Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.

Thomas Jefferson

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

*Two places to play


Gone are the days when South would buy the hand in two spades here. West’s shape outweighs his minimum values when it comes to protecting; if the opponents stop in two spades, he must balance and try to push them up or find a making part-score for his side. Similarly, North’s fourth trump persuades him take the push to three spades; then it is up to South to justify his partner’s confidence in him.

Declarer ducks the opening club lead, wins the next club in dummy with the ace and takes the trump ace and king, then ruffs a club to dummy and leads a heart to hand.

Since West has short spades, South assumes he must have a three-suited hand with no other shortage. Equally, though, he cannot have both missing top diamonds, or he would have doubled one spade.

South must hope East does not have the diamond queen. With no other information to go on, declarer might have led a diamond to the 10, but not today, since West surely cannot hold precisely a doubleton diamond queen. Instead, South leads the diamond jack from his hand. West must cover, or declarer will be out of the woods. Declarer puts up the king, and East takes his ace, then cashes his master trump and plays on hearts. South ruffs the third round and must now bring in all the remaining diamonds to make his game.

Since West has diamond length, it must be right now to lead a diamond to the eight, finessing against the nine. When the finesse succeeds, declarer is home.

With prime support and decent values, albeit no aces, you want to tell your partner about this as soon as possible so he can judge how to explore for slam. The best way would be to bid three spades immediately. In any auction where a simple call in spades would be natural and forcing, a jump is a splinter, showing short spades and heart support.


♠ J
 K 9 4
 Q 9 7 4 2
♣ Q J 10 6
South West North East
    2 ♣ 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact