Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 31st, 2017

There lives more faith in honest doubt
Believe me, than in half the creeds.

Lord Tennyson

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


When West opened one heart, South and West passed, leaving South to reopen with two spades, an intermediate jump. Even if you play pre-emptive jump overcalls in most positions, this is one where it is clearly advantageous to play intermediate jumps — 12-16 points and a good six card suit. With less, one can bid one spade, with more you can start by doubling, then bid your suit.

The two spade call let North jump to game, and put West on lead with no really attractive option. When West opted for a passive diamond, declarer won in dummy with the king and took the spade finesse. West won his king and decided to go all out to set the game; he shifted to a low heart, and the defenders cashed out for down one.

That was astutely defended, but South should have worked out two things. One, East had to have a top heart (or West would have led one), and therefore West had ALL the other key cards — so the spade finesse was a broken reed.

Declarer should have cashed the spade ace at trick two. If the spade king had not dropped, South could have taken the club finesse at once to get rid of a heart loser. If the spade king dropped, declarer might take the club finesse at pairs, but at teams he might settle for trying to ruff out the club king in West, making 11 tricks if it fell in three rounds, and making 10 if it did not.

My last choice would be a diamond – the likelihood that I’m giving declarer a trick we won’t get back is too high. I can see a case for any of the other three suits; a heart is the most aggressive, but most likely to cost a trick, so I’d settle for the club sequence narrowly in front of the spade lead (the seven for choice).


♠ 7 5 2
 Q 8 4
 A Q 9 2
♣ 10 9 4
South West North East
      1 NT
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