Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.

Lord Byron

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


In today’s deal from the Dyspeptics Club, when South jumped to three spades, North’s thoughts turned to reaching a grand slam. Eventually, the potential shortage of entries to dummy to bring in the diamonds persuaded North to settle for what he thought ought to be a safe enough small slam.

The bidding had brought South to a sensible spot, but, alas, declarer’s play let him down. When West led the heart seven against the small slam, declarer allowed East’s queen to win. With a likely 11 top tricks, it seemed that the best chance of a 12th was a third round heart ruff in dummy. So he won the heart return then cashed the spade ace — just in case — and continued with his last heart, ruffed with the nine, East over-ruffed, and down went the slam.

Untypically, North refrained from comment about the line chosen by his partner. Eventually, though, the light dawned on declarer. Can you see what he missed?

All South had to do was win the first heart, then draw trump. Next he can play the diamond jack and overtake in dummy. He can cash the second top diamond, discarding a heart from hand, then continue with the diamond 10.

If East covers, South ruffs, reenter dummy with the club ace, then discard all the heart and club losers on the established diamonds, to make 13 tricks. And if East doesn’t cover, South pitches his last heart. The club ace is an entry to the diamonds, for a club discard.

Continuations after a reverse are a matter for partnership agreement, not of right or wrong. Some play two no-trump by responder as the weakest action, some play the cheaper of fourth suit and two no-trump as showing weakness. In either case you would bid two no-trump now, planning to give preference to three diamonds. If you play a direct three diamond call as non-forcing, then bid it now.


♠ 10 5 4 2
 Q 9
 Q 8 7 5
♣ Q 5 2
South West North East
  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