Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 11th, 2018

Who is the happy warrior! …
Who, with a natural instinct to discern
What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn.

William Wordsworth

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


In today’s deal, you are faced with the once-in-a-lifetime problem of how to deal with a balanced 29-count. Opposite the wrong hand, even four no-trump might struggle, but you can hardly do less than advance to that level. North has extras beyond the Yarborough he has promised so far, so he drives to slam. The balanced natures of the two hands and lack of entries to the dummy pose a real problem if spades do not break. After the lead of the diamond jack to your king, how should you move forward?

The best move, after taking the appropriate time to get a proper read on the table action before winning the first trick, is to advance the club queen next. If this is taken, you have 12 tricks. So let’s suppose it holds; unless you are playing against seasoned campaigners, you should be able to form an impression as to who has ducked the king.

If, as is the case today, you get no perceptible reaction from East, you may decide that West has the king. Either way, you cash the hearts and watch the discards. West will probably pitch a club and a diamond, so now you cash the diamond king.

Finally, you play the three top spades from your hand, overtaking the third with the ace. If the suit breaks, you have 12 tricks; if it doesn’t, you have reduced to a three-card ending in which your best bet must be to try to throw West in with a spade to lead away from his club king.

Your partner’s double is take-out, more about high cards than extra shape, perhaps because he can always bid hearts or clubs naturally at his second turn. Your hand looks more like a rebid of one no-trump than a two-diamond call, though both bids are acceptable. With this hand, I’d say seven tricks in no-trump may be easier than eight in diamonds.


♠ A 8 6 5
 8 4 2
 7 6 4
♣ J 8 2
South West North East
Pass 1 ♣ 1 Dbl.
Pass 1 ♠ 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

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