Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 26th, 2015

Creativity is not intelligence, it is the ability to do what you did not know through the use of what you know.

Michael Bassey Johnson

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


Today’s deal strikes me as complex, because you seem to have a quite a few equivalent lines available here, and no clear direction in which to go. The hardest hands are those where there are either no good lines or too many competing attractions.

Declaring six spades you must take the lead of the spade 10 in hand, rather than in dummy. Next you take the heart ace-king, and must throw a diamond. Now the entry position requires you to play a low diamond next. As it happens you cannot guess correctly. But let us say you put in the 10, losing to East’s jack. That player can do no better than return a second trump.

You win the trump in hand with the spade king, and now ruff a heart to dummy. Then you can return to hand with the diamond ace. A diamond ruff followed by a club ruff allows you to draw the last trump with the spade queen, and claim the balance.

Had the defenders forced declarer by leading clubs at every turn, declarer brings home 12 tricks with the aid of a dummy reversal. He ruffs the opening lead, cashes two hearts, discarding a diamond from dummy, then ducks a diamond as before. He can ruff the next club and draw two rounds of trump, then ruff a heart to dummy to establish the hearts. Next he draws the last trump, while pitching his last diamond from hand, and the South hand is now high.

My answer may raise eyebrows, but I respond light to minor–suit openers, so I’d bid one spade here. I am happy to try to keep the opponents out by simulating more values than I hold. Yes, partner may overdo things; but the usual cliché about omelets and eggs applies here. I’d pass facing an opening bid in any other seat; as soon as one opponent has passed, the need to keep the enemy out declines.


♠ J 6 4 3
 Q 10 6
♣ J 8 6 3 2
South West North East
    1 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