Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, January 25th, 2016

I think the two things most opposed to good counsel are haste and passion; haste usually goes hand in hand with folly, passion with coarseness and narrowness of mind.


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


Suppose that you were playing today’s deal in four hearts and that West led spades, his partner’s suit. It might feel natural to put up dummy’s jack or 10, mightn’t it? That is what South did, and it cost him his contract.

South might have preempted to four hearts at his first turn, but he followed a slower route to the same contract. When West dutifully led the spade six, declarer put on the jack from dummy and East did very well by refusing to cover. South could not afford to lead a second round of spades immediately for fear of the ruff, so he started on trump. When three rounds of hearts revealed the bad news, he played another heart to put West in with the jack. West correctly switched to a club; declarer won on the table, ruffed a club, then cashed his last trump in the hope of an end-play. However, East pitched his diamond king to keep the diamond jack as an exit-card and the defense eventually came to a spade trick.

Note the difference if declarer plays dummy’s spade seven at the first trick. This is covered with the nine, but when in dummy later with the club ace, South can run the spade jack. Whether this is covered or not, he has four spade tricks and his contract. The hand is a curious example of declarer having to take two finesses in a suit (both known to be right) where the order in which they have to be taken is critical, but yet not at all obvious.

Your partner is all but marked with four spades and diamond length, so neither a heart nor club appeals to me. I’m going to lead from the spade sequence, on the grounds that it is relatively unlikely to cost a trick, and leading through dummy’s strength is appealing. This may let partner lead diamonds more safely than I could.


♠ J 10
 Q 7 6 5 3
 J 2
♣ J 9 6 5
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Dbl. Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 NT 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact