Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

I’ll squeeze the cider out of your Adam’s apple.

Moe Howard

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


With an extremely unpleasant lead problem against six no-trump, West opted for his singleton club, which turned out to give nothing away. Put yourself in declarer’s shoes and consider how best to develop a 12th trick.

It looks natural to win the club and play two rounds of hearts. The 6-1 break comes as a shock, but declarer still has plenty of chances. He cashes a second club, then runs three rounds of spades and two clubs, and when West discards on the club and spade winners declarer knows his entire shape

Once the count of West’s hand is known, leading up to the diamond king is no better than a toss-up; but can you see how to improve on that?

Declarer must take care to cash the fourth spade (pitching a diamond from hand) then run the clubs, ending in hand, to come down to a three-card ending where he has the ace-10 of hearts and the bare diamond king in hand, and three diamonds in dummy. West must keep two hearts or else the hearts run, so can only keep one diamond.

Now declarer exits from hand with the diamond king, and if West began with either one or both of the diamond honors, the defenders cannot avoid conceding two of the last three tricks, thanks to dummy’s diamond nine.

This position is called a vise; it was first analyzed by Terence Reese nearly 60 years ago, and here it gives you something like a 75 percent chance of success.

Your partner could have raised no-trump, or cuebid the opponents’ suit, but the fact that he has gone past his first suit suggests some values or real shape. Given that your partner ought to have four spades and at least five diamonds, it looks obvious to raise spades, but you do not need to bid game. A simple raise to three spades should suffice.


♠ A Q J 8
 K Q
 J 9 2
♣ K Q 10 7
South West North East
      1 ♣
Dbl. Pass 1 Pass
1 NT 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