Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

But once in a while the odd thing happens,
Once in a while the dream comes true,
And the whole pattern of life is altered,
Once in a while the moon turns blue.

W.H. Auden

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


When the spade queen is led against four hearts, it seems you need the diamond ace to be onside, since you have one club and two diamonds to lose.

However, you have two extra chances: The first is that if West has both club honors, you might throw him in on the third round of clubs, pitching a diamond from hand. But note that if West, a passed hand, holds both club honors, the diamond finesse will surely succeed.

However, there is one additional chance: that East holds the club K-Q. In that case, to prevent East from gaining the lead and firing a diamond through you, the opening lead should be ducked in both hands! Win the next spade in hand, lead the heart jack to dummy’s queen, then play the club two. If the club honors are split so that West wins the first club, you will dispose of a diamond on the spade ace, cash the club ace (in case the remaining club honor falls), then fall back on the diamond finesse.

As the cards lie, though, East must split his honors. Take East’s queen with the ace, play the heart king to the ace, then throw the club jack on the spade ace and lead the club 10.

After ruffing out the club king with a high heart, you can cross to dummy’s heart 10 and pitch a diamond on dummy’s master club. Now you may lead a diamond to the king to play for the overtrick.

A response of one heart tends to show five or more cards, but here the five-card restriction should be waived, since your four-card suit looks very much like five. This is surely the best way to get your values across, when coupled with diamond support at your next turn.


♠ A 7 3
 A Q 10 4
 6 3 2
♣ 10 9 2
South West North East
1♣ 1 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


jim2April 5th, 2014 at 11:53 pm

As always, there was a huge field for the Spring pairs tourney in LS, so I figured we needed a top to stay in contention for the Mudders Cup. Thus, I rebid 3N to offer a choice of games and played it there.

Won the spade lead, cashed six hearts, and watched the discards. I’m not sure there was any reasonable defense but, in practice, West threw clubs and East threw spades and one of each minor. That made it safe to cash the AS and throw West in with a spade, and got trick 10 at the end when West had to lead diamonds.

Bobby WolffApril 6th, 2014 at 1:44 am

Hi Jim2,

You rascal you! Bidding and winding up in 3NT with a 10 card major suit fit. Next time you will have 11 combined hearts, no doubt making 11 tricks.

But then the time after next, Lena will outdo you and make 12 tricks with South having an 8 card suit as no doubt she will have won your heart to forever be hers.

Love and bridge, bridge and love, they will always do the trick, at least in LS. And not long after, Lena became a Mudder.