Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 27th, 2017

Chances in future are just like sunlight, open the windows to see them.

Ali Zayeri

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


In today’s deal, North bids spades, then raises his partner’s jump rebid of two no-trump to game. The opening lead of the club six goes to the eight, three and declarer’s four.

East’s card to the first trick is likely count, so South deduces he must take nine tricks without giving up the lead, or the defenders will cash out the clubs. A successful finesse in hearts will suffice, but if West has the heart king, it will not move to East’s hand later on in the deal. So South can afford to try every other chance that does not involve giving up the lead first.

To begin with, South cashes the top diamonds. The fall of the queen sets up dummy’s jack; good news, but still not quite enough, since South still has only eight top winners if the heart finesse is offside. South needs one additional trick.

So South cashes the top spades, taking care to end up in hand. If spades fail to break, South will be in position to lead the heart queen from his hand for a finesse.

However, when the spades break, South no longer needs to take the finesse. He leads the heart queen from his hand — just in case — then when West plays low, he takes North’s ace and cashes the good spade for his ninth trick

Incidentally, this line is sound in both teams and rubber bridge. But at pairs, the simple heart finesse is probably better, to avoid setting up unnecessary additional winners for the defenders if the cards do not cooperate.

This feels like a lead-directing double to me. Your partner isn’t doubling on high cards alone; he almost certainly has a spade stack. Since you have no reason to doubt his judgment, lead the spade queen and try and set up his tricks for him.


♠ Q 2
 J 8 7 4 3
 J 8
♣ 10 6 5 2
South West North East
Pass 1 ♠ Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 NT 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