Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, April 9th, 2016

Much learning does not teach understanding.


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


You declare four spades, and the defenders lead a low trump to trick one. You can envisage both the club ace and the spade ace as being with West. You can also expect West to hold three trumps to the ace; otherwise West would surely have embarked on a different defensive strategy on lead. Therefore, playing a second trump will see you make only nine tricks, as West will surely win the ace and play a third trump. The same will be true if you play a club.

However all is not lost. While you may not be able to ruff anything in dummy, you can ruff hearts in hand. What you need to make 10 tricks is a layout along the lines of the one shown here.

Win the first trick with the trump 10, then play the heart queen to the ace and ruff a heart in hand. A low diamond to the jack sees a second heart ruffed. Now a diamond to the ace is followed by a third heart ruff.

At this point you will lead your remaining spade, the queen. West does best to take the spade ace and get off play with a diamond to your queen. When you play the diamond king, West can ruff. But now he has only clubs remaining, and you will score a trick with the club king. You will make two trumps, the heart ace, three heart ruffs, three diamonds and a club, for a total of 10 tricks.

In my preferred style, the three club call is a game or slam try with hearts agreed as trump and help requested in clubs, typically based on four cards to an honor. A doubleton is a reasonable holding facing this, and your hand is well put together in terms of controls and supporting honors, so I would accept the invitation and bid four hearts.


♠ K J 2
 A 8 5 2
 A J 9 6
♣ 8 2
South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 3 ♣ 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


David WarheitApril 23rd, 2016 at 9:51 am

Or at trick 6 lead the DK to the A. Now, since the D10 has dropped, when W exits with a D after winning his SA, you can win in dummy with the 9, draw the last trump, discarding your remaining D on the last round of trumps, cash the D6, and lead a C to the K at trick 12. This line of play gains (an overtrick) over the suggested line only if E has D10x and CA (extremely unlikely, but not impossible), and otherwise is the same.

bobbywolffApril 23rd, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Hi David,

Yes, and even if the Ace of Clubs is 95+% to be with West and anti-percentage for big casino (10D) doubleton with East, the best line is still the best line.

Perfect will always beat almost perfect.

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