Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 1st, 2019

Do not all charms fly At the mere touch of cold philosophy?

John Keats

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


When West leads the spade three against three no-trump, South counts seven sure winners from spades, hearts and clubs. So the target is to set up two additional tricks. South can develop at least one trick from the diamonds. If the ace is favorably located, South will be able to take both of his diamond tricks. A further possibility is a finesse in hearts or finding the clubs breaking. The key is in which order to try for those tricks.

After ducking the first spade then taking the spade ace in dummy, declarer immediately leads a low diamond from the dummy in the hope of developing two diamond tricks. South puts up the diamond king, planning, if it wins, to cross back to a top club and play another diamond toward his remaining honor. As it happens, West captures declarer’s king, meaning South can win only one diamond trick without losing the lead.

West now clears spades, leaving South to look for a new way to develop his ninth trick. He turns his attention to clubs, cashing the ace and king. If they break, all will be well. But when West discards a heart on the second club, it is clear that declarer will have to go elsewhere for honey.

Declarer can do little but lead a low heart from dummy to his ace and then play a low heart toward dummy’s king-jack, finessing against West, hoping that player has the queen. Third time’s a charm! When the heart finesse succeeds, declarer cashes out and surrenders the balance.

Clearly, you are going to lead a heart, but should it be low or high? The fourth-highest heart is surely best. Imagine that partner has any doubleton heart from the nine or higher, and declarer has four hearts. You will see that leading the low card should help unblock the suit and avoid wasting a high card. With the heart eight instead of the seven, I might feel differently.


♠ K 7 3
 J 10 7 5 2
 7 4
♣ A 10 4
South West North East
      1 ♣
Pass 1 ♠ Pass 2 NT
All 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