Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

The man who knows when not to act is wise. To my mind, bravery is forethought.


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


In today’s deal, North’s jump to five spades focused on the presence or absence of a diamond control. In moving on, South did well to select spades rather than hearts as trumps, because of his excellent trump intermediates. And that proved to be critical today, since the 4-1 heart break would have sunk the heart slam – and it certainly did not make the spade slam any easier to play.

After the top club lead from West, declarer won the ace, and carefully played only two rounds of trump, using one high honor from each hand. Had spades not split, declarer would have drawn all the trump and relied on hearts breaking. When spades broke, declarer could see that he had a slight extra chance, if West was short in both spades and hearts. He cashed the heart ace and queen, prepared to revert to trump if everyone followed. When West discarded on the second heart, declarer cashed the king and ruffed a heart to hand, then went back to dummy in trumps. He could discard his club loser on the fifth heart, then come back to hand with the diamond ace. Now he could lead up to the diamond queen successfully, for his 12th trick.

This approach, of leaving a trump outstanding while playing on the side-suit to test if it is going to break, is a very useful weapon to add to your arsenal. Particularly when one opponent has overcalled or preempted, the likelihood that he will be relatively short in the two key suits rises significantly.

Your partner’s redouble is SOS, suggesting a two- or three-suited hand with short hearts, after your LHO passed his partner’s take-out double for penalties. For the time being, you have absolutely no problem in bidding your three-card spade suit, as asked.


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