Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

We do earnestly repent, and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable.

Prayer Book

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


The Gold Coast tournament in Brisbane Australia sees a steady stream of repeat visitors from all around the world. One such pair are Andrew and Bill Hirst of the UK, with Andrew at the helm here.

West gave declarer a chance in his ambitious contract of three spades by leading the diamond ace and another diamond… should East have discouraged the lead at trick one – and what should West shift to if she does?

After two rounds of diamonds, East was end-played. She exited with a low heart round to dummy’s jack. Declarer cashed the spade ace and king; now see the effect of playing a third spade.

East is back on lead and can’t exit with a heart, be it a high or low one. If he does, declarer plays hearts for no losers then leads out the club ace and another club and doesn’t even have to guess the suit. When East wins, she will have to concede the rest.

A ruff and discard is not much better in this ending. But after winning the spade queen East does a little better to lead a club. If she leads the club king, declarer can win and pass the club nine round to East to endplay her again. If instead she leads the club 10, it lets declarer win dummy’s queen. He leads another club and must duck when the king appears, to endplay East for a third time!

In practice, declarer missed the point of the deal, and failed to bring the contract home. This turned a near top into a well below average result.

Your expected final contract here must be four hearts, but don’t jump to game. You might miss a slam or mislead partner about your hand type if the opponents sacrifice. I would jump to two no-trump as a limit raise or better, typically with four trump. This has the benefit of keeping the opponents from making a cheap leaddirecting call – which they might do if you redouble initially.


♠ A K 3 2
 Q J 6
 10 9
♣ Q 8 7 5
South West North East
  Pass 1 Dbl.

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