Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, February 27th, 2017

The great majority of those who speak of perfectibility as a dream, do so because they feel that it is one which would afford them no pleasure if it were realized.

John Stuart Mill

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


Do you like South’s response of three no-trump to the opening one club bid? I cannot say I’m too enthusiastic about it, myself. The point is that your heart holding suggests that partner might be better off as declarer. And when your RHO passes over one club, wouldn’t you want him on lead rather than LHO – who might have a better idea of what to lead against a final contract of three no-trump? I’d prefer to respond one diamond here and let partner get no-trump in at his own convenience.

After a spade lead by West, declarer finds himself distressingly short of straw from which to put together some bricks. He plays the spade jack from dummy, and the first blow comes when East covers with the queen. South cannot afford to duck, for fear of losing four heart tricks on the go.

If clubs break 3-3 declarer needs only three diamond tricks, but if not, he will need some help in the diamond suit, both from a friendly lie of the cards, and friendly opponents.

When South leads the diamond queen from his hand at trick two West must not cover with the king, for that would allow dummy to win the ace and for declarer then to successfully finesse the nine. If West ducks the diamond king, then although declarer can set up three diamond tricks, he cannot do so without losing a trick in the process. The defenders simply set up spades, and declarer has just eight tricks when clubs do not behave.

You could argue that a trump lead might be necessary to cut down a cross-ruff, but partner may be in a position to over-ruff dummy, and leading a trump might sacrifice our natural trick. (I wouldn’t feel that way with a doubleton heart 10, I think.) So with a choice of minors I would go aggressive and try to set up or cash diamond tricks before they go on dummy’s clubs.


♠ Q 10 8 7
 J 2
 K 7 3 2
♣ J 5 4
South West North East
    Pass 1 ♠
Pass 1 NT Pass 2
Pass 3 All 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