Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, March 13th, 2017

It has long been an axiom of mine that little things are infinitely important.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

W North
Both ♠ K 3
 9 2
 A 8 7 2
♣ Q J 9 5 4
West East
♠ J 10 2
 K 10 9
♣ A K 10 6 3 2
♠ 9 8 7 4
 A J 10 4
 Q J 5
♣ 8 7
♠ A Q 6 5
 K Q 8 7 6 5
 6 4 3
♣ —
South West North East
  1 ♣ Pass 1
2 Pass 4 Dbl.
All pass      


Since the spring nationals are taking place this week in Kansas City, I shall be writing up some of the best hands from last year’s tournament in Reno.

In today’s deal, from the second qualifying session of the Kay Platinum Pairs, David Grainger demonstrated some neat declarer-play skills. He could overcall two hearts to show six hearts and a decent hand, after which North took a slightly pushy call to drive to game (a simple raise or cuebid raise might have been enough).

The defenders would have prevailed had they led and continued trumps, but West can hardly be criticized for kicking off with a top club. Grainger ruffed this, and read the clubs as being 6-2.

He decided that his best chance would be to find East with four cards in each major. So he ruffed the club, crossed to the spade king, then ruffed a second club and played the spade ace, spade queen and ruffed his fourth spade, over-ruffing West’s heart three with the nine.

Now Grainger ruffed a third club as East discarded a diamond (ruffing in with the jack or 10 would have let declarer pitch a diamond and take a trump finesse later). He next led a diamond to the ace and advanced a fourth club, to ensure he could take two more trump tricks, whatever East did.

That meant declarer could score four tricks in spades, the diamond ace, and five trumps in hand to come to 10 tricks.

The form of scoring and vulnerability might affect your answer here. At pairs or teams one tends to make the obvious lead, from length of five cards or better, or from a four card suit headed by an attractive sequence. At pairs the objective is not to blow a trick from a vulnerable four card suit. Here I would lead a diamond not a heart – and my second choice would be the spade nine.


♠ 9 8 4
 K 8 6 4
 J 10 6 3
♣ 8 7
South West North East
      1 NT
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