Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, March 14th, 2014

He has no hope who never had a fear.

Thomas Cowper

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


Today's deal features some excellent defense. The final deceptive play that put declarer off track is one that crops up quite frequently.

South opened the bidding light, then was forced to make an inelegant rebid at no-trump. North no doubt thought that he had his partner covered anyway. West led the spade two against three no-trump, and East’s jack forced declarer’s queen. Declarer played a diamond to the king and East’s ace, and East returned the spade seven to the nine and king. West now imaginatively switched to the club four, East winning the queen and reverting to spades. The defenders had now set up their five defensive tricks, but because the heart jack was dropping, it looked as if declarer would arrive at his nine tricks first.

However, on winning the spade ace, declarer played a heart to dummy’s ace, on which East dropped the jack. This stopped declarer in his tracks and, taking the card at face value, South deduced that if he continued with hearts, he would make only eight tricks.

As West had failed to clear the spades at trick four, it seemed logical that it was East who held the club ace, in which case all declarer had to do was play a club. So that was what he did, but looked rather foolish when West won the ace and cashed his long spade.

East did well to deflect declarer by playing the heart jack, but in truth it was the type of cost-nothing play that we should all look out for.

The "impossible" two-spade call shows a good club raise, better than a direct raise to three clubs. With a minimum hand in terms of shape and high cards, you should simply revert to three clubs and let partner bid on if he still has unexpected extras.


♠ A Q 9
 K Q 10 7 5
♣ 10 7 5 2
South West North East
1 Pass 1 NT Pass
2♣ Pass 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact