Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to a thousand times, I never looked back.

Ezra Pound

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


There are three basic ways of reaching a slam and I have seen them abbreviated by the acronym "BBC". Bashing is the unsophisticated approach; Blackwood and Cue-bids are the more subtle ones. Here South opted to follow the route that gave away the least information. Perhaps deservedly, he reached a poor contract, but he was able to set a trap, into which East fell.

Against six hearts, West chose a passive trump lead and South immediately realized that his best chance seemed to lie in finding East with the diamond ace in a relatively short holding. Then he could lead a diamond to his queen, followed by ducking the next diamond. If no ace appeared, a diamond ruff might next establish the diamond king for the 12th trick.

As you can see, this approach should not have worked today. However, after winning the trump lead in dummy, declarer duly led a diamond to his queen, which held the trick, but now instead of playing another diamond from hand, South crossed to dummy with a trump and advanced the diamond six. East, afraid that South might have started with the doubleton Q-J, went in with the ace, and now it was all over.

East should have reflected that if indeed South had this holding, playing the ace would simply establish dummy’s king for a valuable discard later. To rise with the ace would probably have been right only if the defenders had another quick trick to come — which was unlikely on the bidding and play so far.

There are people who will tell you not to open balanced 12-counts; not I. When you open a suit, then rebid in no-trump, you show a balanced 12-14 points, and this hand qualifies for that action. I can't tell you that it will work, but when you have a way to describe your hand, go ahead and take it.


♠ K 9 2
 K 9 8
 K 8 6 3
♣ K 6 2
South West North East

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