Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.

Oscar Wilde

E North
None ♠ K 7 6
 K Q 8 7 2
 A Q 9
♣ A 7
West East
♠ Q 10 9 4 3
 6 5 4
 10 8 6 5
♣ 2
♠ 8 5
 7 3 2
♣ K Q J 8 6 5
♠ A J 2
 A J 9 3
 K J 4
♣ 10 9 3
South West North East
      3 ♣
Dbl. Pass 4 ♣ Pass
4 Pass 5 ♣ Pass
5 Pass 6 All pass


East puts South under immediate pressure when he opens three clubs. If the North and West hands were switched, a double from South would put his side into minus 500 or 800 territory. As it is, though, once South stretches to double three clubs, North will be interested in a grand slam, especially when the heart fit comes to light. Today, though, six hearts is quite high enough.

When West leads the club two at the first trick against six hearts, South will assume that clubs strongly rate to be 7-1. His thoughts should turn at once to the chance of an endplay on one defender or the other. Which possibility do you think is the most convincing?

Declarer does not have to commit himself immediately; the play in the black suits can wait. He begins by drawing trump, then cashes his three diamond winners. When East turns up with one trump and three or more diamonds, to go with his seven clubs, he cannot hold more than two spades. Is that bad news for the spade finesse? Yes and no.

Curiously, if the spade finesse is working, there is no need to take it. Play the spade king then ace, and if the queen has not put in an appearance, exit with the spade jack to put West on play. When he wins the trick, he must surrender a ruff and discard on either a spade or a diamond return, and your club loser goes away.

Incidentally, you might even follow the same line if East turned up with two diamonds and three spades.

Is this hand worth an invitation to slam? I could be persuaded that it was worth a quantitative four no-trump call, but only because of the decent intermediates. The heart 10 would be enough to reassure me completely, but take away the club 10-9 and I would go low and settle for three no-trump. Even as it is, three no-trump might be enough facing any but the strongest of declarers.


♠ A J 2
 A J 9 3
 J 9 4
♣ 10 9 3
South West North East
  Pass 2 NT Pass
3 ♣ 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