Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, March 11th, 2013

Be sure you put your feet in the right place,
then stand firm.

Abraham Lincoln

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


Today's deal is a relatively simple example of good judgment both in the bidding and play of the hand. Let's look at the auction first.

South made the decision to upgrade his 17-count into the range above a strong no-trump because of the conjunction of aces plus a chunky five-card suit. So he jumped to two no-trump at his second turn, and North had a simple raise to game in no-trump.

West led the heart seven, and declarer, not wanting a spade shift, took East’s queen with the ace. After cashing the king and jack of clubs, then finessing against East’s club 10, she played off her remaining club winners, West discarding three spades and two diamonds.

Now South had reached the decision point of the hand, when he led the diamond queen. It had become clear that if West had the diamond king, South would always make three no-trump, either by running the queen or rising with the diamond ace and playing a diamond back to the 10. Even if West could duck the second diamond, declarer would still have nine top winners (two diamonds, five clubs and the major-suit aces).

The advantage of going up with the diamond ace was that it was a safety play, in that while giving up overtricks if West had the diamond king, it would bring home the contract when East had begun with a singleton king. So South called for the diamond ace, and when the king fell, proceeded to make 12 tricks.

Your partner's three-diamond call was a help-suit try for game. Despite your bad trumps, you have a good hand for him now. But just in case he was slam-oriented, you should raise to four diamonds; it is easy to imagine a 5-4 diamond fit playing better in slam than a five-three spade fit.


♠ 9 6 3
 4 3
 A J 9 5 2
♣ K J 7
South West North East
1♠ Pass
2♠ Pass 3 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