Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Alexander Pope

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


West’s heart sequence persuaded him to lead the 10 against the no-trump game, and on winning in dummy, declarer could count six top tricks. Two more would be available on a normal club split and another via the double diamond finesse. However, he saw he might need to knock out West’s late entry before the hearts were set up.

One option was to cross to the club king and run the diamond seven. Should that lose, declarer could duck the second heart, win the third and play a club to the eight, an avoidance play against West. But that would not work well if West had both club honors, or if he had a singleton.

Realizing that he could keep West off lead in diamonds if East had one of the honors, declarer started on the clubs, taking the percentage play of running dummy’s club 10. This line would lose to a singleton honor in West, but that seemed less likely than a small singleton or void. When the club 10 held, South led a club to the jack and king, West throwing a spade. With three club tricks in the bag, declarer switched to diamonds, leading the 10. Seeing West split his honors, declarer took the ace and continued with the diamond jack.

West could do no better than win the third diamond and play the heart king to pin the queen. To add insult to injury, South won and took his club and diamond winners, then threw West in with a heart to concede the last two tricks in spades.

Raise to two spades at once. You can’t go wrong by limiting your hand and simultaneously supporting your partner. Not only might you end up in the wrong part-score if you rebid two diamonds, but you might also miss a game if partner has a distributional hand with five spades and no support for your suits. You may also get too high if you don’t put the brakes on sooner rather than later.


♠ K 4 3
 K 10 9 6 3
 K Q 6 5
♣ 2
South West North East
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


Iain ClimieOctober 23rd, 2019 at 2:31 pm

HI Bobby,

A minor point but if West takes the 3rd D and plays the HK how can South take his C and D winners ending in hand to endplay West with a heart? It would be neat if he’d taken HA, D9 CA and then led a heart from the wrong hand but I think West might have notices.



bobbywolffOctober 23rd, 2019 at 3:44 pm

Hi Iain,

Methinks that in our haste to make EW feel as bad as possible, we took advantage of their heartbreak (or should I say king of hearts smother) to mysteriously think we had first cashed the dummy’s club ace and then endplayed him for the overtrick.

Ruthless, though clever declarers, never miss an opportunity to claim phony endings, especially when their opponent’s minds are feeling groggy by usually “lucky” combinations of declarer play.

“Hit em when they are down” sadly is the battle cry, but my rebuttal is only an amateurish attempt for a coverup.

Apologies to and thanks for, setting the record straight for all those conscientious and extremely perceptive readers (you, but likely, few) who followed the play close enough to spot our unintended but nevertheless, glaring flaw.