Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Nothing can stop you moving forward, unless you yourself surrender under pressure.

Anil Sinha

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


The North hand provides a problem over a one club opening bid. If you play inverted minor raises, then the hand is far too strong for a three-club bid, and a one no-trump call seems misdirected and an underbid. So maybe it is best simply to raise to two clubs, pretending you have a limit raise. South can jump to three no-trumps, to end the auction.

West will lead the spade four against three no-trump and now the spotlight switches to East. If East plays the ace followed by the queen, declarer will hold up the spade king until the third round of the suit. Then, after taking the losing club finesse, he can make 10 tricks painlessly.

Instead, East must play the spade queen smoothly at trick one. Declarer is really forced to take this with the king, since otherwise he runs the risk that West holds five spades to the ace-jack and the club finesse is working, or that spades are 4-4 with the club finesse losing. In either scenario, ducking the spade queen would look incredibly foolish. In practice, though, when the club finesse fails the defenders can run their four spade tricks today.

Note: the key to this play is that East can see that he has the critical entry in clubs, and that his partner will not be confused by the play to the first trick. If East were looking at a weaker hand without a side entry, he should win the spade ace and return the queen.

Your approach might vary depending on whether you are playing pairs or teams. At pairs you might go for the most passive option, the top of your doubleton heart. At teams I'd guess a spade lead might be the lead most likely to set the game. Of course leading from either four-card suit might work, but neither suit is attractive on this auction.


♠ K 5 3
 8 7
 Q 7 4 3
♣ J 9 5 4
South West North East
2 NT Pass 3 NT
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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


David WarheitFebruary 16th, 2015 at 9:06 am

Of course, the best thing for S is to wait for his partner to lead. Typo, typo!

bobby wolffFebruary 16th, 2015 at 11:20 am

The Eagle has landed!

And this in charge Eagle commander will demand and thus ordain, that he South, should lead, instead of North, simply because he is there.

It happens every day, making me believe it.

Typo? Not really. I just wanted to see if anyone was watching. Unfortunately my bluff was called and, of course, by one of the usual suspects.