Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

I do not know which makes a man more conservative – to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past.

John Maynard Keynes

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


When South opens one heart, West does his best to disrupt his opponents by pre-empting to the three level. It now looks natural for East to sacrifice in four spades over four hearts, but had he passed, might it have ended the auction?

As it is, South seems to have enough to compete over four spades to the five level, and maybe even to look for slam. The five club call lets North show some suitability and a diamond control, with a return cuebid of five diamonds, and that should be just enough for South to bite the bullet and bid slam.

In six hearts, after a top spade lead, all you simply need to avoid losing a club, and must leave playing the suit as long as possible. Win the spade lead, draw trump by cashing the ace and leading the eight to the king, then play a diamond toward your queen. When East ducks, you win your queen and duck a diamond. East wins and returns a spade. You ruff high, lead the heart seven to the jack, and ruff a diamond high, as West follows suit again.

At this point you should count out West’s hand. He apparently started with seven spades, three or more diamonds, and two hearts, so he does not have room for more than one club.

So the winning play is clear: lead a club to the king, then follow up with a club to the nine. Next cross back to dummy with your trump three to the four, to lead a club to the jack.

Whatever your agreement in a non-competitive auction about how to continue after your partner reverses, showing real extras with both minors, competitive auctions present a different problem. A reversion to three clubs or three diamonds should not be forcing now. It is better to start with a cuebid of two spades, to set up a forcing sequence.


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