Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 13th, 2018

There exists in the world a single path along which no one can go except you: Whither does it lead? Do not ask; go along it.

Friedrich Nietzsche

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



In today’s deal, South elects to open one spade rather than one no-trump, after which the auction escalates rapidly, and South has to decide whether to save over four hearts. It would certainly be a smart move, since on a spade lead, four hearts looks relatively comfortable.

On the other hand, four spades on a club lead would prove impossible, but West has a natural top heart lead. Declarer must lose a trick to the two outstanding aces, and he needs to ruff hearts in dummy while trying to avoid losing two club tricks.

South wins the first trick with the heart ace, of course, and needs to ruff a heart at once rather than playing on diamonds. (If he plays the diamond queen at trick two, the defenders can win the diamond ace. Then, after the best defense of a trump switch from East, followed by a second diamond, declarer can no longer arrange to ruff two hearts in dummy without running into a trump promotion of the spade 10.)

At trick three, South leads a diamond to his queen and plays back a second diamond — this time, ruffing a heart would disrupt his own entries. East wins his ace to shift to the club queen, and South must make his third critical play: He must duck, then win the next, ruff his last heart loser, then discard the club loser on dummy’s diamond winner.

Only now is it safe for declarer to lead a trump. West takes the trump ace, but can no longer cross to his partner and promote a trump trick.

Your partner appears to be short in hearts, so your cards, such as they are, must be working. Your partner surely has four spades and at least four diamonds, so I would not be surprised if your side has good play for three diamonds, even in a 4-4 fit. Therefore, I would bid three diamonds now.


♠ 6
 10 6 4 3
 A 10 8 2
♣ Q J 9 5
South West North East
    1 Dbl.
1 1 NT Pass Pass
2 2 Pass 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


bobbywolffJuly 28th, 2018 at 1:37 pm

Hi Everyone,

It is easy to understand why not much is asked and virtually little to be learned in today’s hand except for the winning melody of play which meets success.

Playing good bridge is often like professional dancing and/or synchronized swimming in its precision. Sometimes in a beautiful, though complex auction, which sorts out and delivers an eminently correct final contract, or, such as in this case, the declarer play.

Not much needs to be said, only to appreciate and sing the virtues of our usually beautiful, but quite frequently, very challenging game.

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