Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, June 9th, 2017

Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.

Gertrude Stein

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

*limit or better in hearts


When your partner shows a limit raise at his first turn to speak, then optimistically jumps to game rather than signing off in three hearts (over what is initially nothing more than a gametry of three clubs), you would be entitled to assume he will contribute just a little more than the uninspiring 10-count he puts down in dummy in your contract of six hearts. If it offends you to bid slam without using Blackwood, pretend you asked for aces or keycards before driving to six hearts.

At trick one you realize that with a sure diamond loser, the contract appears to hinge on the club finesse; assuming that it works, what can possibly go wrong?

If you work through the play in your mind before playing a card, perhaps you will spot the snag. Win the diamond ace, draw trump in three rounds, then lead the club queen, which holds, followed by a club to your hand. When this wins the trick with West showing out, you are stuck in hand with no way back to dummy to repeat the proven club finesse. And if you lose a club trick, down goes the contract.

Once you spot the problem, as Gertrude Stein would say, you have your answer. At trick two, take the club finesse by leading low from dummy to your hand. When it holds, draw trump in three rounds ending in dummy and lead the club queen from the board. Now whether East covers or not, the club suit runs for four tricks.

Although you have a great hand, you cannot really drive to game, since you need to find partner with a trick to be able to make game. If you jump to three hearts, partner should be able to work out that he needs little more than a king to bid on to game. Even a simple raise to two hearts here is a real game try, by the way.


♠ A K
 A Q 9 6 3
 9 3
♣ A J 10 9
South West North East
  1 Pass Pass
Dbl. Pass 1 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