Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 7th, 2013

Think no more; 'tis only thinking
Lays lads underground.

A.E. Housman

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


The concept of par refers to the result achieved by both sides if neither of them makes a mistake. In today's deal, par for North-South is to play four spades, not three no-trump, since eight tricks are the limit in no-trump on a diamond lead. Many Souths might prefer to open with two no-trump or a forcing two-club call, though the lack of aces suggests the one-level opener to me. But whatever the opening, the spade game should be reached.

How should South tackle the deal in four spades? Assume West leads the heart jack and East takes the ace. He must now resist the temptation to play his singleton club — which would facilitate declarer’s task considerably. Instead he returns a low heart, then wins the spade ace to play a third heart.

Able to afford the loss of one club trick but not two, South should now make the safety play of the club king to the first round. When East drops the nine, a low club toward dummy should follow, finessing the eight if West plays small. If East wins the second club, then the suit has broken 3-2. If West discards on the second round, declarer can put up the ace from dummy and lead back a club toward his jack. Most importantly, if West started with four clubs, either the eight will win, or the ace will capture an honor and the eight and jack will be equals against the queen.

My choice would be to lead a spade, even though my RHO bid that suit. After all, your fifth spade does suggest you might be able to set the suit up eventually. My second choice would be a diamond — both minor suits are equally dangerous but partner might have been able to double the club bid if that were the right lead.


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