Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, May 29th, 2017

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.

Henry David Thoreau

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


As South, you have a very powerful hand but not one suitable for a two club opening. It is better to take it carefully, by bidding your suits in economical order. When North makes the simple raise to two hearts you might just jump to game — but since you need so little to make slam, why not try a delicate two spade call?

This is a long suit game-try, which means it asks North to value his hand on the basis that his partner has honor-third or honor-fourth in spades. North has a decent hand (four trumps and respectable high cards plus a nice spade holding facing length) enough to jump to game. Now South should be prepared to take a shot at slam in the knowledge that his partner rates to be reasonably suitable for his purposes.

When West leads the diamond jack, the simple line for South of winning, then laying down the heart ace, would turn out very badly today. Still, you can afford to be more careful in a slam can’t you?

Trick one goes to the queen, king and ace of diamonds. You cash the club ace, then cross to table with a spade and throw the losing diamond away on the club king.

Now the only danger is 3-0 trumps. Agreed? You can protect yourself against anything if you lead a low trump from dummy and simply cover East’s card. Check it out if you do not believe me. When you put the heart nine on East’s eight you will simultaneously make your day and spoil his!

The question of when to lead an unsupported ace in a bid and supported suit is a thorny one. I’m generally against it, unless it is clear declarer rates to have discards coming on a long suit. Here that doesn’t seem to be the case, so I would lead a top club.


♠ A 6 3
 6 5 3
 10 5 4
♣ J 10 9 5
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♠ Dbl.
2 ♠ Dbl. Pass 3
All 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