Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

I wish you would read a little poetry sometimes. Your ignorance cramps my conversation.

Anthony Hope

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


In today's deal a slip was made that resulted in the difference between a vulnerable slam coming home or going down. Read on and see if you can attribute the blame appropriately.

West, who had opened the bidding with one diamond, led the diamond ace followed by the queen against six spades. Put yourself in declarer’s position, and cover up the East and West hands to give yourself the problem he faced.

Assume you win the king and ruff a diamond, East following. Now comes the heart finesse, the heart ace and a heart ruff. All is going swimmingly so far. You play a spade to dummy and West’s diamond discard gives you pause for thought, but, undaunted, you ruff another heart, East discarding a club.

Of course the 4-0 trump break means you can’t draw trumps, but at the table South was confident that West had started life with 0-4-5-4 shape, leaving East to hold 4-3-3-3 pattern. So South simply cashed the club ace, ruffed a club, then was ready to claim, expecting to make the rest on a cross-ruff. Unfortunately, declarer’s count of the hand was not quite right. East overruffed the club – result, misery!

Can you see where declarer went wrong? Although the mistake was hard to spot, South should have played the club ace and taken a club ruff before leading the fourth heart, thus preventing East from making that killing club discard. South could then take the spade ace, find the bad trump break, and crossruff the rest.

Your partner's double shows extras, typically with something like a doubleton spade and three hearts. It feels right to me to give preference to three diamonds rather than rebidding at no-trump or spades. Your hand may offer heart ruffs if they don't lead trumps, and maybe spades or clubs will ruff out if they do. Would a call of three clubs be natural and non-forcing here? I'm not sure!


♠ Q 8 7 5 3
 7 2
♣ A Q 8 3 2
South West North East
Pass 1♣ 1 1
1♠ 2 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