Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 30th, 2015

And she is the reader who browses the shelf
and looks for new worlds but finds herself.

Laura Salas

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

*Two of five key cards, no trump queen

**Club king


I am always happy to receive deals from my readers (you can email them to me or leave a comment below). Today’s deal features Marty Hirschman and Lynne Schaeffer. In an ACBL pairs game online, after a somewhat optimistic sequence Hirschman came to rest in seven hearts. (Did that six diamond call show or ask for a second round diamond control?)

Hirschman won the spade lead with the ace, drew trump, then cashed two more spade winners. Because East had short hearts, Hirschman decided to lead a club to the 10. So far so good!

Then he cashed the club king, the diamond ace, and took his last two trump winners. In the two-card ending he had reduced down to the diamond queen and a club, with the club ace-jack on the bard. West’s cards were irrelevant, but East could not hold both the diamond king and two clubs. He discarded his diamond king in the hope that his partner had the queen, so Hirschman could take the diamond queen and club ace on the last two tricks.

As an aside: without the diamond queen, how should you play? After drawing trump you should take the club king and then lead up to the club ace-jack. This way you pick up half the 3-3 club breaks (in that case it would be a straight guess as to who has the queen) plus whenever West has the doubleton or singleton club queen. The point is that you cannot make the hand if East has the queen and real club length.

You have a spectacular hand for hearts, too good simply to raise to four hearts. Bid four clubs as an advance cuebid for hearts (this can’t be a club single-suiter given your previous call so it must be in support of hearts). With a good hand for spades you would bid three spades over three hearts.


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


Iain ClimieAugust 14th, 2015 at 12:11 am

Hi Bobby,

Doesn’t your proposed club play without the DQ work either way round e.g. East could have CQ or Qx? If so, especially if trumps are 2-2, E-W have to try to persuade declarer that the spade length is the other way round.



bobby wolffAugust 14th, 2015 at 2:50 am

Hi Iain,

I’ll try to answer your hypothesis in a general way.

Whenever there is a two way guess for a queen or even when the declarer needs to only guess the exact distribution against him, both of those worthy opponents will combine their order of discarding in order to, at least what they hope, to throw up a red herring to which the declarer may fall victim.

Those special mind battles take on their own life and especially at big time tournaments will be remembered by both the winners and the losers. Such is the story of, the glory of, our very challenging game.