Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action.

Martin Luther King Jr.

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

*Three-card spade support


When West led the diamond queen against six spades, declarer paused to form a plan, even though his play to the first trick was nearly automatic. He could count to 11 tricks if trumps divided, so he needed a 12th.

One possibility was to try to set up a long diamond in dummy, but that would almost certainly require both trumps and diamonds to behave. Declarer decided that a better shot was to ruff a heart high in dummy and finesse the trump nine after having done so. (This line does offer a better chance of making the contract than trying to set up diamonds.)

So at trick two, declarer led a low trump; but when West discarded a heart, declarer had to reconsider his options. Winning the trick with dummy’s trump queen, declarer then played a heart to the ace and cashed three rounds of clubs. After discarding a heart on the diamond ace, declarer ruffed a diamond low, then exited with a heart. West won the trick with the heart eight and exited with a low heart. As planned, declarer ruffed this with dummy’s trump king.

In the three-card ending, declarer had the trump ace-jacknine remaining, and any lead from dummy would ensure he could score all of the remaining tricks. Declarer made five trumps, the heart ace, a heart ruff, two diamonds and three clubs, for a total of 12 tricks.

It was critical here to cash the clubs and take the diamond ruff before East could discard from the minors on the hearts.

It is hard to know what constitutes a life mission, but as far as I am concerned, if I can prevent players from overcalling two diamonds with these cards, I’ll have accomplished something. Doubling one heart is fine, or bidding one diamond over one club on a different day. But two-level overcalls promise good suits and normally six cards.


♠ K Q 5
 6 5
 A 8 6 3 2
♣ K 8 7
South West North East

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