Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, March 16th, 2013

A week is a long time in politics.

Sir Harold Wilson

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


As I'm sure my readers will have noticed, the deals I run on Saturdays tend to be slightly more complex than those in midweek. I have a mental image of my readers having slightly more time to drink their cups of coffee, and focus a little more carefully on the newspaper.

Today’s deal features a contract of four spades reached with just half the deck in high-cards. Once the spade finesse succeeds and trumpS break 2-2, South has excellent play for 10 tricks — but what is the best line? The answer may surprise you.

After the opening lead of the diamond king to South’s ace, declarer goes after trumps. He leads the spade queen, which holds, then leads a spade to the ace. Next comes the heart ace and a heart ruff. Now declarer exits with a low diamond to West, who wins the queen and plays the 10.

Declarer ruffs, ruffs a second heart as West pitches a club, and then leads his last diamond. West plays the nine and dummy discards a club rather than ruffing. West now plays the diamond three and declarer discards dummy’s remaining club while throwing a low club too. West is left on lead and whether he plays a low club or the club ace, declarer will be able to make a trick with the club king.

Declarer finishes up by making seven trump tricks and one trick in each of the side-suits.

Partner has suggested a minimum, most likely with six or more clubs. Your choice is a simple and slightly pessimistic raise to three clubs to invite game, or a bid of two diamonds to look for spade support, planning to raise clubs later in what would then be a forcing auction. It's a slight stretch, but I'd take the more aggressive position at teams, and only invite at pairs.


♠ Q J 9 7 5
 A 8 7 4
♣ K 7 3
South West North East
1♣ Pass
1♠ Pass 2♣ 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


Patrick CheuMarch 30th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Hi Bobby, a double loser on loser play in clubs by declarer on West’s fifth diamond is not always easy to spot.If West’s hand is K xxx KQ109x AQJx and East 863 KQxx xx 109xx,can declarer still succeed?I cannot quite see the order of play needed for success if trumps are 1-3.Regards-Patrick.

bobbywolffMarch 30th, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Hi Patrick,

You cannot see the order of play needed for success, because I believe it turns out to be invisible and thus absent. For one thing, declarer cannot draw three trump from dummy, leaving, if nothing else, for East to be able to trump the third diamond and lead a club through, therein putting paid to the enabling ending for declarer.

When game is bid with only 1/2 (20 HCP’s) of the high card deck, usually even breaks, to say the least, are needed in trump, sometimes among other suits as well, once the cards are going to be located (ace of clubs with West) according to the bidding.

Call it the constant symmetry in bridge which contributes to the numeracy, necessary for high-level play.

Thanks always for your enthusiastic interest, making you a main ingredient for the success of our effort.