Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 1st, 2013

Attempt the end, and never stand to doubt;
Nothing’s so hard, but search will find it out.

Robert Herrick

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


Today's declarer went down in his slam after missing a tiny point in the play. Can you do better?

In the auction, after South had made a strong jump response in spades and rebid his suit, North did well to cue-bid four clubs in support of spades (with a club suit, North would have rebid three no-trump), and now after an exchange of cue-bids South used Blackwood and drove to the small slam when he found the trump king was missing.

West led the club king against the slam, and declarer won the trick; what now? It all looked too easy: South crossed to a top diamond and discarded his losing clubs on the heart ace and king. Then he turned his attention to the trumps, but now he ran into a problem. Should he finesse or put up the ace and continue the suit? As you can see, when West showed out, it did not matter! To avoid two trump losers, he had to reach dummy again, and East was unkind enough to ruff when the diamonds proved to be 4-1. Now there was no way to prevent East from scoring a second trump trick.

A change in timing would have made the difference. Try cashing the spade ace before rushing to take discards. The trump position is exposed, so now after crossing to a diamond and throwing the losing clubs away, only one trump lead from dummy is needed to hold the losers in the suit to one.

Dummy rates to be 4-5 or 4-6 in clubs and hearts, and declarer is likely to want to ruff spades in dummy and maybe clubs in hand. Leading a trump doesn't seem to accomplish anything dramatic, but it looks like the best chance to cut down the crossruff.


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