Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, May 14th, 2016

Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.

John Lennon

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



Against four spades West leads the club ace and East signals an even number of cards in the suit. At trick two, West leads the six of trump, East discarding a club. Since West will have almost all of the missing high cards, how do you propose to make 10 tricks?

You have six top tricks and can ruff a club for a seventh. If hearts are 3-3 you will always make 10 tricks. The trick is to find the extra chance when East has the heart length, as here:

Entries to the closed hand are at a premium, so you should win the trump shift with dummy’s 10. Next you must play the club queen. West will take this and play a second trump: if it is the nine, play the jack from dummy and overtake it with the king and if it is the two, win the trick in hand with the seven. Next you should ruff a club, then draw West’s last trump, ending in hand.

Next you lead the heart three. West cannot profit from playing the ace, though in practice he is likely to win and exit in hearts, letting you pitch your diamond loser from hand on the fourth heart. If dummy’s heart king wins, a heart to the queen and ace sees West win the trick; but now he will find himself endplayed. You will run a diamond exit around to your queen, whereas a club shift will see you ruff in dummy, while discarding a diamond from hand. Either way, your hand will be high.

Your partner had little space to describe his hand at his second turn, so you should not give up on game yet. Your spade intermediates make you worth one try for game; but if you think about it, the right way to do this must be to bid two no-trump now. This shows extras, and almost precisely this pattern, since you are as balanced as you could be, given that you must have this holding in the majors.


♠ A Q J 10 5
 K 7 6 5
 A 3
♣ Q 7
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 1 NT Pass
2 Pass 2 ♠ 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


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