Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Necessity gives the law without itself acknowledging one.

Publilius Syrus

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


South is grateful to receive a diamond lead against four hearts since it prevents the defenders from having a chance to cash two spade winners. Even so, after a trump shift at trick two South can afford to lose only one trick in total from hearts and clubs.

South draws two rounds of trump with the king and queen, finds the bad break, and must now focus on handling clubs without loss. He takes the diamond queen discarding a spade, then cashes the club king and ace, but must not then lead out the club queen. If he does, West will ruff high, cash the spade ace and return a trump, leaving declarer with a club loser.

South gains nothing by leading the high club even if clubs are three-three. Better is to try to ruff the third round of clubs with dummy’s remaining trump. He would then plan to return to his hand by ruffing a diamond, would cash the ace of trumps, and lead good clubs until West takes his trump trick.

As it happens, West ruffs the third club high and does best to lead a low spade through dummy’s king.

Under ordinary circumstances, South would try to guess where the spade ace and queen were. But here if East can gain the lead with a spade, he will lead another club, and West will ruff in again, for the setting trick. East cannot be shut out if he has the spade ace, so South puts up dummy’s king – just in case – and scores an unexpected overtrick.

An unusual sequence no doubt, and one that can be played in two ways. My preference is to use this as simply a choice of slams, by a hand without a four-card major. Here your hand looks extremely suitable for play in diamonds, so I would bid six diamonds. If partner was interested only in clubs as opposed to no-trump, he can revert to six no-trump.


♠ K 7 3 2
 K Q 5
 K Q 6 5
♣ K 6
South West North East
1 NT Pass 5 NT 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact