Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, March 25th, 2017

Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.

Book of Proverbs, Old Testament

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

*diamonds or the majors


Today’s hand, comes to me from Ed Freeman, and was originally played on BridgeBase.

West’s aggressive overcall might have led declarer to finding his way home in three no-trump. The two club overcall was part of a method called Suction, showing either long diamonds or both majors, at least 5-4 shape. North’s double was Stayman, the two diamond call suggested diamond tolerance, and the two heart bid showed the majors. Now North suggested a heart stopper, looking for a spade stopper from his partner, and South followed instructions and bid three no-trump.

The question posed was how to make three no-trump on a small spade lead to the ace. When East returned the spade nine, South covered, and West ducked. Now how was declarer to continue?

If declarer tries to cash out the diamonds, as he did at the table, he will be disappointed in the result. South can then take his club winners, but unless West does something foolish, declarer will take no more than eight tricks.

The best way to make the hand is to pitch a diamond from dummy at trick two, then exit with a spade at trick three. (Some small variations in the timing are possible). This is a classic suicide squeeze, in that if West cashes all his spades East succumbs to pressure in diamonds and clubs. If West shifts to a club or heart without cashing all the spades, declarer can simply set up the ninth trick in diamonds.

You have the controls and playing strength for a one-level opener. The problem with passing is that you rate not to be able to get both suits in. While you have to rebid your diamonds over a likely one spade response, I would far rather do that than open two diamonds or pass. Were your side-suit spades not hearts, this would be a far more comfortable opening bid, since you have an easier rebid.


♠ 10
 A K 10 2
 K 10 8 7 4 3
♣ 6 3
South West North East

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