Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, June 8th, 2019

Nothing in progression can rest on its original plan.

Edmund Burke

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


Declarer might easily have relaxed in six no-trump here when West led the heart 10. There were 11 top tricks, with 13 tricks available on a 3-2 spade break, and 12 tricks even on a 4-1 break.

But declarer carefully won the first trick with the heart ace, then carefully cashed the club ace-king followed by the heart king. It was only then that he led a low spade to dummy’s queen. West’s discard turned a potential 13 tricks into 11.

South continued with a low diamond from the table and took the jack with the king, then ran the diamond 10 to East’s queen. East exited with the spade jack, taken by dummy’s ace. Now declarer cashed the diamond ace, pitching the heart queen from hand. He followed up with the heart jack and discarded the club queen from hand, bringing everyone down to three cards.

East was reduced to the spade 10-9 and the diamond nine, and when declarer called for dummy’s club jack, East had no winning discard. He threw the diamond nine, and now dummy’s eight was high.

If East had followed low to the first diamond, declarer would have put in the 10. Had this lost to West, then on any return, declarer would have cashed the heart, diamond and club winners, then played a spade to the ace to cash the diamond ace. This would execute a simple spade-diamond squeeze whenever East had started with four diamonds. It would also work fine when East had begun with at most three diamonds including the nine and at least one diamond honor.

This is one of the few auctions in which responder can produce a penalty double at his first turn to speak. You may not think you have any extra values, but that isn’t the point. Your partner didn’t consult you; while you might remove a double with a lot of extra shape and no defense, that isn’t what you have here, so pass.


♠ A Q 3
 J 6 5
 A 8 4 2
♣ J 5 2
South West North East
1 1 NT 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Iain ClimieJune 22nd, 2019 at 9:36 pm

Hi Bobby,

As it turns out, a triumph for the pairs oriented as the extra 10 pts in 6 or even 7 NT pay off with a 3-2 break although today even 6S is doomed. Can I ask your advice on a hand from last night?

Playing pairs, I opened a weak NT on 5432 AKQx Kxx Qx and partner bid 2 N with A108 Jxx xxx AKxx so 3NT. The opening lead was S6 (4th in principle) so would you prefer a) SA hoping for blockage and a fast D to the K b) As above but cash out and try D to the K after taking 8 tricks c) Duck spade then play A 10 to throw LHO in and hope for a D or d) Something else? d Would your answer be different at teams?



Patrick CheuJune 22nd, 2019 at 9:59 pm

Hi Bobby,At pairs,south K42 KQ96 KT73 KJ north J875 A2 J984 A93, bidding went(Acol) 1H-1S-1N(15-17)-3N passed out.West led a club from QT93 J8543 A 865 and East held A6 T7 Q652 QT742..-1.Could you please recommend a line of play after winning with the JC..normal play seems to fail here or am I missing something? Two pairs made 3N,one pair made 1N+2 and 2 others went -1 in 3N, plus other scores.Regards~Patrick.NB..I did try to end play West with a heart at the end thinking he has the Ace of no avail.

bobbywolffJune 23rd, 2019 at 1:18 am

Hi Patrick,

I’d probably win the club and lead the king of diamonds from hand. Decent defense will then defeat me, starting with a club continuation.

Very few legitimate plays are successful, but leading a low diamond from hand is a possibility, provided either East or West exposed his diamond holding, which instead of not to be considered is clearly the winning play.

Seriously though, if West leads a heart instead of a club there is more opportunity for a defensive mistake, which only can be brought about by North jumping to 3NT giving up the opportunity for a 4-4 spade fit in hopes of less information to those ugly opponents. I’m not suggesting that, but it is IMO very close.

So, just plead guilty, go set, but pay the lowest fine. It is possible to lead the king of spades from hand at trick two, hoping everyone, especially the one with the ace of spades, to duck, which will then likely allow you to score it up.

Clubs not being 4-4 would never be allowed, assuming I was running the game, but playing this hand.

Patrick CheuJune 23rd, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Hi Bobby,Many thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.Will keep trying to do better. Best Regards~Patrick.