Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Oh I get by with a little help from my friends.

Lennon and McCartney

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


The Cavendish Teams threw up this problem for me, 20 years or so ago. I was South, partnered by my old friend Seymon Deutsch. Seymon may have done rather too much here, but he did at least leave me in a playable spot and provide me with a good story.

In three no-trump I received a club lead to dummy’s six and East’s eight. I won this in hand to advance the spade jack, which I was pleased to see covered by West. I won dummy’s ace, and returned a spade to the 10 and West’s king. The defense exited passively in spades.

It wasn’t clear what to do next, but I tried a club to the 10 and East’s jack, and East now shifted to hearts, letting me take West’s 10 with dummy’s king (yes it would have been better to win the ace and exit in hearts). This let me take the club ace, and now a fourth club compelled both defenders to pitch diamonds. Next I crossed to my hand on the last round of spades.

At this point West was able to come down to two hearts and the doubleton diamond king; but what could East do? If he also reduced to two hearts and two diamonds I would exit with a heart and would score two diamonds tricks in the end-game, one way or another. So East correctly bared his diamond jack. But that let me lead the diamond queen out of my hand to pin his jack, and collect the two diamond tricks I needed to make my contract.

This sequence shows game-forcing values and clubs, typically with four hearts. Your controls are so excellent I would bypass three no-trump and raise to four clubs, treating this hand as a maximum because of the aces. Let partner make the running from here on in.


♠ A 8 5 4
 K 4 3
 A 9
♣ A 10 7 6
South West North East
1 NT Pass 2 ♣ Pass
2 ♠ Pass 3 ♣ 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