Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, February 25th, 2011

Dealer: West

Vul: East-West


A Q 10 9

10 8

A 5 4 3

6 4 3


5 4

A Q J 7 5

Q 9 2

A 10 5


3 2

9 4 3 2

J 10 7 6

J 9 7


K J 8 7 6

K 6

K 8

K Q 8 2


South West North East
1 Pass 3 *
3 Pass 4 All Pass

* Pre-emptive.
Opening Lead: Five

“I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

— W.B. Yeats

If you had played this spade game without any opposition bidding, you would doubtless lead a club to the king early on and hope for a favorable outcome in hearts or clubs. You might even survive both aces being offside if the clubs were 3-3 and you could keep East off lead — but not today. 

However, the auction was very revealing, and there is an unusual avoidance play to allow you to try to develop the club suit to best effect. You win the trump lead in dummy, advance the club three, and cover East’s card. 

Suppose East plays the seven. South plays the eight and West wins the 10. West exits with a second trump, and declarer wins to play three rounds of diamonds, ruffing in hand. Then he crosses to a trump in dummy and ruffs dummy’s fourth diamond, if necessary, to eliminate the suit altogether while using up all of his trumps from hand in the process. 

This may seem dangerous, but it is actually perfectly safe. At this point, South leads the club king from his hand, and West is down to clubs and hearts. If he has two clubs, he can duck, but will be endplayed on the next club. 

If West has the bare club ace left, he will be forced to let South score his heart king. 

As long as West has no more than three clubs, he will be forced to surrender an extra club trick or his second heart trick sooner or later.


South Holds:

A Q 10 9
10 8
A 5 4 3
6 4 3


South West North East
1 2
Dbl. Pass 3 Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
ANSWER: Your partner has suggested three spades and extra values. However unlikely it might sound, the opponents appear to be lying low with 10 hearts between them. Since it is easy to imagine a minor-suit game having three top losers, I would raise to four spades, opting to play the 4-3 fit because of my strong trump spots.


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact