Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, June 12th, 2015

There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

Douglas H. Everett

S North
None ♠ K 5
 A 6 3 2
 Q 10 8 6 2
♣ J 4
West East
♠ Q 9 8 3
 K Q 7
 K 7 5
♣ 9 8 3
♠ 10 2
 J 9
 J 9 4 3
♣ A 10 7 5 2
♠ A J 7 6 4
 10 8 5 4
♣ K Q 6
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 1 NT Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
4 All pass    


All too often, your holding in a side-suit drives your strategy in trumps. After a simple auction to four hearts West goes passive with the lead of the club nine. East wins his ace, and cannot sensibly switch to any suit, so continues with a second club.

South takes the second trick, and cannot draw trumps at once; if he plays a trump to the ace and a second trump, the defense might win and play a third round. Even if trumps split, this could leave him with a problem, as there would be only one trump in dummy to cope with two or more possible spade losers.

An alternative approach might be to draw no trumps at all, and play on a crossruff. The danger with following that route (or even drawing exactly one round of trumps with the ace) is that the defense may make their three high trumps separately.

The winning line is to give up a trump at trick three. You can win the return, then play the heart ace, and only after that will you tackle the spades. Play the spade king, a spade to the ace, and ruff a spade, and you can later ruff another spade to establish your fifth spade. The defense win the first trick, the heart you give up, and one more trump at the end, but that is all.

Be aware that today the small trump spots simplified declarer’s task here. Had declarer possessed the trump jack or queen there might have been alternative strategies to confuse the issue.

This hand is tailor made for a take-out double. When the opponents bid and raise a suit, sandwiched around your partner’s overcall, your double suggests both unbid suits, or one unbid suit and some support for partner. Here, you will be happy to hear partner pick a red suit or repeat his spades. The same logic applies when RHO bids a new suit at his first turn. Doubling shows the fourth suit and values.


♠ K 5
 A 6 3 2
 Q 10 8 6 2
♣ J 4
South West North East
Pass 1 ♣ 1 ♠ 2 ♣

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