Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor.

William Shakespeare

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


Facing a strong no-trump, North has just enough to raise to three no-trump; against which West leads the diamond queen.

South should win in dummy, hoping to pin a bare nine or 10 of diamonds in East. He cannot afford to duck, since clubs, not diamonds, are the danger suit. Where does he go for tricks? His best chance is to lead the heart jack, and the moment of truth has arrived for East. If he covers the first heart, declarer will make three heart tricks and his contract.

East must play low, allowing his partner to win with the king, thereby keeping the queen-eight over the 10. That way declarer is limited to two heart tricks, since when declarer leads the 10, East can cover, hoping his partner has the nine. It must be right to cover the second time – if declarer has the nine, East’s queen is dead meat. This way declarer is limited to two heart tricks, and when diamonds do not yield declarer’s extra trick, he has only eight winners.

The general rule is that in second seat one should cover the second, not the first, of touching honors. There are exceptions when you have a doubleton honor, but the rule applies often enough that one should stick with it, and not question it too deeply. This is true whether we are looking at a combination of J-10 or Q-J for declarer or dummy.

Of course as third hand you play third hand high – but that is another story.

When faced with the choice of leading in unbid suits from a sequence or a broken suit, I won’t say that it is no contest, but you need a good reason to eschew the sequence. I can’t think of one here, so I’d go with the club jack. If my LHO had opened one club rather than one diamond I’d guess to lead a diamond, I suppose.


♠ A 5
 J 9 6 5
 Q 8 4 3
♣ J 10 8
South West North East
  1 Pass 1 ♠
Pass 2 ♠ Pass 4 ♠
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