Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 25th, 2013

In the meantime, in between time,
Ain’t we got fun?

Gus Kahn and Raymond Egan

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


How do you plan to play this adventurous grand slam after West leads the club jack to your ace?

If both spades and trumps are going to break 3-2, it will be easy to make 13 tricks. The best plan is to draw two rounds of trumps, then cash the spade ace and king. When all follow to the spades, draw the last trump, cash the diamond ace and ruff a spade. After throwing your remaining club on a good diamond, your hand will be high.

This approach may even allow for a recovery when East has four spades and three trumps. For example, when West shows out on the second spade but is unable to ruff the spade king, the simplest plan is to ruff a spade, return to hand with the diamond ace and ruff another spade. Then you throw a club on the diamond king, ruff a club with the trump 10 and cash the trump queen. Your last two cards will be high spades.

What would happen if trumps broke 4-1? Then you would need East either to hold four hearts and three spades, or a singleton heart jack and two spades. In either eventuality, after cashing the diamond ace you would be able to ruff the spades good, throw a club on the diamond king, and if that held, draw trumps and claim the balance.

Just for the record, the likelihood of both majors splitting has only about a 50 percent probability.

Different partnerships use different methods over one no-trump, some transferring into diamonds via a two spade call, some via two no-trump, some via three clubs. I am not going to tell you which is best, but I strongly encourage you to make the transfer here; this hand will almost always play much better in diamonds than in no-trump. The bid does not imply values, just a long suit.


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


Iain ClimieNovember 8th, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Hi Bobby,

On BWTA, if you were playing pairs and non-vulnerable, would you consider passing in the hope of losing less than the major part score (or even game contract) that the opponents surely have? Of course you may have to reconsider if the big stick comes out from 4th in hand, but how many people play penalty doubles of a strong NT? My concern about running, although it is the obvious and relatively safe choice, is that it may encourage opponents into the bidding while the cards won’t be difficult for declarer to place.



Bobby WolffNovember 8th, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Hi Iain,

I prefer no transfers, but just a jump to 3 diamonds to play. Some forget, or else do not want to accept, that transfers, though preferable to have the opening lead coming up to the strength rather than through it, restrict both opponents to only one shot at competition.

What you say is on point, but, in truth, these situations are still guesses by all the closed hand opponents since there are somewhat wide variances in strength between an almost game invitation and a hand as weak as the BWTA example. And sometimes West, the position yet unspoken, may consider himself just not enough to venture in, leaving it up to East to gamble.

Nothing is close to perfect, but I do not recommend a pass since, although the BWTA does not mention vulnerability (by design since we only want the principle bid discussed), it, of course, is important, but whatever done by the opponents should, if possible, be restricted to as few opportunities as practical.

Also, partner should always respect his partner, by almost never (with almost a polite way of saying it) overriding his partner’s decision to end the bidding. In other words he should pass, regardless of his hand.

All of the above is just my personal experience, but it has been my opinion for more years than I can count and after being faced with this type of situation probably at least a quadruple number of times from both sides of the fence.

In summary, intend to immediately get to a diamond contract at as low a level and as quickly as possible and await to see what happens.

LogalApril 17th, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Warren, If I know your coming, I will add you to the rrgestiation list. You will stillbe able to use the link to paypal to pay for your entry. Let me know and I’ll add you.Thank You