Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 11th, 2017

You learn so much from taking chances, whether they work out or not. Either way, you can grow from the experience and become stronger and smarter.

John Legend

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


In today’s deal, you have two chances to bring home your game. One of them is obvious and easy to quantify; the other is less easy to spot. See if you can take full advantage of your opportunities.

Against three no-trump, West leads the heart 10, and you take the first trick in hand. Your first and best chance is in diamonds. You cash the diamond ace and king, hoping the queen will drop, in which case life will be very straightforward. But there is no good news today, as West discards a heart. Can you see how you might find a second chance to bring home the game?

Your only realistic chance is to find spades 3-3 with the king onside. But beware! If you cross to the club ace and finesse in spades, then play two further rounds of that suit, East might see he should win and shift to clubs; the defense would then prevail.

So the first play in spades must be low from hand. East’s best play is to win and shift to the club jack. You duck in hand and take the trick with dummy’s ace. Then you lead a spade to the queen, cash the spade ace and run spades. Eventually, you exit with the heart king.

At this point, the defenders have four top tricks, but when West wins his heart ace, he can do no better than exit in hearts and force you to concede the last two tricks twice over. Before that happens, you will have nine tricks in the bank.

If you learn only one thing today, remember that in almost all auctions where a hand that has already passed balances with a double, a response of two no-trump, as here, is not natural. This call asks partner to bid his better minor. The logic is that if you had a one-suiter, you would bid it; if you had a spade stack, you would defend two spades doubled. So this is a cry for help: “Get me out of here, please!”


♠ K J 9
 5 2
 Q 10 8 6
♣ J 10 9 3
South West North East
Pass 1 ♠ Pass 2 ♠
Pass Pass Dbl. 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