Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Be always sure you are right — then go ahead.

Davy Crockett

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


All this week’s deals come from the Cavendish Invitation Tournament, an event that was played annually first in Las Vegas, then in Henderson, Nevada over a 15-year stretch at the start of this century.

In today’s deal Kit Woolsey came up with a variation on a theme to produce an elegant sure trick line in his contract of three no-trump. As South, you are favored with a heart lead, dummy’s jack holding the trick. What now?

You do not know the location of the heart queen, so finessing in clubs could lose to the queen, after which the defenders might lead a spade to an honor in East. Thereafter, a heart switch might leave you with four major-suit losers. Accordingly Woolsey crossed to the club ace at trick two and led the heart king from his hand, knowing that this would lose to the ace on his left.

If West now set up one more major-suit winner for him by playing on either major, declarer would now be able to overtake the diamond queen with the king and finesse in clubs. He would only take two diamond tricks, but would have five clubs, plus two tricks from the majors.

So West won his heart ace and found the best defense of shifting to diamonds; but Woolsey could simply win the ace in hand and drive out the heart queen. Then he would again have had the option, if necessary, of overtaking the diamond king as his entry to dummy for the club finesse and his ninth trick.

You are relatively unlikely to make game, and your own assets suggest the opponents won’t make more than partscore. But if you pass, will your partner struggle in one spade when another spot would have been easier? Or will the opponents make something when you could have stolen the contract by bidding? I guess I’d pass, for fear bidding takes our side way overboard in spades.


♠ 9
 J 10 9 8
 K 8 3
♣ J 8 7 6 5
South West North East
    1 ♠ 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