Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 4th, 2013

Every exit is an entry somewhere else.

Tom Stoppard

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


After South suggests a slam by cue-bidding five diamonds, North should suggest a choice of slams, no-trump being a plausible option from his perspective because of his club holding. But South should prefer to bid the slam in his solid trump suit with the lead coming up to his diamond ace-queen, rather than risking playing in no-trump with no honor in North's diamond suit.

Against the heart slam, West might lead the club six to deny an honor, but let us say that West leads the club three, the partnership playing fourth-highest leads. When declarer plays the queen from dummy, East must plan his defense carefully.

West’s lead marks South with at least three clubs, and the bidding indicates that South has strong spades and the diamond ace. East must therefore resist the temptation to take his club ace, thus preventing declarer from obtaining a sure later entry to dummy’s heart suit.

Instead, East should follow to trick one with his small club. After East ducks the opening club lead, South can establish the heart suit but cannot return to dummy to use it for discards. He will lead up to dummy’s club holding, but will not be able to guess the suit successfully, so the slam will fail.

Of course, if South tries to run the heart suit by means of finessing against the queen, East can win the heart queen and cash the club ace to set the contract.


Lead the club two. Given the auction, both diamonds and hearts seem to be lying well for declarer. So it feels right to make the aggressive play rather than sit back and wait for your tricks.


♠ 9 7 4
 10 3 2
 Q 6 5 3
♣ K 8 2
South West North East
Pass 2 Pass 3
Pass 4 NT Pass 5
Pass 6 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


jim2November 18th, 2013 at 10:22 pm

(I did find the November 16 hand — see my yesterday last post.)

Bobby WolffNovember 18th, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Hi Jim2,

Yes, I saw that you did and thanks for taking the time to do it.

Since I didn’t think I could really add to what you (and others) have already written, (and also being busy on another project), I decided to not piece together a response which would require me to get active, especially if I felt hurried in doing so.

I really do appreciate everyone, especially you and a few of our other very loyal bridge family, so when I do not think I can add, I am opting for not subtracting.

jim2November 18th, 2013 at 10:45 pm