Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Wit is the salt of conversation, not the food.

William Hazlitt

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


When South opened one club, West had a routine one-diamond overcall. At several tables, it was West who won the contract at two diamonds, against which North led a low trump and South won to shift to a low spade.

If West believes North’s failure to lead a club suggests he has the club ace, then he should rise with the spade king rather than letting the lead run to his jack in dummy. With the club ace and spade ace plus, apparently, the diamond king, North would have bid more, and South would not have an opening bid.

After the spade king wins, declarer can unblock hearts and lead a spade from hand. The defense will now have to be just a little careful even to hold declarer to eight tricks. However, if declarer doesn’t play the spade king at trick two, the defenders can beat two diamonds on the spade ruff.

But now let’s change direction: what if South ends up in three clubs on the auction shown? West cannot defeat three clubs on a diamond lead, but say he leads the heart king followed by the heart queen. The defenders should prevail by overtaking the heart queen and taking the ruff, then exiting passively in a minor. But let’s say East carelessly does not overtake the second heart; what does West do next at trick three?

A spade shift would let declarer guess spades for 10 tricks, while a diamond concedes 110; but a trump shift ties up declarer’s entries and still defeats the part-score.

You have enough to force to game here, but no clear direction to go in. The simplest way to force to game is to start with a cue-bid of three diamonds. If partner bids three hearts, you can bid three spades and let partner decide where to go from there.


♠ A 10 7 4
 J 8 3
♣ Q 10 5 4 3
South West North East
  2 Dbl. 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

1 Comment

prime student living sign inAugust 11th, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Strategies and materials will cause the student.