Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, December 16th, 2017

You don’t have to be a mathematician to have a feel for numbers.

John Forbes Nash

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

*Three spades


Today’s deals comes from the Chicago Nationals nearly 20 years ago. You play four hearts on the lead of the diamond queen and a diamond continuation to the 10 and ace.

East continues with the diamond nine, which you guess to ruff with the 10, and to your relief, it holds. Now you draw three rounds of trumps ending in dummy, East showing the doubleton. You ruff out the diamond, cross to a top club and cash the 13th diamond.

In the four-card ending, dummy has the spade queen and ace-king-third of clubs; what four cards do you have in hand?

Before you decide the answer to that question, it is time to work out the full count on the hand. East has shown three spades by his support double, together with two hearts, and thus is 4-4 in the minors. You have missed your chance to make your game if you did not cross to dummy by leading the club nine or eight at the previous trick. So your last four cards should be a high and low club and the jack-10 of spades.

If you remembered to do so, you can unblock your second club spot from hand, under dummy’s second club winner, hoping that the club jack or club 10 falls on your left, as it does. You can be confident that East has already been squeezed down to the bare spade ace or king, and you can now endplay him with it to lead clubs into dummy’s tenace.

Some 8-counts are not worth a further move after partner completes the transfer to a major. This hand is an exception, since your intermediates (even in clubs!) are all worth something, and the spade and heart 10s represent almost a full point between them. In fact, this hand is closer to a drive to game than a pass of two hearts.


♠ J 10 4
 A K 10 5 2
 7 3
♣ 9 8 5
South West North East
  Pass 1 NT Pass
2 Pass 2 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