Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 21st, 2013

The great source of pleasure is variety.

Samuel Johnson

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

*An ace and a king, or three kings


I suspect many of my readers have never tried to make a contract on a squeeze — especially one where the count has not been rectified (an arcane way of saying that a trick still has to be lost after the squeeze has bitten). It is time to rectify that position.

In today’s deal South has done well to avoid making the weak spade suit trump, and instead has to play the hand in six clubs, against which West leads the heart queen.

With 11 top tricks, South should see no reason to delay drawing trumps. After this, he might feel a need to improve his chances of a potential squeeze by conceding an early spade trick. Clearly he must lose one spade trick whatever he does, and it is almost always easier to execute a squeeze if you need the rest of the tricks, rather than the rest but one.

However, closer analysis should reveal the futility of ducking a spade, since if given the lead, East or West can play another heart and thus remove the last entry to dummy. So, instead, after playing the two top spades to ascertain that the suit will not break, South plays off all his remaining trumps.

In the four-card ending, West is down to two spades and two hearts, as is dummy. But what does West pitch on the diamond ace? If a heart, dummy’s nine is good. If a spade, declarer pitches the heart nine from dummy and sets up the long spade.

When partner passes out a takeout double and decides to play for penalties, you must lead a trump to stop declarer from scoring his small clubs. You know partner has a trump stack, so work on letting him draw trump.


♠ Q J 10
 K J 3
 A K 7 4 2
♣ 5 4
South West North East
Dbl. 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