Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, April 24th, 2017

There’s a good time coming boys, A good time coming.

Charles Mackay

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


In today’s deal a complex auction sees you flirting with a grand slam before settling for 12 tricks. You win the lead of the heart queen and test trumps; bad news!

It may seem you cannot now avoid losing both a trump and a diamond. But an alternative perspective may help: you actually have seven winners in the side suits. If you can manage to single in all five of your trumps in hand, that will add up to 12.

Start by cashing your three top trumps, then take your second heart winner, followed by the two top clubs. Next you play the king and ace of diamonds (of course if East can ruff any of these winners you will go down like a stone, but luck is with you so far). The time has come to start scoring your low trumps. So you ruff a club low, then cross your fingers and return to dummy with the diamond queen. When East follows suit, you are home.

The last two cards in your hand are the spade six and a heart loser. When you lead the fourth club from dummy, East can either ruff with his master trump, letting you discard your heart loser and score your trump at trick 13, or discard at trick 12 and let you ruff the club with your last trump. Contract made!

For this line to succeed, you need East to hold at least three diamonds, two hearts and two clubs, and to be unable to discard from a three-card diamond suit on the third club.

When you are dealt a sequence on lead, do you go for it or lead partner’s suit? Put me down in favor of a club, though I admit it is close. Since partner’s opening suit may be relatively short (or weak) I feel I should go with what is in front of me. Partnership discipline comes second.


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