Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

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

For man is man and master of his fate.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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


In today’s deal East was a relative novice, but one who had already indicated that he had a decent nose for the game. Against four hearts West had no reason to find the killing club lead. Instead he led the diamond two, and declarer played low from dummy. When East won his king, there followed a long pause. Eventually South asked East if he knew whose lead it was, but East was not to be goaded into coming to a premature decision. Eventually the club ace hit the deck, somewhat to West’s surprise. However, as the play advanced he realized that his partner had found the only defense to beat the contract.

To South’s credit, when he found that he had an inescapable loser in each major, he congratulated his RHO and asked how he had found the killing defense. As East explained, South was marked from the auction with at least 10 cards in the majors. That left room for just three minor suit cards.

When West led the diamond two, this could in theory have been from three or four cards to one honor but not to a holding including both the queen and jack. If the lead was from a three-card suit, then South would have been void in clubs, but could not have a diamond loser. Therefore even if the club ace was ruffed away, it could not matter.

However if South held a singleton club with either the doubleton diamond jack or queen, then declarer’s club loser could be disposed of on dummy’s diamond winner.

While there are hands where your side can make game, or find it to be dependent on a finesse or break, this is distinctly against the odds. If I had the heart queen or jack in addition I would feel differently, but I’d need distinctly better hearts or spades to make a try for game. So I would pass now.


♠ A Q 9 8 6
 K 10 8 7 5
 Q 9
♣ 4
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 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