Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Love truth, but pardon error.


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


Today’s deal shows that one should never give up on defense. Even when your chances are slim, half the battle is identifying what you need to defeat a contract. Whether or not partner comes through for you is another matter, but if you don’t try, you won’t succeed.

Imagine that as West you are defending four hearts and lead your singleton spade. Prospects for the game look fairly terrible for North-South, but the 7-1 spade split makes the game hard to defeat.

The spade queen is covered by the king and ace, and declarer plays a heart to the ace and a diamond to the queen and your ace. Now you should realize the danger of dummy’s diamond suit and know that the defense has to cash one spade trick or two club tricks to prevail. How can you get partner in for the killing play?

The only realistic hope of beating the game (except for East’s holding an unlikely doubleton heart queen) is that he comes through for you with the club ace. But you have a slight additional chance: maybe if he holds both the club queen and eight he can be put on play to win a club trick?

To make sure he doesn’t misdefend, lead a low club, which will go to his queen and declarer’s ace. Declarer next plays a diamond to the king and a third diamond. East can’t ruff in, so he pitches a spade and you win your diamond 10. Now you triumphantly lead a club to his eight, to let him cash the spade jack for down one.

This hand is worth forcing to game, but it is truly not clear which game will be best. You cannot bid no-trump yourself, and since a call of three diamonds would be invitational but not forcing (or even weak, depending on your methods) you must start with a cuebid. Let partner play three no-trump if he can bid it, and you can pass a four heart response, and bid four diamonds over four clubs.


♠ Q 4
 A K J
 K 9 8 7 4
♣ 6 3 2
South West North East
  2 ♠ Dbl. 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


jim2April 20th, 2016 at 12:15 pm

“East can’t ruff in ….”

Per the text, trump have been led just once.

For that matter, once East ruffs and cashes a spade, declarer could hold the 8C because the K/J/10/9 clubs would still be in West hand.

bobbywolffApril 20th, 2016 at 1:28 pm

Hi Jim2,

Oh yes, I remember when this hand was on the drawing board, there was some back and forth about whether declarer should first lead a diamond from hand to dummy and if so, after West ducked the ace, whether East should jettison the jack. That play at another time may prevent East from having to give a ruff sluff eliminating declarer’s 2nd diamond loser in the event that West was dealt A10x as he was on this hand plus, of course, the declarer having eliminated all other suits except trump.

However that was not meant as an excuse for the column gaffe, but only to take attention away from it. However confession rather than obfuscation sometimes satisfies the conscience in a more complete way so I will admit personal stupidity and sloth.

jim2April 20th, 2016 at 3:37 pm

So the Voltaire quote was NOT deliberate, and you were NOT simply testing us?


bobbywolffApril 20th, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Hi Jim2,

Since every self respecting bridge player criticizes only himself and never his partner, I am surprised that only Voltaire, but not you, knew that.

Never ever, is there a cross word between partners nor adversaries while bridge is being played.

Furthermore, if you believe the above, there is a local real bridge I’d like to sell you.

Pete SagerApril 23rd, 2016 at 12:26 am

Hi Bobby,
I don’t know if you read comments for hands posted two days ago. Your BWTA answer will often wrong side 3NT if partner has Ax, Axx, or Kxx of spades. Lebensohl (which I generally don’t play) seems to be the answer. A jump to 3NT shows a game going hand with no spade stopper. If partner leaves it in, then you would be playing it from the correct side.

SoilaApril 25th, 2016 at 4:09 am

For the proper consistency about 1 cup of water should be added
to the ground peel. Now gently rub it on the scar in circular
motion before rinsing with cold water. Anti-oxidant chemicals are valued
for their wide healing actions.

69zeed.comApril 25th, 2016 at 4:53 am

You love them when they dole out soul-stirring dialogues, because it
touches your soul. This can also cause problems because the types of media that are recognized
as valid by Windows Movie Maker are limited, and the work is often subject to different types of errors.

The million dollar Big Bang is a masterpiece that has an invisible setting that conceals the matereial and obly reveals the diamonds.