Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding.

Ambrose Bierce

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


Most truisms possess a kernel of truth, but one would be unwise to put too much trust in them. That is certainly the case with the advice: “Eight ever, nine never.”

With eight cards between the two hands when you are missing the queen, it might usually be right to take the finesse; but not always. Similarly, with nine cards, you will, in abstract, play for the queen to drop. But circumstances alter cases — another cliché — as in today’s deal.

After North had made an intelligent raise of spades at his second turn, West led three rounds of diamonds against four spades. South ruffed away the queen, cashed the spade ace, then led a spade to the king, East showing out. Declarer now took his slight extra chance in hearts by cashing the ace to protect against the queen being singleton offside, but then could do no better than finesse the heart jack for down one.

That was admittedly slightly unlucky; however, South had missed out on a chance to break the rules. After ruffing the third round of diamonds, cashing the spade ace was fine. But declarer should next lead a heart to dummy, followed by both top clubs, ending in hand. Only now should South play a second round of trump.

If West plays low, declarer should insert the 10. If this loses to the doubleton queen in East, that player will be forced to lead a heart into dummy’s tenace, or give a ruff-sluff with a club. That would be trumped in dummy while South’s losing heart could be discarded.

Jumps by a passed hand facing an overcall should be played as fit. Your partner can’t have only spades, or he would have overcalled or bid one spade at his second turn. I’d expect a hand with good spades and heart support. This hand has enough extras to jump straight to four hearts now to protect the club king.


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