Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 10th, 2017

Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the beauteous land.

Julia Carney

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



When you sensibly upgrade your hand out of a weak two because of the vulnerability, you are driven inexorably to four spades. You have nine top tricks in aces and kings, which means that three no-trump would have been a more comfortable spot, by a considerable margin.

But this is no time for ruing what might have been. Where will your 10th trick come from? You might be able to obtain an extra winner from the hearts, or perhaps by endplaying the defenders and forcing a club lead. Is there another chance? There is, and the hidden extra chance comes from the diamond spots. You have just enough straw to turn into a single brick.

At trick one, declarer should cover the diamond jack with dummy’s king, losing to East’s ace. When East returns a trump, declarer should cash the spade ace, queen and king, then run dummy’s diamond nine, taking a ruffing finesse against the queen. If East ducks, declarer discards a heart from hand. If East covers, declarer ruffs and dummy’s diamond seven-six then force out a trick against West’s 10. The only time this line will fail is if West has found a diabolical opening lead away from the ace-jack-10 of diamonds – and if he has, he deserves to defeat you.

Note also that the defenders do best to shift to hearts at trick two, but so long as you pitch a heart when taking the first ruffing finesse, you will survive that too.

On this sort of auction you should expect dummy to put down an opening bid with a doubleton diamond, and maybe length in hearts and clubs, in other words a hand that was happy to defend both the other two suits, but prepared to compete to three diamonds if pushed. I’d lead the heart doubleton, hoping to get something going in the way of ruffs, for want of anything better to do.


♠ K 10 9 2
 10 4
 J 7 3
♣ 9 7 4 3
South West North East
Pass Pass Dbl. Pass
2 ♠ 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