Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy.

Sir Isaac Newton

South North
Neither ♠ K J 9
 J 3 2
 A 8 6 3
♣ 7 6 2
West East
♠ 4
 7 4
 K Q 10 9 2
♣ K Q J 10 5
♠ 10 8 6 2
 10 9 8 5
 J 7 5 4
♣ 3
♠ A Q 7 5 3
 A K Q 6
♣ A 9 8 4
South West North East
1♠ 2 NT 3♠ Pass
4♣ Pass 4 Pass
6♠ All pass    


When the club king is led against your spade slam, you have to find a home for your two club losers. If trumps break, you might duck a club, then draw two rounds of trump. You could subsequently run the hearts, throwing a club from dummy, and ruff a club in dummy for your 12th trick. However, once the unusual no-trump from West has told you that the clubs are 5-1, you should be alive to the real danger of a bad trump break as well. (West's shortness rates to be in spades, not hearts.)

The obvious risk is that if you duck an early club, East will ruff in prematurely. Equally, if you cash a high trump in dummy, you may run out of top trumps. In fact, you need to make all your low trumps in hand when trumps do not break.

Win the club lead, cross to the heart jack, then cash the diamond ace, throwing a club, and ruff a diamond. Now a trump to the king is followed by another diamond ruff. Next, cross your fingers and, without drawing a second round of trump, play three more rounds of hearts, throwing a club from table. Only then do you concede a club to West.

It will do East no good to ruff his partner’s winner and return a trump, so he discards his last diamond, and West plays another club. But you ruff high in dummy and are left with two master trumps in hand.

You have far too good a hand to sign off in three diamonds, but no clear-cut way forward. Since you effectively denied spades at your first turn to speak, perhaps a raise to three spades will show your partner where your values lie and help him decide where to go next.


♠ K J 9
 J 3 2
 A 8 6 3
♣ 7 6 2
South West North East
1 1
2 2 2♠ 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