Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength.

Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton

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



When North bid three diamonds after his partner transferred to hearts, it showed a nonminimum with heart fit. That got South to four hearts, against which West led his singleton trump. That turned out to be his least damaging lead.

Declarer next led out a second high trump, discovering the three-one break. At that point he ran the club jack to West, who found himself endplayed. If he returned a club, declarer would get a free finesse. If West, instead, returned a diamond, declarer would let it ride around to his queen. West chose the least of the evils by leading ace and another spade.

Declarer could now infer that West has the missing club honor or he would surely have exited in clubs. He could reach dummy with a third round of trump, to ruff the spade jack in hand. Next he cashed the club ace, and threw West in once more with a third round of clubs.

Caught in a second end-play, West could no longer get out safely. If he led another spade, dummy would ruff, while South discarded his losing diamond. It is for this reason that dummy must still hold a trump when the end-play takes place. This in turn explains why declarer left a trump outstanding at trick four when he took the first club finesse.

Since West knew that a spade return would be absolutely hopeless, he had finally to open up diamonds in the four-card ending, and South could run the lead round to his queen and claim 10 tricks.

Your partner has shown the equivalent of an Acol Two opening – eight to nine playing tricks in hearts. This is not 100 percent forcing but the next best thing to it, and despite your notable absence of high cards your doubleton club and spade are just enough to raise your partner to game. Don’t expect any overtricks.


♠ 6 5
 10 7 5
 J 10 9 8 4 3
♣ 7 4
South West North East
Pass 1 ♠ Dbl. 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