Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 14th, 2019

Credulity is the man’s weakness but the child’s strength.

Charles Lamb

N North
None ♠ Q J 9 6 3
 A J 10 2
 9 6 2
♣ A
West East
♠ A 10 7 5
 8 7
 A K 4
♣ 10 7 5 2
♠ K 8 2
 9 6 5 3
 10 8
♣ J 8 6 4
♠ 4
 K Q 4
 Q J 7 5 3
♣ K Q 9 3
South West North East
    1 ♠ Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
2 NT Pass 3 NT All pass


West led the fourth highest of the unbid suit, clubs, against three no-trump, letting East encourage under dummy’s ace. Declarer immediately began work on the diamonds, leading low from dummy toward his honors. If East had followed with the eight, declarer surely would have succeeded. The winning line of crossing back to dummy in hearts and leading the diamond nine would have unblocked the suit and seen declarer come home.

However, East threw a wrench into the works when he inserted the 10 at his first turn. Given his failure to support his partner, South was all but certain to hold five diamonds, so the play was unlikely to cause harm.

West took South’s queen and continued clubs to the jack and king, dummy throwing a spade. Declarer continued diamonds from his hand, and when West played the four, he called for dummy’s six! He was trying to pick up West’s ace-king-eightlow. As it was, though, East scored his diamond eight, and down went the game.

You can hardly blame declarer here. He could have played the diamond nine on the grounds that he wasn’t down in top tricks if East showed out, but his chance of coming home would have been so small that his actual play was completely logical.

It is interesting to note that East can afford this play of the diamond 10 from honor-10-eight as well. It may feel as if you are sacrificing something of value, but there is almost no scenario where the play will cost you.

Speak now or forever hold your peace. If you pass, you may find yourself on lead against one no-trump. Partner may or may not have spade values, but he could certainly have a good hand, especially given the limited values many players open and respond with these days. I would make a take-out double and be glad that I have a way to get my shape across.


♠ 4
 K Q 4
 Q J 7 5 3
♣ K Q 9 3
South West North East
  1 ♠ Pass 1 NT

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