Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, March 20th, 2017

I do not mind lying, but I hate inaccuracy.

Samuel Butler

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


Today’s deal sees you as South invite game at your second turn with a call of two no-trump, assuming the spades will take care of themselves. That gets you to three no-trump on a top heart lead. Plan the play.

I’m sure you saw the necessity to win trick one with the heart ace, to avoid the spade shift. Now it looks logical to go after diamonds.

There is a safety play in diamonds to ensure you do not lose a trick to jack-fourth of diamonds in either hand. By starting with a high honor from hand you can finesse against which ever opponent has the length. Well spotted: but is it the right play today? No indeed, because of the potential blockage in the suit. If you lead the ace then low to the king and try to run the diamond nine or 10, East should work out to cover, leaving you in the wrong hand to cash the fifth diamond.

Given the auction, East cannot have a void in diamonds and short hearts; would he not have acted over one club with such a hand? So you should ignore the safety play; instead, lead a low diamond to the king. When the 4-0 break comes to light you can advance the diamond 10 and finesse against East’s diamond jack. Nothing can stop you taking five diamond tricks for your contract.

Incidentally, if both opponents had followed to the diamond king, would you have remembered to unblock the diamond 10 and nine under the diamond ace and queen?

Dummy will have a strong no-trump or so, preferring hearts to spades, declarer both majors, probably with longer spades than hearts. This may be my last chance to lead through a tenace in dummy so I’m going to lead the club queen. Without the club nine it is a much harder decision.


♠ J 9 3
 10 5 2
 7 4 2
♣ Q J 9 2
South West North East
    1 Pass
Pass Dbl. Pass 1 ♠
Pass 1 NT Pass 2
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