Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, September 9th, 2016

Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.

Sun Tzu

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


South was too strong for a 15 to 17 no-trump, so he showed real extras in a balanced hand, then revealed his good three-card heart suit at his third turn. North now closed his eyes and leapt to slam, to ensure his side reached the right trump fit. Had he cuebid four spades his side might well have ground to a halt in game.

After a low spade lead, South realized he need to ruff the opening lead, as he was not sure what to discard from dummy at that point. A trump to hand and a low club up saw the club king win.

South then played a second trump to hand. If trumps had been 3-1 or 4-0, declarer would have almost certainly have been reduced to taking the heart finesse. As they were 2-2, he played another club, and since West had the club ace, the defense was helpless. The location of the heart king was now irrelevant: if West took the ace, declarer could claim immediately. He would discard his heart losers on dummy’s clubs, and his spade ace and remaining trumps would take care of dummy’s three small hearts.

So West tried the effect of ducking the club ace. This might have been effective if East had started with the heart jack, rather than declarer, since South might have ended up losing two heart tricks. As it was, though, declarer could simply take the heart finesse and claim 12 tricks when it lost.

The spade void is not necessarily a plus factor here, and some of your minorsuit cards may not be pulling their full weight. Nonetheless you can hardly pass two hearts here, so you should raise to three hearts and pass the buck to your partner.


♠ —
 10 8 7 4
 K 10 8 7 5
♣ K Q J 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♠ Pass
1 NT 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