Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, December 1st, 2017

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Mother Teresa

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


Today’s deal comes from a match on Vugraph 20 years ago. South’s simple overcall, followed by the double of two spades for take-out, suggested extras and suitability for play in clubs and hearts.

West did not have enough to compete to three spades, since he had already shown five or more spades with his initial response. He led his doubleton diamond, and declarer played low from dummy and took the ace in hand, then put the heart queen on the table. West thoughtfully followed with the heart nine, suit preference for spades as opposed to diamonds.

At this point, East went into a brown study, and as a commentator, I remarked that he could infer that declarer had the doubleton ace-queen of diamonds and three spades, since West had sold out to three hearts, thus a likely 3-5-2-3 shape. West’s suit-preference signal marked him with a top spade honor, but declarer had not tried for a spade ruff in dummy. Given all of this, East knows virtually the full deal; but how should he defend?

East won and played back a diamond, then got in again in trumps to cash two spades and play a third diamond. Declarer ruffed high, drew the last trump, and claimed.

Had East thought a little deeper, he might have worked out that he should duck the first trump; now declarer must lose either a third spade or a diamond ruff. A parallel defense (leading a low trump) also works if declarer plays on spades at once.

It isn’t clear where you are going to end up, but you have considerable extra values, so start by cue-bidding two diamonds to show a good hand. If your partner supports to two hearts, I think it is right to advance with two spades. You do not have enough to force to game yet, but you must invite one strongly.


♠ 6 5 2
 Q J 10 9 6
 A 6
♣ A K Q
South West North East
    Pass 1
1 Pass 1 ♠ 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