Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 3rd, 2017

The clever men at Oxford
Know all there is to be knowed.
But they none of them know half as much
As intelligent Mr. Toad.

Kenneth Grahame

S North
None ♠ Q 9 7
 K 7 5
 7 6 5 2
♣ Q 5 2
West East
♠ 10 6
 Q 9 4
 K 10 9 4
♣ J 10 9 6
♠ J 8 5 4 2
 J 10 6 3
 A J 3
♣ 8
♠ A K 3
 A 8 2
 Q 8
♣ A K 7 4 3
South West North East
2 NT Pass 3 NT All pass


Sometimes declarer needs to find a way to entice a defender to continue with the suit that has been initially led, rather than make a potentially damaging shift. Declarer found a neat solution to just that problem in today’s deal.

After North raised his partner’s two no-trump opening to three, West was aware that since North-South had not tried to locate a major suit fit, it might well be right to attack in a major rather than a minor. But West was unimpressed with the quality of his major suits, and had a natural sequence to attack from, so he chose the club jack for his opening salvo.

South immediately saw he would need four tricks from clubs to make his game. That would be easy to do, if the suit broke 3-2, but declarer thought that this was relatively unlikely to be so. After all, why would West be leading from a three-card suit, as he must have at least one four-carder available?

South realized that if he cleared the clubs, East would surely show where his values lay. Now West would be likely to find the diamond switch, after which South rated to lose at least four tricks in that suit.

So at trick one South dropped the seven under the jack. West, seeing his partner’s eight, and noting that neither the four nor the three had put in an appearance, took the eight as encouraging, and played a second club. Declarer wrapped up his contract, unsuccessfully trying to conceal a smirk as he did so.

Whenever you have the balance of high cards – say with the spade ace instead of the queen — it is natural to try to lead trumps to try to kill the cross-ruff. After all, can declarer really come to 11 tricks if not on a cross-ruff? That isn’t the case here, so I would lead a low diamond, rather than a heart, trying to set up or cash my winners before declarer can discard red-suit losers on spades.


♠ Q 8 4 3
 Q 9 3 2
 K J 6
♣ 7 2
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Dbl. 3 5 ♣
Dbl. 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