Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, April 7th, 2017

He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.

Elbert Hubbard

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

*A maximum pass and heart support


The real issue in today’s slam is to avoid the loss of a trick in each minor. If the club finesse succeeds, you can discard one low club on the spade king, and another on the third round of diamonds. How might you succeed with the club finesse wrong?

Well, if you can sneak a diamond past whichever defender has the ace, you can discard your other diamond from hand on dummy’s spade king, and hold your losers to just one club. Equally, though, if you lead a low diamond and the player with the ace hops up with it, you will still succeed. You will now have two discards coming on the diamonds. Coupled with the discard on the spade king you will find you can get rid of all three club losers.

So which defender should be the intended victim of this maneuver – also referred to as a Morton’s fork? The lack of opposing bidding should provide a clue. The opponents never bid with 10 spades between them; assume West has the club king along with a decent five-card spade suit. With the diamond ace as well, West would surely have overcalled one spade.

So draw trump ending in dummy, and lead a low diamond towards the jack. If East plays low, you win with the jack, cross to dummy via the heart seven and throw a diamond on the spade king. If East grabs his ace and switches to a club, win the ace, cash the diamond jack, and pitch your clubs on dummy’s three winners.

While you do have the fourth suit well stopped, it feels right to support clubs first. Slam in clubs could easily be in the picture, and raising clubs now in no way limits the hand, since the jump shift sets up a game force. No-trump can always come later, but you can see the prospect of spade ruffs in your hand if partner declares clubs.


♠ K 3
 Q 7 3 2
 K Q 6 5
♣ J 9 7
South West North East
    1 ♣ Pass
1 Pass 2 ♠ 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