Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

My name is Might-have-been:
I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farewell.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

E North
E-W ♠ 9 4
 A Q 2
 K J 5 3 2
♣ 10 5 3
West East
♠ A K 8 7 2
 A 10 9 4
♣ K 8 7
♠ Q J 5 3
 10 6 5
 7 6
♣ J 9 6 4
♠ 10 6
 K J 8 7 4 3
 Q 8
♣ A Q 2
South West North East
1 1 ♠ 2 ♠ 3 ♠
4 All pass    


In today’s deal put yourself in East’s shoes. West leads the spade king; over to you.

If you were parsimonious you could give partner an “encouraging” spade five, and then blame him afterwards for not reading this as a high spade! If he misreads the position, and cashes a second top spade, the defense is over. West may guess well to exit with a trump, but declarer simply ruffs out the diamonds to establish two discards for his losing clubs and makes 10 tricks.

A helpful partner would make West’s life far easier by following with the spade queen at the first trick, promising the spade jack. The general rule about dropping an honor in these positions is that it is either shortage or a sequence solid from that card down.

That will allow partner to underlead in spades on the second round, so that you can shift to a club through declarer’s club acequeen. That lets you develop four tricks before declarer sets up the diamonds for a club discard. You had better get the defense right to this one, since four spades your way only goes one down!

Perhaps West might have bid on — his hand looks more suitable for offence than defense, and the only reason that the four spade contract goes down is your combined weak club spots. If East’s clubs were just a little better West might have made 10 tricks in spades – and four hearts might still be allowed to sneak home, if you don’t time the defense right.

This is a very tricky problem especially at matchpoints, where finding the highest scoring partscore is as important as simply going plus. I can understand passing at teams since all your cards look to be lying badly. At pairs maybe two spades is reasonable. I’m not a fan of a two no-trump call here. I have no tricks for my partner.


♠ 9 4
 A Q 2
 K J 5 3 2
♣ 10 5 3
South West North East
  1 1 ♠ Pass
1 NT 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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact