Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 5th, 2019

The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks.

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


In today’s deal, North’s cuebid of three diamonds promised a high-card raise to at least three hearts, after which South’s extra high cards persuaded him to jump to four hearts despite his absence of aces. When West led the ace and another club, South had no choice but to win and start on the trump suit. But as he feared, East won and led another club for West to ruff with his 10 in front of dummy. Declarer guessed to pitch a diamond from dummy, and West — judging that a spade lead would now be fatal — exited with the diamond king.

Although this gave away a trick, West could now let go of all his diamonds on the run of the trump, and the defenders still had to come to a spade at the end for their fourth winner.

Would it have worked better for declarer to part with one of dummy’s spades? If he had, West would have been able to exit with a spade, coming to a diamond at the end. So is there any way to make the game? Yes, indeed!

Unlikely as it may seem, declarer must underruff West’s trump 10. West can do no better than exit with the diamond king, but declarer wins the ace and plays off the rest of his trumps, squeezing West in spades and diamonds. Dummy’s diamond six is still in place as a threat against West, and in the ending, West has to unguard his spade king on the last trump. That allows South to pitch dummy’s diamond and take three tricks in spades.

The one-spade bid by your partner doesn’t guarantee a great hand, but it is best played as forcing for one round by an unpassed hand. That being so, despite your lack of aces, you should show a good hand by cuebidding two clubs (an artificial call showing extra values). You plan to rebid two spades (or two no-trump over a call of two diamonds) at your next turn.


♠ J 6 3
 K Q J 8 2
 Q 8
♣ K Q J
South West North East
      1 ♣
1 Pass 1 ♠ 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