Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, June 29th, 2013

More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.

Woody Allen

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


West makes a negative double and North's cue-bids show a sound raise in spades. As you were uncertain about the final spot you made a trial bid in hearts, prompting North to blast directly to game. How do you plan to make 10 tricks after West leads ace and another trump?

Although it is not crucial, you unblock one of dummy’s trump honors under the ace. After winning the second trump cheaply in hand, you judge West began with a doubleton trump, because he would surely have led a low trump from ace-third. So, there is no chance of ruffing a heart in dummy, for East will win the heart trick and play a third trump.

Consequently, you will need to set up the diamond suit, and although your chances may look slim, given the shortage of entries to dummy, you can achieve your target — so long as West holds three diamonds including the 10. The layout you need will be similar to the one in the diagram.

When you lead the diamond two to the eight and queen, East will be on lead. He cashes the heart king, then returns a third trump, which you win in dummy. Next you cash the diamond ace (throwing a heart) and then lead the diamond jack. East covers with the diamond king, and when you ruff, West’s diamond 10 falls, as you had hoped. You will now make four trumps, four clubs and two diamonds for your required total of 10 tricks.

I rarely tell my readers there is no second choice in a deal. But today I'm going out on a limb: two spades is mandatory, and there are no second choices, including two clubs. Unbalanced minimum opening bids with a three-card raise should start by raising rather than bidding the second suit and then supporting. Switch the club five to the ace and you bid two clubs, then support partner at your next turn.


♠ Q J 6
 A J 9 8 3
♣ Q J 7 5
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