Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, December 9th, 2019

Nobody likes the messenger who brings bad news.


West North
Neither ♠ A 4
 A K 10 8 7 2
 Q J 8 4
♣ 4
West East
♠ 8
 Q J 9 3
 A K
♣ A Q J 8 5 3
♠ 10 9 5
 6 5 4
 5 3 2
♣ K 10 7 6
♠ K Q J 7 6 3 2
 10 9 7 6
♣ 9 2
South West North East
  1 ♣ 1 Pass
4 ♠ Dbl. All Pass  


This week’s themed deals are on the topic of suit-preference signals. There are standard situations where they should apply, the main ones being when giving partner a ruff or when you lead an honor against a suit contract and dummy has a singleton in the suit. However, there are many other scenarios where they come in handy, and today’s deal is one such example.

Imagine you find yourself in the hot seat as West. You are playing in the Mixed Board-a-Match Teams, where overtricks may be vital. You lead the diamond king, and in this context your partnership agreement (unlike this column’s) is that the ace is the normal lead from ace-king. So the king, if not from king-queen, suggests the ace-king doubleton — or that you are about to shift to a singleton.

You see a disturbingly good dummy. Partner contributes the two (odd number), and the diamond ace draws the three from partner. Do you trust partner and underlead your club holding for a possible diamond ruff? Susan Miller, playing with Bob Sartorius, did so, and her good play was rewarded when he won his king and gave her a diamond ruff for down one and a win on the board.

Partner’s lowest diamond at trick two should be suit preference, of course, but the additional reason Susan could underlead without worrying about the overtricks was that she had doubled four spades. Overtricks were then irrelevant, of course, so the underlead became much easier!

West’s key-card response shows a diamond void. You can see one trick for the defense, but a second seems unlikely — doesn’t it? Maybe you should attempt to force the dummy with a devious low diamond lead, planning to duck the first spade if declarer finesses against your king. If declarer repeats the trump finesse, you can then win and cash a diamond — and get your name in the papers!


♠ K 5
 9 7 3
 A J 6 5 2
♣ 9 8 5
South West North East
  1 Pass 1 ♠
Pass 2 ♣ Pass 2
Pass 3 ♠ Pass 4 NT
Pass 5 NT Pass 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