Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, May 6th, 2017

We were revisionists; what we revised was ourselves.

Margaret Atwood

S North
Both ♠ J 8 4
 A 10 9 6 4 3
♣ 9 5 4
West East
♠ Q 9 5 2
 K J 10 5 4 2
♣ K Q
♠ 3
 A Q 8
 8 7 5
♣ J 10 8 7 3
♠ A K 10 7 6
 9 7 6
 K Q J
♣ A 6
South West North East
1 ♠ 2 2 ♠ 3
4 ♠ All pass    


How should you play four spades when West leads the diamond two? It looks natural to win the diamond lead and draw one round of trumps with the ace, but if you do the game can no longer be made!

If you continue with the trump king, the 4-1 trump break will doom you. If instead you play a heart after cashing one round of trump, East will win and deliver a diamond ruff. The club king switch will then set up a fourth trick for the defenders, to go with West’s trump queen.

Since the contract will be easy if trumps break 3-2, you should assume a 4-1 trump break and lead a low trump to trick two. If West wins with the queen and crosses to partner’s hand with a heart to receive a diamond ruff, you will be able to draw trump when you regain the lead.

If West ducks the first round of trumps, you win the jack and return the favor by ducking the next round of spades. West has to win but can do nothing to harm you. Whether he plays a club, or two rounds of hearts to force dummy to ruff, you will be able to draw trump and run the diamonds.

It is important to remember that when you can afford to lose a trump trick, lose it at a moment when the defenders can do you no damage. Here it would be dangerous to lose a late trump trick, because dummy would then be out of trumps to protect you in hearts.

You have a great hand – but you showed every bit of it at your second turn. Your partner’s raise is mere courtesy; he could have bid game, jumped, or made a cuebid, so you shouldn’t expect more than one cover card. With the spade queen and the heart ace, for example, he would have done more. So pass two spades.


♠ A K 10 7 6
 9 7 6
 K Q J
♣ A 6
South West North East
    Pass 1 ♣
Dbl. Pass 1 Pass
1 ♠ Pass 2 ♠ 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