Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, March 11th, 2017

A passage broad, smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell.

John Milton

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


In today’s deal South showed a strong hand plus a long minor when he jumped to three no-trump at his second turn. Playing Kokish relays, had he held a minimum balanced hand he would have rebid two no-trump. In this method, all other balanced game-forcing balanced hands start with an artificial two heart rebid at the second turn.

South had coped with the action perfectly but he relaxed prematurely after the club 10 lead traveled round to his king. He exited with the club queen, and West won and rather desperately shifted to a low spade to his partner’s ace for a spade back. West captured the queen with the king and now ingeniously exited with the diamond 10. Declarer could have run the diamonds but he saw this would squeeze dummy. Instead, he stripped off the diamonds and took his best shot in the hearts when he led up to the queen in dummy. East won this with the king, and returned a heart. Declarer put in the 10, losing to the jack, and that was down one.

The winning line for South is to cash three diamonds at once, then lead the club king. The defenders can take their club and spade winners as before, but West must then lead a heart for declarer. When South plays low from dummy, then even if East can put in the jack declarer can win and run all but one diamond to come down to two black winners in dummy and the bare heart queen. Then he exits in hearts, and take two of the last three tricks.

Is your hand worth a slam try? I say it is, and in order to make that try you have two choices. The first is to bid four hearts, an artificial call (it cannot be natural since you did not transfer into hearts) setting spades and showing slam interest. The second route is to jump to five diamonds, showing short diamonds and spade fit. I prefer the second choice.


♠ K 10 9 4
 J 8 3
♣ A 10 9 8 3
South West North East
    2 NT Pass
3 ♣ Pass 3 ♠ 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