Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, December 30th, 2016

Live as long as you please, you will strike nothing off the time you will have to spend dead.

Michel de Montaigne

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


The auction to four spades sees North first make a negative double and then raise spades, to invite game. After West’s top club lead, South’s problem is how to tackle the black suits.

He must win the first trick in dummy with the club king, to prevent the defenders from being able to ruff out his side’s remaining club honor. After all, West is marked with long clubs, and East may well have a singleton. If South wins the first club in his hand and leads a spade, West will take the spade ace and lead the club jack through dummy’s king. East will then ruff away the club king, leaving declarer with two eventual losers.

After winning the first trick in dummy, South should next cross to his hand for the first play in spades. West is favorite from the auction to hold the spade ace. If the ace is singleton, South would like to lead a low spade from his own hand and see the ace fall on empty air.

But South must avoid the next trap, by coming to his hand with the heart ace (not the diamond ace, which would open up lines of communication for East-West) in order to lead a low trump. As hoped, West’s spade ace pops up. The defenders can lead another club, allowing East to ruff, but he gets to ruff a loser rather than a winner.

East can now try to cross to his partner’s hand with a diamond for another ruff. However, South can win the diamond ace, draw trump, and claim.

There seem to be a lot of points in this deck! Nonetheless you should show what you have by cuebidding two diamonds, promising a high card raise in spades. The fact that you are balanced should not discourage you from describing what you have, and letting partner in on the secret.


♠ Q 7 5
 K J 8 4
 J 8 4
♣ A 4 3
South West North East
Pass 1 1 ♠ 1 NT

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


GinnyJanuary 14th, 2017 at 12:03 am

Hi Bobby,

If you are sitting North and you hear West overcall 3C (rather than 2C), – what do you bid? You get to 4S (over the 3C bid) without the opponents bidding again, how does this change your plans if at all?

bobby wolffJanuary 14th, 2017 at 4:01 am

Hi Ginny,

If West overcalls 3 clubs, North should just raise to 3 spades and South, because of his 6th spade, should, I think, raise to game (although a conservative player may not).

Likely no change in the play, only to hope that West still only had 6 clubs, but possibly a more distributional hand. The three club bid would certainly feel like West did have either a void in spades or more likely the singleton ace.

Chris CurranJanuary 16th, 2017 at 3:02 pm

How do u overcome not being able to see the plan before u play the hand?