Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 2nd, 2019

Truth sits upon the lips of dying men.

Matthew Arnold

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

*Asking for the trump queen


In today’s deal, West’s weak jump overcall only served to help declarer place the cards. Having found out his side had all the keycards, North asked for the trump queen. South knew his partner was interested in a grand slam, so with the queen and a source of tricks, South needed no further encouragement to go for the big prize.

West, unwilling to risk a pointed-suit attack, led a safe trump, ducked in dummy. When East showed out, South could count only 11 tricks. One line might have been to ruff clubs in dummy. However, the combination of West’s overcall plus his known trump length marked him with a minimum of 10 red cards, and therefore no more than three in the black suits.

Still, the corollary to West having these red-suit cards meant that East had an equivalent number of black-suit cards, which might render him ripe for a squeeze. South saw that he could generate one extra trick from a dummy reversal. He won the trump lead with the ace, cashed the heart queen and led a spade to the ace (West following suit, to declarer’s relief), then trumped a spade with the jack. A diamond to the ace was followed by another spade, this time ruffed with the 10. Declarer next led his last trump, the seven, and overtook it with the eight.

The heart king pulled West’s last trump, and East was squeezed. That player could not retain four clubs and two spades. Rather than watch East squirm, South showed him his hand, and East conceded defeat.

I would lead the diamond two. My best shot appears to be to give partner a diamond ruff when I get in with the heart ace. It is unlikely that a club trick will stand up, but if it does, we can probably try it later on. Note that a spade lead is unlikely to do much good. If partner has the spade king over dummy’s ace, he will probably score it sooner or later.


♠ 7 2
 A 5
 10 8 6 2
♣ K 8 7 4 2
South West North East
Pass 1 2 ♣ 2
5 ♣ 6 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


A.V.Ramana RaoSeptember 16th, 2019 at 2:22 pm

Hi Dear Mr. Wolff
Perhaps west could have put declarer to test by leading a spade initially. Now , unless South ruffs a spade at second trick , he goes down as he lacks entries to ruff a second spade and draw Trump for the dummy reversal combining squeeze on east ( the tendency of most players would be to lead a trump to A/ Q in hand at second trick which would spell doom )

jim2September 16th, 2019 at 3:07 pm

You may have forgotten TOCM ™ but rest assured that TOCM ™ has not forgotten you.

A.V.Ramana RaoSeptember 16th, 2019 at 3:15 pm

Hi Jim 2
I do remember TOCM and also Schrodinger’s cat

bobbywolffSeptember 16th, 2019 at 3:25 pm


No doubt you are correct when you say that players, certainly including novices, but also excellent players, right through to the world’s best might do as you suggest.

However, one on the up elevator in bridge expertise, while moving rapidly up in quality, often begins to deal with par hands similar to today’s example.

Result is his or her realization of the satisfaction in doing so, regardless of its necessity. Like so many factors in attempting to live a progressive and happy life, particularly so when involved with one’s vocation ranging to loving one’s hobby.

At least to my knowledge, never have I heard of anyone ever feeling badly over achieving perfection, especially when having to work hard to accomplish it

Thanks for your reminder.

bobbywolffSeptember 16th, 2019 at 3:33 pm

Hi Jim2,

You make some very jealous that they do not also suffer from TOCM, since anyone knowing your plight, would ever blame you for ever making an error and then losing an unnecessary trick.

And instead if you did (admittedly by me and others to be very unlikely), but if so, no one would ever think to investigate.

And, well, MEOW!