Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Curtsy while you’re thinking what to say. It saves time.

Lewis Carroll

S North
Both ♠ K 6 2
 K 7 3
 A K 6
♣ A Q 3 2
West East
♠ J 4 3
 9 8 2
 J 2
♣ J 8 6 5 4
♠ A 7 5
 10 6 5
 10 9 8 7 4 3
♣ 7
♠ Q 10 9 8
 A Q J 4
 Q 5
♣ K 10 9
South West North East
1 NT Pass 2 ♣ Pass
2 Pass 3 ♣ Pass
3 ♠ Pass 6 NT All pass


Today’s deal comes from the 2017 Gold Coast tournament, held in Brisbane, Australia. It originally appeared with the headline “Neill before the president!”

Avi Kanetkar wrote up the deal from the finals of the pairs events, which was very nicely defended by the Australian Bridge Federation president, Bruce Neill. When South opened a strong (14-17) no-trump, North took his side to six no-trump, exploring for a minor-suit fit along the way.

When Kanetkar led the diamond jack against the slam, declarer had 11 tricks and needed to develop an additional trick from the black suits. South won in hand to lead a spade to the king, which Neill smoothly ducked. Now declarer cashed hearts (Kanetkar pitching a club) before playing the club queen and ace.

Had clubs split, declarer could have cashed four tricks in the minors. As it was, when Neill discarded and the 5-1 club break came to light, it seemed entirely logical to lead a spade to the 10. And that was down one.

Had East won the spade ace, then no matter what suit he returned, declarer would probably have cashed the spade queen and played either for clubs to behave or for the same hand to hold the spade jack and club length. It is worth noting that East does best to return a spade if he began with the ace-jack, trying to persuade declarer to commit himself either to spades or clubs, rather than allowing him to combine his chances.

Your cue-bid has set up a forcing auction as far as suit agreement. So you can bid two hearts now, knowing that partner must bid again. His raise to three hearts or a rebid of two no-trump would not be forcing, but you would bid on of course. For the record, facing a passed hand, you might need to do more if you wanted to force to game with an appropriate hand of your own.


♠ Q 10 9 8
 A Q J 4
 Q 5
♣ K 10 9
South West North East
  1 ♣ Dbl. 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact