Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 6th, 2017

To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.

George Orwell

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


How will you play today’s spade game when West leads the heart king?

You win immediately, to avoid a potentially fatal diamond switch. You can count eight top tricks: five in trump plus three aces. One heart ruff in dummy would not help you all that much, because you would still need to set up the clubs. Your best chance is to hope for a 3-3 club break.

Play one round of trump, to the king, and then duck the first round of clubs to preserve communications, ensuring that you can use the club ace as an entry on the next round to ruff out the suit. East does best to win and press on with two more rounds of hearts. What now?

If you ruff the third round of hearts, you will go down. You hope to establish the clubs with one ruff, and will then need to draw trump ending in dummy. But you cannot do this if you have taken a ruff on the board. Instead, discard a diamond from dummy on the third round of hearts. Regain the lead, draw a second round of trump with the king, and you can then ruff out clubs and cross to the ace of trumps to discard two diamonds on the good clubs.

What if East switches to the diamond 10 after winning the first club? You would have to rise with the diamond ace to avoid the defenders reverting to hearts, to defeat you. Again, you can ruff out the clubs and draw trump ending in North, then run the clubs.

You correctly limited your hand with a non-forcing effort at your second turn. Partner then produced a slam-try and your mundane 12-count is suddenly almost worth a drive to slam. Start by cuebidding four hearts, and plan to bid on over four spades with a second cuebid of five clubs. If you trust partner, you know you have golden cards for him.


♠ A 5 4
 A 4
 7 5 3
♣ A 10 8 7 5
South West North East
1 ♣ 2 2 ♠ Pass
3 ♠ Pass 4 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