Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 20th, 2017

Eschew the ordinary, disdain the commonplace. If you have a single-minded need for something, let it be the unusual, the esoteric, the bizarre, the unexpected.

Chuck Jones

S North
None ♠ 9 7
 A K 8 2
 A 10 8
♣ K 8 7 5
West East
♠ K Q 8 3
 J 6 3
 K Q 9 6 4
♣ J
♠ A 10 6 2
 7 5 4
 5 3
♣ Q 10 6 2
♠ J 5 4
 Q 10 9
 J 7 2
♣ A 9 4 3
South West North East
Pass 1 Pass 1 ♠
Pass 2 ♠ Dbl. Pass
3 ♣ All pass    


Today’s deal came from last fall’s Nail Life Master Open Pairs. At many tables, West opened one diamond, and his side got to two spades. If North had passed on his second turn, he would have conceded minus-110 and scored very poorly. When, as here, he doubled, he got his partner into the picture. His side now had the chance to play three clubs or defend against three spades, perhaps doubled. Either way, he should score well, since a spade contract takes no more than eight tricks.

But let’s look at how the play in three clubs should go on the lead of the diamond king. If declarer wins dummy’s ace and plays the club king, followed by a second club, East splits his honors. Declarer must win (or the defense takes the diamond ruff) and cash the hearts.

When North leads out the 13th heart, East discards a spade and declarer pitches a diamond. Now dummy must lead a diamond to the jack and king. The defense shifts to a low spade, letting East win his ace and cash the club queen, catching declarer in a very unusual bind. If declarer retains the club nine, then another trump locks him in dummy. But if he unblocks the club nine, two more rounds of spades promotes the club six to the setting trick. Isn’t that pretty?

Declarer can avoid the whole nasty mess by ducking at trick one. Once diamonds are established, declarer cannot be kept from cashing dummy’s diamonds after he pitches his own third diamond on the 13th heart.

Auctions of this sort tend to produce tricks for declarer on a cross-ruff. So I would lead a trump, expecting one time in 20 that I would have needed to cash out to beat the game, but that the rest of the time leading a trump would increase the penalty we are likely to collect.


♠ J 8 3
 Q 9 2
 A Q 7 6
♣ 8 4 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♠ Pass
2 ♠ Dbl. 4 ♠ 5 ♣
Pass Pass Dbl. 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