Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, June 10th, 2017

Government and co-operation are in all things the laws of life; anarchy and competition the laws of death.

John Ruskin

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


When this deal came up North thought he was too good for a simple rebid of two spades. So he jumped to three spades, and South retaliated by leaping to slam, after a couple of cuebids. He received the apparently friendly lead of the club ace, East playing the club two to indicate an odd number.

At the table, South ruffed, led a trump to dummy and found the bad news. He took a losing diamond finesse, and won the club king, pitching a heart, to play the diamond ace and ruff a diamond. That passed off peacefully enough, but when he tried to cash hearts. East ruffed the third, and declarer was doomed.

If South places seven clubs on his left from the play to the first trick, he might decide to protect against the 5-0 spade break, by the somewhat unnatural play of discarding a diamond from his hand at trick one, in an attempt to retain control.

The defense does best to shift to a heart, and South wins the queen and crosses to the spade ace. When West discards, declarer leads a spade to the 10, crosses to a heart, and leads a spade to the nine. After drawing trump, he has 12 tricks.

The two keys to the deal are to count the 12 tricks in the form of one diamond, one club and five tricks in each major – so there is no need to ruff at trick one. The second key play is to lead a trump to the ace (not a high trump from hand) at trick two, to preserve the finesses in trumps against East.

You do not have to drive to three no-trump singlehandedly; take a slower route by doubling two clubs, a call that is primarily for take-out. Over partner’s response you can bid three no-trump if necessary. As usual, though, it is better to follow a flexible route and to ask partner what he has rather than telling him.


♠ A 3 2
 A K J 9 7
 8 4
♣ K 7 6
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 2 ♣ Pass 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