Aces on Bridge


; A K 7

k K Q J 2

l 10 4

' 6 5 3 2


; Q J 8 4 ; 6 2

k 8 7 3 k 10 9 6 4

l J 7 3 2 l 9 6 5

' J 9 ' Q 10 8 7


; 10 9 5 3

k A 5

l A K Q 8

' A K 4

Vulnerable: Neither

Dealer: East

The bidding:

South West North East


2 NT Pass 3 ' Pass

3 ; Pass 6 NT All pass

Opening Lead: Heart seven

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before me, The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

-- Walt Whitman

You declare six no-trump as South on a passive heart lead and count 11 top tricks. How might you conjure a 12th (without looking at the opponents' cards)?

The extra trick could come from either black suit. Playing the space ace, king and seven would establish an extra trick if the suit split 3-3 or an honor came down in two rounds. However, you would go down at once if someone had queen-jack-fourth.

Another possibility is to win with the heart ace, cash a top spade and a top club, and then lead toward dummy's spades if an honor appeared (or duck if it did not). However, you would then be discarding before West on the run of the hearts, losing some of your squeeze chances. It is better to keep the spade seven as a menace on the table and duck an early round of clubs to keep control.

Win the opening lead with the heart ace, and give up a club. Win the heart return (say) in dummy. Cash the diamond ace next, in case of a singleton jack, and then take the club ace-king. If that suit does not break, take the top spades followed by your heart winners, discarding spades from hand.

On this line, you will squeeze either defender if they guard both minors, or if they have four diamonds and the sole spade guard. Keeping the spade seven in dummy means the squeeze is automatic, not positional, since you can let your spades go from hand.

On this layout, West feels the pinch in the pointed suits and must concede the slam when dummy's fourth heart is led.


South holds:

; Q J 8 4

k 8 7 3

l J 7 3 2

' J 9

South West North East

1 k Pass


ANSWER: I would not begrudge a pass with this soft rubbish, but most would respond. If you do, please bid one no-trump, not one spade. You intend to follow up with two hearts to slow partner down. If you respond one spade, you might find yourself playing two spades on a 4-3 fit, or three spades with only half the deck.

If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, email him at

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