Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 20th, 2015

I wanted to have the adoration of John Lennon but have the anonymity of Ringo Starr. I didn’t want to be a frontman. I just wanted to be back there and still be a rock and roll star at the same time.

Kurt Cobain

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


Today’s deal is from one of my readers, who preferred to remain anonymous. It came with the comment that the writer did not object to his partner’s going down if defeat was unavoidable. But it was irritating when they gave up before they started, in a contract that they could have made with just a little imagination.

At the table my correspondent was North, and admitted to having raised his hearts with some trepidation. Still, support with support, they say. South duly went on to four hearts, against which West led the club queen. East took his ace and switched to the spade three.

Now what? At the table, declarer played low: West took the spade king, gave his partner a spade ruff, and the diamond ace became the setting trick. This really was a little wooden on South’s part. With the spade two on view, that spade three had all the hallmarks of being a singleton. By far and away the best chance was to find East with a singleton spade and all the possible entries.

Playing on these assumptions, South should win with the spade ace, cash the ace of trump and the club king, ruff the winning club jack, and lead a low diamond from the table. East must play low on this and, after winning with his queen, declarer exits with a trump to end-play East. A club gives South a ruff and discard, while a diamond return established dummy’s king as a home for the spade loser, and the 10th trick.

This is the same auction as in today’s deal. However I would recommend a weak jump response in competition by an unpassed hand. Note: I play weak jump responses in very few positions. For example I don’t play them by a passed hand, nor in response to an overcall. But in this precise sequence they do make sense.


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

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


bryanDecember 4th, 2015 at 5:01 pm

What happens if when lead Ace of trumps find out west is void in hearts?

Time to fold tents? Or is there a swindle/favorable lie of cards to try a final hail Mary rescue chance?

Iain ClimieDecember 5th, 2015 at 9:51 am

Hi Bryan,

I think it is lights out as there are 2 heart losers and a club already lost. Unless East drops the DA on the floor and doesn’t notice it until later (or maybe a careless opponent revokes) there are 4 certain losers. Still, strange things happen! The odds against east having 3 trumps must be long though as the clubs are 7-2.