Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 10th, 2017

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.

R. Buckminster Fuller

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


In today’s deal, North forced South to respond to his take-out double, then jumped to game at once, hoping his partner did not have a complete bust. He was disappointed in that regard, but the game still had decent play.

West would have done best to cash two diamonds and exit passively in spades. Declarer would then have had to read the position very precisely to come home. But it was tempting for West to lead a third diamond, hoping to shorten declarer or dummy. When he did that, South ruffed in hand and immediately took the club finesse.

Once the finesse succeeded, declarer’s only problem was how to draw trumps safely.

It would have been fatal to draw trumps by leading the ace and king, followed by the jack. West would have won the third round, and at that point, South would be out of trumps. West would then have led another diamond to force out dummy’s last trump, and declarer would lose control of the hand.

But South smelled a rat from the earlier defense, and instead simply drew one round of trumps with the ace, then gave up a trump trick. If West had ducked, dummy would have cashed the heart king and run his winners in spades and clubs, leaving West with one trump trick.

But when West took the heart queen, and led a fourth diamond, South still had a trump to ruff the diamond in hand. He could then lead a club to dummy, draw the trumps and claim.

This is a quantitative sequence; you have shown a balanced 22-24 or so, thus you have maximum hand for the auction and must bid on, despite the uncomfortable feeling engendered by your diamond holding. There is something to be said for bidding five no-trump — pick a slam — to get partner to bid suits up the line. He might, after all, have four small in one major.


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