Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 9th, 2017

It was déjà vu all over again.

Yogi Berra

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


Hands up everyone who thought they recognized this deal as being recycled from the previous month? Well done if you thought the hand looks familiar – but there is a material change between the two deals. The heart and club aces have switched locations, and this has a significant impact on how to play three no-trump when West leads the spade 10 against three no-trump. South must decide whether to win or duck, and which suit to attack first.

The question of whether to win or duck is often a complex one when you have two high cards to knock out. With two entries missing in the same suit, you generally do best to duck if you are not afraid of any shift, as here.

This line of play will see you home if spades are four-four, since the defenders take only two tricks in each black suit, or if spades are 6-2 — unless the hand with long spades has both top clubs. The point is that when East takes the first club he has no spade to lead, and if West wins the first club, he no longer has an entry to his suit.

But what if, as here, spades are 5-3 and the club honors split, with West not holding a singleton honor? You still have a decent chance to succeed so long as you duck trick one and win the second spade. Then you cross to a top heart in dummy to lead a low club towards your hand. If East flies up with the king to clear spades, he deserves to beat you!

Your partner is clearly relatively short in spades and probably doesn’t have six diamonds. Since a diamond lead might easily cost a trick, the choice is between a club and a heart. I’m going to go for the heart eight, but don’t ask me to feel happy about it.


♠ A 10 7 4 2
 8 7 2
 J 6
♣ 7 3 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 Dbl.
1 ♠ 2 ♣ Pass 2 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