Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, April 20th, 2015

Everything must be like something, so what is this like?

E. M. Forster

South North
Neither ♠ A 9 6 5 2
 J 2
 10 6 4
♣ Q J 2
West East
♠ J 8 4
 10 8 6 5
 8 5
♣ K 8 4 3
♠ K 10 7 3
 A 7 3
 9 7 3 2
♣ A 10
♠ Q
 K Q 9 4
 A K Q J
♣ 9 7 6 5
South West North East
1 Pass 1 ♠ Pass
2 Pass 2 ♠ Pass
2 NT Pass 3 NT All pass


Once in a while you encounter a deal where, after the opening lead is made, you can place every relevant card. West leads the club three against three notrump; give it a moment’s thought to plan the defense. Can you work out South’s shape and which high cards he holds?

With the club two on view, West’s lead of the three must be from a four-card suit. So South also holds four clubs. Seeing the club ace, queen, jack and 10 on view marks West with the king, since with a suit not headed by an honor, West would have led his second highest club.

Since South opened one diamond, he has at least four cards there, and if South had fewer than four hearts, he would not have rebid in that suit. Of course if South does hold five hearts, surely that would have been his opening bid. All of this means South has exactly four cards in each of hearts, diamonds and clubs, and therefore at most one spade.

If South has decent reversing values with a singleton spade, and West has the club king, South holds a bare spade honor in a 1-4-4-4 pattern with about 17 points.

Therefore, on taking the club ace, the right switch is to the spade king. When the king scoops the queen, West should appreciate the position and unblock his eight. Then, when on lead with his club king, the spade jack and a spade through dummy’s nine leads to two down.

Neither a diamond nor spade seems in the slightest degree attractive. With declarer marked with at most four cards in hearts and clubs, should you lead from your longer or better suit? Imagine partner with – say — an ace in one suit and a king in the other suit. It feels better to try to set up a heart before it goes away, doesn’t it? So I would lead a small heart.


♠ A J 5
 Q 5 3
 Q 10 4
♣ J 7 4 2
South West North East
  Pass Pass 1 ♠
Pass 1 NT Pass 2
Pass 2 ♠ All 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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact