Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 10th, 2016

What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul.

Joseph Addison

E North
Both ♠ K
 A Q 4
 A 9 7 4
♣ A K 5 3 2
West East
♠ A 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
 J 10 2
♣ 9
♠ 2
 10 8 7 3
 Q 8 6 5
♣ Q J 10 6
♠ Q J
 K J 9 6 5 2
 K 3
♣ 8 7 4
South West North East
2 4 ♠ 6 All pass


In today’s deal North-South were playing that their weak twos when vulnerable in second seat would promise very close to opening values, hence North’s majestic leap to slam after the opponents bounced to four spades.

West tried the effect of the spade ace and another spade, hoping to build a trump trick for his side. Declarer carefully ruffed the second spade with the trump queen, and East, not knowing which minor to discard, correctly underruffed. Then South cashed the heart ace, drew trump, and played a fourth heart, while throwing two clubs from the table.

Since West was marked with nine spades and no hearts, he had four cards in the minors. If the contract was to succeed, declarer knew that he needed East to have sole guard of clubs, so East had to hold at least three cards in that suit, but he would also need to have started life with at least four diamonds.

Declarer now took the fifth trump, reducing to a six-card ending with four diamonds and the club ace-king in dummy, while declarer held three small clubs, the guarded diamond king and a trump. If East pitched a club, declarer would score trick 13 with a small club. So he discarded a diamond, and declarer ruffed out the diamonds, with a club entry to the board to score the last trick with the diamond seven.

The blockage in clubs had prevented him from cashing either minor earlier. Note how much easier the hand would be to play if the club and diamond kings were switched.

Your hand looks too good for a purely competitive three-heart call, even if your spade honors may be wasted. I’d bid three diamonds as a game try for hearts. Were my king in clubs not diamonds I’d try three clubs, which should be a try for game rather than a suggestion of an alternative contract. Once hearts have been agreed, the partnership should not need to look for a different strain.


♠ Q J
 K J 9 6 5 2
 K 3
♣ 8 7 4
South West North East
    1 ♣ Pass
1 1 ♠ 2 2 ♠

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

1 Comment

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