Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

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

What boots it at one gate to make defense
And at another to let in the foe?

John Milton

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

*Fourth suit, a game forcing bid


At a suit contract, when a defender leads a side suit bid by dummy, it is very often a singleton. Here West led the heart six to dummy's jack and East's queen. Declarer dropped the 10, trying to give the impression that it was he who had the singleton. But East knew that if West had started with a doubleton he would have led the eight, not the six. Therefore South must be concealing the missing card.

At the end of trick one, East had to find a route to four tricks. There were two heart tricks, and hopefully a heart ruff if partner could overruff dummy — but where was the fourth? What other clues had East from the bidding? South’s bid of four spades had essentially ruled out slam. Since North had not yet really limited his hand, declarer surely did not have both a first round diamond and club control.

At the second trick East cashed the heart ace, on which West signaled helpfully with the diamond nine. Now East knew which suit to play, but were two diamond tricks standing up? When East took his diamond king, West followed with the six, count, to suggest an even number of cards left. That directed East to play a third heart. South ruffed with the trump jack and West overruffed with the queen. Note: if East doesn’t cash his diamond king before attempting to give his partner a heart ruff, declarer simply discards his diamond.

Almost all low-level doubles in auctions of this sort are angled toward takeout not penalty. Here you have a decent unbid club suit, and by bidding three clubs you suggest hearts and clubs and a minimum opening bid. Let partner take it from there.


♠ 4 3
 K J 5 4 3
 Q J
♣ K Q J 9
South West North East
1 Pass 1♠ 2
Pass Pass Dbl. 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