Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

An honest politician is one who when he's bought, stays bought.

Simon Cameron

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


In today's deal from a team game, both North-South pairs stretched to a very poor game, when North hoped that their spade suit would provide significantly more tricks than it actually did. Plan the play on a low diamond lead.

Things look pretty hopeless, don’t they? Playing for hearts to be 3-3 needs a lot more to work than just that. For example, if diamonds are 5-2 and West can get the lead with the second round of hearts, you will go down. Even if diamonds don’t defeat you, you still need the club queen to drop before you have nine tricks.

In one room declarer followed a line that relied on a misdefense, which didn’t happen. However, in the other room, South played for the layout that actually occurred and found his way home.

At trick two he crossed to dummy with the spade ace and played a heart toward his hand, realizing when East followed low that it would not help him to find the heart 10 right; only the king-queen onside would do. When his heart jack held, he continued with the heart ace and another heart. When West showed out, declarer’s main chance in hearts had gone. But the 5-1 spade break was a curiously favorable outcome. With the club queen dropping in two rounds, it meant that the defenders could take no more than two hearts, one diamond and one spade. If the defenders had set up dummy’s spade winner, declarer would have come to a different nine tricks.

The simple approach is to raise to two no-trump here. Never bid three no-trump on this auction unless you have extra playing strength in the form of solid hearts. Another option that is well worth considering is to mark time with a call of two clubs, planning to rebid no-trump over a minimum response or to raise diamonds. But the simple raise of no-trump looks better.


♠ 4 3
 A J 9 4 3
 K Q J
♣ A K 8
South West North East
1 Pass 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact