Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

To know That which before us lies in daily life Is the prime wisdom.

John Milton

S North
None ♠ K 8 6 4 3
 A J 6 3
 K 8
♣ 8 5
West East
♠ J 7
 Q 10 9 7 4
♣ Q 9 7 4 2
♠ Q 10 5 2
 K 8 5
 10 9 6 3
♣ 10 6
♠ A 9
 A Q J 7 4 2
♣ A K J 3
South West North East
1 Pass 1 ♠ Pass
3 ♣ Pass 3 Pass
4 * Pass 5 Pass
6 All pass    



You play six diamonds on a heart lead, and decide there are not enough entries to set up the spades. So it looks right to play on clubs.

One possibility is to take the club finesse, if necessary playing to ruff the fourth club. With the layout as in the diagram, you cannot succeed from that point on.

Another approach would be to cash the top clubs and ruff the third round low. You would be planning to ruff the fourth round of clubs high, if the queen did not fall.

The problem is that if you ruff the third club low, you risk seeing East overruff and returning a trump, when you can kiss the contract goodbye.

Can you do better? Yes you can. It looks wiser to ruff the third round of clubs with the king. You can then return to hand with a heart ruff and trump the fourth round of clubs with dummy’s remaining trump. Unless trumps break 5-0 or someone ruffs in with a singleton trump – not likely by any means – you essentially just need the first two rounds of clubs to stand up.

If you decide to follow that approach you cannot also guard against a 6-1 club break by taking one top club then crossing to dummy’s spade king to lead the second round of clubs from dummy. If you do, you might run into problems against a 5-1 spade break when the defender short in clubs has five spades. Now you would lose both an overruff on the fourth club and a spade ruff.

Here you have been passed for penalties with a trump stack over you. You may not have a much better place to go to, but surely either clubs or hearts rates to be just a little better? When the opponents double you at a low level they are generally right, and you should redouble, looking for a less expensive place to run to.


♠ J 7
 Q 10 9 7 4
♣ Q 9 7 4 2
South West North East
Pass 1 ♠ 2 Pass
Pass Dbl. Pass 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