Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Such labored nothings, in so strange a style,
Amaze the unlearned, and make the learned smile.

Alexander Pope

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


Against four spades West leads the trump seven to East's ace and a trump is returned, West following suit.

The contract is in danger only if East has the diamond king and you cannot avoid losing two club tricks. If West has both club honors, you will surely be sunk whenever East has the diamond king. Let’s not worry about that.

What else do we know? There are clues in the bidding and the lead. Since West did not lead a heart, East surely has a heart honor. If East had the club ace as well, he would have: the spade ace, the diamond king, the club ace and a heart honor. That would give him at least 12 high-card points and an opener in third seat. Thus, if the diamond king is wrong, so is the club ace.

The best way to win against this layout is to lead the club four from hand next! If West rises with the club ace, then you will lose only one club trick and are home free. If West plays low, you put in the jack. East will win the first club and can only return a heart. You will win and play the club king to West’s ace. West must shift to diamonds, but you rise with the ace and ruff the clubs good before returning to dummy with a heart ruff to run the good clubs. You will make four trumps, a heart, a heart ruff, a diamond and three clubs.

Your partner's redouble sounds like an SOS redouble — "Help, get me out of here.". His likely holding is four spades and five or six hearts, and since you know spades is now the best strain, simply bid two spades rather than confuse the issue with further escape maneuvers. The rule here is that if you want to play a doubled contract, you don't need to redouble to get a good score.


♠ 6 5 3 2
 A Q
♣ J 9 8 6 5 3
South West North East
1 1 1 NT
2♣ Dbl. Rdbl. 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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact

1 Comment

Bob HerremanMarch 16th, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Really, is it very bad practice to play that Redouble as “I want to play 2CXX”? In my understanding of BWS it is to play !