 3♣

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