Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Scenery is fine – but human nature is finer.

John Keats

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


In three no-trump South finesses diamonds at the first trick, losing to the king. When the diamond seven comes back to dummy’s ace, West follows with the eight, perhaps suggesting he began with four or five diamonds.

South unblocks spades and takes the heart finesse. Dummy’s heart jack holds, and South promptly runs the rest of the spades. Declarer needs West to hold one of the two club honors, and he should assume that West will either pitch a diamond winner, his heart guard, or bare his club honor on the last spade.

When West discards a club on the fifth round of spades, the question is if West has the bare heart king left, or if he has come down to one club, two hearts, and the last two diamonds. Since you are missing six clubs and seven hearts, West is more likely to have started with three hearts and two clubs, not the other way round.

It therefore looks best to lead a low club from dummy toward your jack. You hope West will win the trick with his remaining club honor and cash his two diamonds. Then, however, West must lead away from his heart king, allowing declarerto make the last two tricks for his contract.

West could have avoided this end-play by discarding the heart 10 instead of the club eight. But at this point you would probably infer that he had bared the heart king. You would cash the heart ace, dropping his king, with the heart queen now good for the ninth trick.

Double by you would be responsive, and your partner would expect both majors. It is simplest to bid two hearts now. While your partner might have three hearts and five clubs, playing the known fit at the two-level is the most practical action; you should play the percentages and not worry about looking for perfection.


♠ A J
 J 5 4 2
 Q 7 4
♣ 6 5 3 2
South West North East
Pass 1 Dbl. 2

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