Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

And speech impelled us
To…urge the mind to aftersight and foresight.

T. S. Eliot

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


Today’s deal comes from Frank Stewart’s latest book, Keys to Winning Bridge. The proceeds of Frank’s book will be going towards local charities and I can wholeheartedly recommend it both for that reason, and also for its bridge content. Stewart’s deal features a relatively simple point of declarer play; see what you think. Against four hearts West leads the diamond jack. You might as well put up the queen – you never know. Plan the play when the queen is covered by the king.

The contract seems to be reasonably safe unless the spade ace is over the king. But if West has the spade ace (which he does), South needs to find West with the club king. If that should be the case, declarer can come to 10 tricks by way of four club tricks, five trumps and the diamond ace.

So far so good; however while the club finesse is necessary, you need to ensure that you cover all the bases. South may well need three entries to his hand for club finesses, hence he should not draw trump.

Best play is to lead a club to the 10 at trick two, and now you should take only the trump king and ace. Then, rather than draw the last trump, South repeats the finesse in clubs, comes back to the heart queen and takes a third finesse in clubs. He discards a spade loser on the master club, and will be able to play on spades for the overtrick.

Details of the book can be found at:

While I could imagine opening this hand with a preempt in third seat non-vulnerable, I would never act in first seat (and feel even more strongly about a second in hand preempt). The combination of a weak six-carder and a strong four-card major makes bidding an antipercentage action. Move the spade queen into the diamonds, and now you can discount the weak four-card major and act, if you want.


♠ Q J 9 7
 K 9 8 5 3 2
♣ 4 2
South West North East

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