Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Then, welcome each rebuff
That turns earth’s smoothness rough,
Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand but go!

Robert Browning

South North
Neither ♠ 10 8 7 3
 A 8 7 4
 J 10
♣ J 9 3
West East
♠ Q 9 2
 Q 10
 Q 8 5 3
♣ K 7 6 4
♠ 6
 J 6 5 2
 K 9 6 4 2
♣ 10 8 2
♠ A K J 5 4
 K 9 3
 A 7
♣ A Q 5
South West North East
2 NT Pass 3♣ Pass
3♠ Pass 4♠ All pass


See if you can play four spades as well as Philip Soulet did in the round of 64 in the Spingold Knockout Teams from Philadelphia last summer.

West led the diamond three, and. East covered dummy’s diamond 10 with the king. Soulet (South) won the diamond ace, took the top two spades (learning that West had three to the queen), then cashed the top two hearts, West following with the queen and 10.

Soulet then exited with the diamond jack. West won the queen and could cash his spade winner, but had no good play from there. Since a diamond would have given a ruff and discard and let declarer pitch his heart loser from hand, West switched to a club, but Soulet could put in dummy’s nine. Had this forced the king, he would have had no club loser at all. When East could cover with the 10, Soulet won cheaply and drove out the heart jack. He could win the club return with the ace and lead a trump to dummy to discard his losing club on the heart eight.

In practice, though, so long as West held either the 10 or king of clubs, it didn’t matter whether West’s doubleton heart consisted of high or low cards. Had the queen and 10 of hearts not appeared, then after winning the club queen, Soulet could have cashed the club ace and thrown West in with the club king. That would have forced a ruff and discard to make the contract.

It looks tempting to raise to two clubs, but with your soft stoppers in the majors, it feels better to limit the hand with a call of one no-trump. If the opponents compete again, you might bid on to three clubs, but for the time being, I'd consider your hand one on which to aim low.


♠ Q 9 2
 Q 10
 Q 8 5 3
♣ K 7 6 4
South West North East
1♣ 1

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


bruce karlsonAugust 10th, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Suspect I would lead a low club against 4 spades and bemoan my fate until the end. The lead would be based on giving partner no more than 4 or 5 points and since I must make an aggressive lead, why not the most aggressive. I would be unhappy at leading into the ten ace but that also fouls up declarer’s timing and we end up with a trick in each suit. To wit: when I win the diamond J, I can get out with a diamond… If I am correct partner’s heart J and my 10 allow me an “out” each time.

Probably missed something but…

Bobby WolffAugust 10th, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Hi Bruce,

Your lead of a club, would force declarer to win his queen, after probably playing the nine from dummy and getting it covered. Then two rounds of spades and a 3rd spade to West’s queen. After then West gets out with either a heart or a diamond, South wins and plays three rounds of hearts, establishing a good heart in dummy, to which he has an entry with the 10 of spades, since that trump is not needed to trump anything but rather an entry to dummy to cash the heart for a club discard.

The best opening lead would be the queen of diamonds, however declarer must then duck.

A very tricky hand, but our game has a way to make even ordinary looking situations to require different card orders necessary to achieve the ultimate goal.