Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 21st, 2015

Prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.

Francis Bacon

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

*Jacoby; a game-forcing heart raise



Today’s deal may have a relatively simple theme, but it is one that might elude the non-expert. See what you think.

In today’s auction a light oneheart opening and a Jacoby two no-trump raise (showing four trump and game-forcing values) reveals the club singleton in the South hand. Cue bids show the pointed aces and Roman Key Card Blackwood follows, disclosing no keycards are missing. The five no-trump call is looking for a grand slam, promising all the keycards, but South firmly puts the brakes on.

Against six hearts West leads the diamond nine, best for the defense. Declarer wins the ace, draws two rounds of trumps and then plays the club ace followed by the queen, discarding a diamond. The finesse wins, but in a sense that is immaterial.

Later declarer discards one of his two spades on the club jack-10 and so makes twelve tricks; two spades, six hearts, one diamond and three clubs.

The point of this hand is that although the finesse can be taken either way, there is a difference in the timing and the number of discards for his losing diamonds that declarer can obtain.

As you can see, even if the ruffing club finesse fails and West wins the club king, declarer would still have 12 tricks. Crucially, the losing diamond has already been discarded. However if the direct club finesse is taken, then East might be able to win his king (as here) and cash a diamond winner.

Declarer sounds as if he has at least five clubs, together with three or four spades to a top honor. To kill spade ruffs in dummy, a trump lead feels right. You are not especially worried about declarer setting up and running the hearts, but preventing the spade ruffs cannot wait.


♠ A 7 4
 J 10 8 4
 5 3 2
♣ J 7 4
South West North East
Pass 1 1 ♠ 1 NT
2 ♠ Pass Pass 3 ♣
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


Joe1October 6th, 2015 at 1:56 am

Great quote, although many prefer conflict avoidance, when with an open mind we attempt to understand and resolve, one side or the other often has a virtue-based position; with the value pluralism in our diverse society this may surprise many parochial assessments.
Why not club lead?

Guy SimetiOctober 6th, 2015 at 2:55 am

Club lead? What diff?