Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.

Paul Hawken

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


In today’s deal as South when you hear your partner raise you to four hearts, you cannot be sure if partner has a real hand, in which case you might be cold for a grand slam, or nothing but some heart support, when you might find yourself struggling at the five level.

The secret here is not to take charge and tell your partner what he has, but to cuebid and consult your partner as to whether he might be interested in slam. Once you get a cuebid from your partner, you can try for the moon, but you will not get any further cooperation today. In fact, when dummy comes down in six hearts, the duplication of values and mirror image of the North-South hands makes even the small slam far less attractive than you might have imagined.

Fortunately, the bad breaks in both black suits gives you a blueprint to bringing home an unlikely 12th trick. You win the spade lead, draw trump in one round, and lead the diamond jack from hand in case you can tempt West to cover. When West plays low, you win the king and next take your best percentage chance of finessing in diamonds to pitch a club from dummy on the third diamond. Now play ace and another club, hoping it will be East who must win the trick.

Today you are in luck, since when East takes the second round of clubs he must return a minor suit and give you a ruff-sluff. That lets you pitch your spade loser from hand.

Your partner’s somewhat unexpected jump to four clubs sets hearts as trump, and suggests he is interested in slam with a club control — typically based on shortage. You can cuebid four diamonds in return (the fact that this is a second-round not first-round control is not critical). You will pass a reversion to four hearts next, of course.


♠ 10 5 2
 A J 8 7 6
 K 8
♣ J 6 3
South West North East
Pass 1 ♣ Dbl. Pass
2 Pass 4 ♣ 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