Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, April 20th, 2013

When everyone is wrong, everyone is right.

Nivelle de la Chaussee

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


In today's deal from a recent knockout match, there were instructive points for both declarer and the defenders.

In both rooms West led his singleton heart against four spades. In one room declarer won and played the king and ace of spades. When East showed out, declarer started cashing hearts, but when West ruffed and exited with a trump, declarer had nine tricks and no more.

In the other room, when East’s 10 appeared on the first round of trump, South could foresee that both major suits were likely to break badly. So, at trick three, he played a diamond, ducking East’s nine. East gave his partner a heart ruff, but that only worked to declarer’s advantage. If West now played a trump, declarer had 10 tricks, so he did the best he could by playing a diamond, but declarer discarded from dummy and made the rest of the tricks.

East should have worked out to continue with a second diamond rather than switch to a heart. If he does, all declarer can do is ruff in dummy and play a heart, but West trumps and plays the diamond ace. Again, declarer has only nine tricks. So can you see where both declarers went wrong?

After the heart lead, declarer simply needs to play four rounds of trump, giving West his trump trick. What can West do? A diamond is fatal, so he must play a club, covered by the jack, king and ace. Declarer simply plays a second club to establish his 10th trick in that suit.

Until you know the secret, it may perhaps be tempting to raise spades here. The best call, though, is to bid two clubs, expecting to be able to raise spades at your next turn. This will show extras with three spades. If over two clubs your partner inquires with two diamonds, the fourth suit, jump to three spades to show extras with three-card support.


♠ K Q 3
 A K Q 8 2
♣ J 10 6 2
South West North East
1 Pass 1♠ 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


David WarheitMay 5th, 2013 at 2:19 am

Just to be complete, when west is thrown in with the 4th spade, he can lead the queen of clubs, in which case south must duck. West is now well and truly endplayed.

bobbywolffMay 5th, 2013 at 4:36 am

Hi David,

Yes, we should have added an extra sentence and said what you said. Perhaps West was somehow hoping that declarer had the king of clubs, not the ace, but all indications promised otherwise.

Ken MooreNovember 8th, 2013 at 1:02 pm


My solution was to win the Jack and lead hearts. A ruff would reduce 4 trump to 3. Then draw trumps. That would be 5 spades, 4 hearts, and the Ace of clubs. This should work with any layout other than 5-0 in trumps.