Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 12th, 2015

You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.

Albert Einstein

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


Iconoclasts will tell you rules are meant to be broken. Up to a point, perhaps. The reasons the rules exist is because they tend to have at least an underlying grain of sense. However, applying the rules without pausing for reflection is as dangerous as ignoring the rules altogether.

Let’s look at today’s deal, from a team game. What should West lead? In one room West settled for the low club lead, and declarer guessed extremely well to let it run, judging that West might well have been unhappy underleading a king here. East took his club king and shifted to spades, and the defenders took the ace and pressed on with that suit. Declarer pitched his spade loser on the clubs, and discarded his diamond loser on the club nine as West ruffed in. With the heart jack falling, declarer could claim the rest.

In the other room West was not put off by his awkward spade holding. South’s bidding suggested little outside a strong heart suit, so any missing spade honors were relatively likely to be in dummy, and spades was the most likely suit for East-West to have winners in, either to cash or to establish.

After the spade ace and another spade, declarer was locked in dummy. He elected to play a third spade, and West won and shifted to clubs, setting up his side’s fourth winner in plenty of time. Declarer finessed the queen, and East took his king and knew to shift to diamonds, to cash out for down one.

It may feel right to attack trump, but your holding is an extremely dangerous one from which to lead. and it is somewhat unlikely that you can lead enough trumps to stop a cross-ruff, if that is what declarer intends. I’d settle for the mundane low club and hope to muddle through the defense on sheer power.


♠ K J 5
 J 9
 Q 7 4 2
♣ K 10 8 3
South West North East
    1 ♣ Pass
1 Dbl. Pass 1
2 ♣ 2 3 ♣ 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