Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.

Friedrich von Hayek

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



At the fall nationals last November in Orlando, Florida, this deal presented itself in the Compact Knockout Teams. Compact Knockouts involve 12-board matches to reduce 16 teams to one in a single day.

In six clubs, you receive the lead of a low diamond. Plan the play to hold your club losers to one.

Did you come up with counting the 4-1 club breaks, West holding the singleton, and decide running the club 10 was best? That is true, although it would not be so if the club four and club six were interchanged. But it looks better to win the diamond ace, cash the club ace, then cross to the heart ace and plan to run the club 10. At the table, the club ace draws the seven from West and the five from East. When you cross to the heart ace and play the club 10, East covers and West shows out.

Don’t panic, but cross to the heart king and ruff a heart, and the suit breaks 3-3. Now you cash the spade ace and spade king (the fall of the queen makes life easy, but you did not need this to happen). Next you lead a winning heart in the five-card ending.

It won’t help East to ruff high or low. You pitch your spade, whether it is a winner or loser, ruff a spade to hand, and can return to dummy with a diamond to the king. At that point, you can lead either a heart or a spade. Whether East ruffs high or low, you can score one more trick and bring home the slam.

How much do your bits and pieces add up to? Your trump cards are surely useful, so even though at least one of your side-suit honors will likely be facing shortness, I would bite the bullet and bid game here, and it feels right to raise spades. If you had the heart jack instead of the four, you might take a shot at three no-trump.


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