Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 6th, 2017

The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.

Johan von Goethe

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


In today’s deal, a straightforward strong no-trump auction leads you to three no-trump. North would need the diamond queen instead of the two to start contemplating higher contracts.

West leads the top of his heart sequence against the no-trump game, and it would be easy to relax and to fail to focus on what might go wrong. You will have plenty of tricks if diamonds behave and the suit breaks 3-2. Similarly, if West has diamond length, you should be able to negotiate the position easily enough. But what if East has long diamonds? You cannot do much about a 5-0 break, and some 4-1 breaks will prove too challenging. But if West has the bare queen, or if he has a singleton nine or 10, you can take steps to neutralize the defenders’ holdings.

Win the heart king at trick one to preserve dummy’s entries, then lead to the diamond ace and observe the fall of West’s nine. You can now guarantee your contract by leading a low diamond from dummy and covering East’s card. If East plays the 10 or queen, you can set up the suit easily. If he plays low, you put on the eight, knowing that if West wins the trick, the suit will break 3-2. And if West shows out, as here, you cash the king, go to the club ace and play a fourth diamond. You still have a heart entry to the board to cash the fifth diamond.

Of course, if West turns up with four diamonds, go up with the king and play a third diamond.

While it might be right to lead from one of your four-card suits (diamonds looks better than clubs since partner did not take the opportunity to double two clubs), my gut tells me desperate measures are called for — I should look for partner’s five-card major. Here, a respectable five-card heart suit might be enough, so I will lead a low heart and cross my fingers.


♠ K 5
 Q 9 2
 J 7 6 4
♣ J 9 7 4
South West North East
    Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 ♣ Pass 2
Pass 3 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