Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 27th, 2017

Though mean
Our object and inglorious, yet the end
Was not ignoble.

William Wordsworth

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


When East overcalled three clubs over North’s artificial and forcing call, South opted to get his spades in at once. North was never going to stop short of slam now, and perhaps unwisely raised South to six spades rather than playing the more straightforward contract of six diamonds.

Against the slam West led the club king, and declarer had plenty of winners, but the losing clubs presented a significant problem. He gave himself a sporting chance when he ruffed the opening lead in dummy, coming back to hand with the diamond king to ruff another club. Then he cashed the trump ace and discarded his last club on the diamond ace.

However, he still needed to come back to hand to draw trump. When East followed to a third round of diamonds, declarer ruffed high while West carefully pitched his remaining club. This meant that when the spade queen went round to East’s king, a third round of clubs promoted the setting trick for West’s spade nine. Can you see how declarer might have done better?

After ruffing the opening lead with the spade five, lead the spade six from dummy. If a defender wins this with the king, you can ruff the next club with the spade ace. If your spade queen holds, take the spade ace, then the diamond ace, crashing your king and cash a second diamond to throw one club away. Next lead a third diamond, pitching your last club.

This line fails only to an unlucky lie of the cards in more than one suit.

Even with the knowledge that your RHO holds a spade stopper or two, it seems cowardly to pass here. I’m torn between bidding two spades and three clubs. I go for the two spade bid, on the basis that partner can revert to clubs with five spades and two clubs – he knows that you have only two spades and at least six clubs, doesn’t he?


♠ K 2
 6 4 2
♣ A 8 6 5 4 3 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♠ 1 NT
2 ♣ 2 Pass 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