Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

If you hold back in hurdles, you are going to fall over.

Sally Pearson

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

*Guaranteeing five diamonds


South got as far as realizing that he had two possible lines of play on this deal, but he backed the wrong horse, and came a cropper.

West opened one diamond and, rating his hand as worth only one bid, East raised to two diamonds rather than show his spades. South overcalled with four spades, all passed, and West led the diamond king. Declarer ruffed, cashed the spade ace and continued with the king and another spade. East won and switched to the club queen. South held off for one round, but won the club continuation.

Now declarer could either rely on the hearts breaking 3-3, which would allow him to discard a club on the fourth round of hearts, or he could play West for four hearts and four clubs. In the latter case the winning line would be to concede a second trump trick. Since the defenders would not be able to cash their club winner, he could eventually squeeze West in hearts and clubs. In practice, South decided to rely on the even heart break, and so ended with only nine tricks.

In retrospect, there was a clear case for leading the fourth trump and playing for the squeeze. It wins whenever West holds four clubs and either three or four hearts. To lead hearts immediately gains only when both hearts and clubs divide 3-3. But if this was so, West would have started with seven diamonds. In that case East, with only three diamonds, would surely have responded one spade initially.

The standard meaning for two hearts is an artificial enquiry — fourth suit forcing. To get your three-suited hand across, bid three hearts. This is essentially natural, typically 1444 pattern or your actual hand, and says nothing about the strength of your hand. Partner will be able to determine the trump suit easily enough now, you would hope.


♠ —
 J 10 8 3
 A K J 9 5
♣ K 10 9 3
South West North East
1 Pass 1♠ 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