Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 30th, 2017

There will be time to audit
The accounts later, there will be sunlight later,
And the equation will come out at last.

Louis MacNeice

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


After the overcall of two no-trump by West to show the minors, North’s three spade call suggested the shape and values for a simple spade raise. With a better hand North could double to show defense, or cuebid three clubs or three diamonds. One of those bids shows hearts and a good hand, one a limit raise in spades. That lets a direct three heart call be non-forcing.

Against four spades West led the heart two, to the nine and ace. Dummy’s diamond length was very bad news, but declarer did his best by drawing trump ending in dummy. He now needed to build the diamonds into an extra trick – but he was still in danger of running out of trumps.

So at trick five South led the club four. The idea was to keep East off lead if humanly possible, so declarer needed him to have only one club honor — or to make a mistake by failing to put up a high card from a holding such as Q10xx.

When East played low on the first club declarer inserted the nine. West won cheaply and returned a club to the ace. Declarer countered with the diamond queen, hoping to get lucky and find East with a significant singleton – the nine or jack. After winning his diamond king, West could see that a diamond return would be fatal. So he led back a club. Dummy ruffed, while declarer discarded the heart four from hand. Now South ran the diamond eight round to West’s jack, and claimed the rest.

Did you fall into the trap of raising spades or cuebidding in a search for slam? You shouldn’t, because this auction doesn’t really promise spade support – partner would follow this route with a doubleton. You should rebid three no-trump here, expecting your partner to pick whichever game he considers appropriate. In the context of what you have already shown, you are as balanced as you could be.


♠ K Q 10 8 2
 A 4
 A Q 10 3
♣ A 9
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 1 NT Pass
3 Pass 3 ♠ 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