Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

A leopard does not change his spots, or change his feeling that spots are rather a credit.

Ivy Compton-Burnett


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

*Game-forcing inquiry

J

When West led the heart jack against three no-trump, declarer saw that the most likely way to generate the two extra tricks he needed was by developing long tricks in spades.

If spades were 3-3, any play would develop two extra tricks. However, declarer saw that playing the ace, king and another spade might not utilize his spots to best effect. So, after winning the first trick with the heart ace, he led a low spade from the table. East followed with the two, and declarer played the nine from hand. When that held the trick, declarer cashed the spade ace, then crossed to dummy with a low club to the ace.

Next, he played the king and another spade, throwing clubs from hand. Upon winning the fourth round of spades with the queen, East shifted to the diamond nine. When declarer covered this with the 10, West won it with the jack. Since cashing the diamond ace was likely to give declarer an overtrick, West exited with a heart. At this point, declarer claimed nine tricks: four spades, three hearts and two clubs.

Declarer’s play in spades was best because it picked up four tricks against all 3-3 breaks, queen-jack doubleton with West, East holding four spades with the queen and jack, and the jack or queen doubleton with East.

This offers almost a two-thirds chance of making four tricks in spades — quite an improvement over the odds offered by just banging out the ace, king and another spade, which comes in at just over a one-third chance.



This hand is too good to pass; it does not have to be right to act, but in fourth seat with opening values and short diamonds, it looks normal to bid. But are you going to re-open with a three-spade bid or with a takeout double? Doubling may find a 5-3 heart fit or lose a 5-3 spade fit; it may also get you more easily to three no-trump or three diamonds doubled. But put me down for a reluctant three-spade bid.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 10 5 4 3
 A Q 6
 4 2
♣ A 8 7
South West North East
  3 Pass Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

It takes little talent to see what is clearly under one’s nose, a good deal of it to know in which direction to point that organ.

W.H. Auden


S North
None ♠ K 8 4
 J 10 9 6
 A Q J
♣ J 6 3
West East
♠ J 6 5
 A 7 4
 7 4 2
♣ 10 9 7 5
♠ A Q 10 2
 8 5 3
 10 6 5
♣ 8 4 2
South
♠ 9 7 3
 K Q 2
 K 9 8 3
♣ A K Q
South West North East
1 NT Pass 3 NT All pass
       

♣10

In today’s deal, North looks with favor on his balanced hand and decides not to give away information to the opponents by using Stayman, so he blasts three no-trump at his first turn — a perfectly reasonable strategy that puts West under pressure at trick one.

The question of what lead is best against a blind auction to three no-trump is one that could occupy a whole column. Scratch four bridge players, and you might find five opinions. I could imagine votes for all four suits, including either a top or a low club.

But put yourself in West’s position after leading a top club against three no-trump. Declarer plays low from dummy and takes your partner’s two with the queen. Now he advances the heart queen from hand, and you have to plan the defense.

Your partner has around 7 points on defense; it is hard to see how you can set the game if he has (for example) the diamond king and heart king. You can almost count nine tricks for declarer in the form of three clubs and two tricks in each of the other suits.

The only realistic hope of saving game is a very slim one; it is that you can win four spade tricks in a hurry. Therefore, when in with the heart ace, West should lead the spade jack through dummy’s tenace — the lead of a low card would be ineffective, since dummy could duck and the king would remain guarded as a stopper in the suit.



This hand has too much to pass, but at the same time, I draw the line at bidding one no-trump with three small spades, even though I have a maximum for the call. I will double and run the risk of missing three no-trump if my right-hand opponent has responded very light. At least this way we should get to our best fit in a red suit.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 7 3
 K Q 2
 K 9 8 3
♣ A K Q
South West North East
  1 ♣ Pass 1 ♠
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 29th, 2018

Between the possibility of being hanged in all innocence, and the certainty of a public and merited disgrace, no gentleman of spirit could long hesitate.

Robert Louis Stevenson


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

3

Today’s deal contains a point or two about modern bidding. First, should South open one heart or one no-trump? I could go either way, given the small doubleton and chunky five-card major. At South’s second turn, he breaks the transfer into hearts by jumping to three. It would be wildly optimistic to drive to game, hoping partner’s hand will furnish the right values to make it. If North doesn’t accept South’s invitation, even three hearts may be in jeopardy.

And so it proves when the dummy goes down. But can you see how declarer should give himself the best chance in his part-score? With three top losers outside clubs, declarer needs to find a way to give himself an extra chance other than finding the club ace onside.

After the trump lead, South won in hand and innocently advanced the diamond 10 around to East’s king. Back came a club (necessary, or declarer develops a discard from the diamonds) to the king and ace. When West continued with the club nine, declarer was home, but even if West had played a low club, declarer would probably have guessed the position correctly. East would have shifted to a high club without an honor, and West might have ducked the club king with the ace-jack poised over declarer’s tenace.

Did you spot the defensive error, though? West must cover the diamond 10 at trick one — somewhat easier in theory than practice, I suspect. Thereafter, passive defense sets the contract.



There are no safe leads here, but if I had to guess, I’d assume the cards are lying well for declarer. That being the case, an attacking lead looks right, and a heart lead is more aggressive than a club. When in doubt, go for the “instant gratification” approach.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 2
 K J 8 3
 Q 4 2
♣ J 9 7 3
South West North East
  1 Pass 1 ♠
Pass 2 ♠ Pass 4 ♠
All pass      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, October 28th, 2018

Assume you are dealt ♠ J-4,  K-5,  A-7-5-4-2, ♣ A-J-4-2, and you open one diamond. When your partner responds one heart and the next hand overcalls one spade, I assume you would bid two clubs. What should you do when your partner probes with two spades?

Choice of Weevils, Baltimore, Md.

The decision is easier if you have already denied three hearts by your failure to make a support double. Then you can bid three hearts to show a decent doubleton. You might be forced to do that even if your partner might read you for three trumps (which he probably should not, since you might then have raised hearts at your second turn).

I picked up ♠ Q-4-2,  K-7,  A-10-8-6-5-3, ♣ J-3, and when my partner passed and my right-hand opponent opened one spade, I passed rather than overcalling two diamonds. Was that reasonable? If my left-hand opponent raises to two spades, should I balance with three diamonds now?

Comeback Charlie, Sacramento, Calif.

Your weak spade length argues for passing at your first turn, especially facing a passed partner. Once your opponents have limited their hands, you can infer spade shortness in your partner’s hand. So, balancing with three diamonds seems perfectly reasonable.

We play fourth suit as game-forcing, but what would you recommend for the meaning of one spade after our side bids unopposed: one club – one diamond – one heart? Should it be a one-round force or game-forcing, and does it promise or deny spade length?

Sally Fourth, Oklahoma City, Okla.

There is no clear best way to play here. But the simplest is to play one spade as natural — consistent with, but not promising four. Your partner will support with four trumps. Responder’s jump to two spades shows diamonds and spades 5-6, strong. Another common agreement is to play that one of those calls shows four spades, and one denies four. And a third option is to play one spade as natural but not a game force.

I picked up ♠ J-6-4,  Q-9-3-2,  K-10-5, ♣ A-8-3, and my partner opened one no-trump. I simply bid three no-trump rather than going through Stayman, reasoning that even if we did find a heart fit, we might take the same tricks in no-trump as in hearts. Naturally, though, my partner had the doubleton spade ace and four hearts, so hearts played far better. Was I taking too strong a position?

Hidden Treasures, Mesa, Ariz.

Your actual route is fine by me so as not to give away information. Some people play Puppet Stayman so that they can show hearts while their partner does not promise or deny a spade suit. In the absence of that, I’d go along with your call.

I was in third seat at unfavorable vulnerability. My partner opened two hearts, and the next hand overcalled three clubs. What would you recommend I bid, holding ♠ A-9,  Q-7,  A-K-J-5-3, ♣ J-8-7-3?

Hi-Lo Country, Anchorage, Alaska

In this situation, my instinct is to raise to the maximum, which means bidding four hearts, assuming my partner will deliver a good six-card heart suit. He is quite likely to have short clubs. I’m not sure, but I suspect that this will make it harder for the opponents to bid four spades, which may be a good save.


For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 27th, 2018

Nature reaches its culmination in humans, but human consciousness has not its essence in itself or nature.

Carl Linnaeus


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

10

At the 1998 Cap Gemini World Pairs Invitational, Tony Forrester and Zia Mahmood’s once-huge lead was down to single digits as the final board hit the table.

The Italian pair in second place had also reached three no-trump here, but Tor Helness, West at that table, led the heart jack, in response to his partner’s opening bid. Declarer won with the king and guessed poorly on the clubs. Back came the heart nine, ducked all around, then a diamond to the king. That disrupted declarer’s communications; he now had no way to generate a ninth trick.

At the critical table, though, on the auction shown, Forrester reached three no-trump after the opponents’ nebulous club and negative response. West, Krzysztof Martens, led the diamond 10 to the king, East unblocking the queen. Forrester cashed the club ace and played another club to the jack. He continued in diamonds, throwing a heart from dummy and leaving Marek Szymanowski, East, on play. He made the natural-looking lead of the spade queen (he needed to shift to a heart to set the game), and Forrester put up the king.

He then took the diamond ace, discarding another heart, and cashed his clubs. Szymanowski had to keep three hearts, thus only two spades. Forrester was able to lead a spade, win the heart return with the ace and play another spade. The heart king and his long spade represented his eighth and ninth tricks.

Had the swing on this board gone the other way, it would have reversed the final positions.



There is no reason to be overly complicated here. You have invitational values, and a call of two no-trump shows these values with hearts and clubs, allowing partner to pick a final contract. This hand is just too good for a one-trump rebid and is certainly not worth a force to game.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 8 3
 A 8 7 6 3
 K
♣ A 9 8 6
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 1 ♠ Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 26th, 2018

One cannot continually disappoint a continent.

James Whistler


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

After four matches in the 1998 Cap Gemini World Pairs Invitational, the local supporters were delighted to see Piet Jansen and Jan Westerhof of the Netherlands atop the table. Then they met Tor Helness and Geir Helgemo on Vugraph and lost out, mainly because of the following hand.

It looks as if North-South had done well in the auction, since the diamond game appeared to depend simply on the winning diamond finesse. But there was more to it than that. Helgemo found the diabolical lead of the heart four! When Westerhof played low from dummy, Helness had no trouble in putting up the heart king. (He knew his partner’s larcenous tendencies and could see that if declarer had the heart ace, the game would surely be laydown).

Helness now did very well when he switched to the diamond four before declarer could discover the deception in the heart suit. Had he not done so, declarer might have played a second heart himself and exposed the ruse.

From this defense, Westerhof reasonably deduced that East was likely to hold the ace and king of hearts. Accordingly, his only chance would be finding the bare diamond king with West, since otherwise there would not be enough high cards to justify an opening bid. So he tried to drop the singleton king of trumps and failed in his contract.

After that point, the Dutch pair headed south in the field, while Helness-Helgemo went on to take third place.



Clearly your next call will be in no-trump. To bid three clubs would show clubs and hearts and be game-forcing, but you are an ace short of that action. This hand looks like an invitation, not a game force. Yes, you have great club spots, but bid two no-trump and let partner decide whether he has a minimum or maximum.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 5
 K 5 3 2
 K 4
♣ Q 10 9 5 4
South West North East
    1 NT Pass
2 ♣ Pass 2 ♠ Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, October 25th, 2018

Maybe if you didn’t try to be so clever, you wouldn’t end up looking so stupid.

Victor Mollo


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

*Zero out of three key-cards

♣A

In the 1998 Cap Gemini World Pairs Invitational, today’s slam hand struck a chord with me. In Victor Mollo’s Bridge Menagerie, Themistocles Papadopoulos was reputed to be the only man capable of false-carding with a singleton. This deal’s declarers had to decide if their defenders were capable of precisely such a feat!

Of the eight tables playing in this event, seven declarers managed to reach six hearts. Slam is excellent — it can basically be claimed if trumps split. However, when declarer laid down a top heart from the North hand, the nine appeared from West. Now the question was whether this was a singleton or the “standard” expert false-card from an original holding of jack-nine-fourth, to persuade declarer that this was a singleton.

The problem here is that if you make the wrong guess and play the defender to have a singleton when he has four, that player will be able to gloat over you for the rest of his life. This was a good deal for the Berkowitz family, since David Berkowitz’s partner, Larry Cohen (playing against one of the very strongest pairs in the event), and Lisa Berkowitz (competing against the other female pair in the room) were the only declarers to succeed. They were prepared to pay off to this apparent “brilliancy,” by continuing with a second top trump from dummy and so made their slam.

The rest of the field played for their opponents to be superstars by leading a small heart to the queen, and all went down.



A case could be made for responding one spade, just as you would if your right-hand opponent had passed. But here, after the double, I’m reluctant to bid a weak four-card suit when I’m close to subminimum for the action. It seems wiser to pass, planning to double my left-hand opponent’s likely oneheart response, and otherwise to stay silent.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 7 6 2
 9
 9 7 4
♣ A J 8 7 3
South West North East
    1 Dbl.
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Trickery and treachery are the practices of fools who have not wits enough to be honest.

Benjamin Franklin


E North
None ♠ K 9 7
 Q 10 9
 Q 5 4 3
♣ J 8 7
West East
♠ Q 8 3 2
 8 7
 J 10 7
♣ Q 10 9 4
♠ J 10 6 5
 K J 6
 A K 6
♣ 5 3 2
South
♠ A 4
 A 5 4 3 2
 9 8 2
♣ A K 6
South West North East
      1 ♣
1 NT Pass 2 ♣ Pass
2 Pass 2 NT All pass

♠2

At the 1998 Cap Gemini World Pairs Invitational, one of the pairs in contention comprised Krzysztof Martens and Marek Szymanowski of Poland.

Martens has recently developed a second career as a coach and writer of some excellent books, which are both entertaining and informative. Meanwhile, Marek Szymanowski is known to be a tricky opponent, and he produced an excellent false-card against the Hacketts, brothers from England who were regular contenders on the Great Britain team for most of the last decade.

After Szymanowski had opened a Polish club with the East cards, Jason Hackett elected to overcall one no-trump rather than one heart, and consequently found himself in two no-trump as South after having shown strong no-trump values, together with a heart suit.

Martens accurately selected a spade lead, which Hackett won in hand and played a heart to the nine — and Szymanowski took it with the king! Then he cleared the spades, and declarer, not unnaturally, repeated the finesse in hearts, allowing the defenders to win a second heart trick.

Together with two spade winners and three diamond tricks, that meant two off. But note that if East had taken the heart jack at trick two, declarer would have used dummy’s spade entry to finesse East out of the heart king, and would have made eight tricks in comfort.

Declarer’s play would have succeeded against an original 4-1-4-4 pattern in the East hand, which was entirely consistent with the partnership style.



All answers have drawbacks here. Raising hearts may get you to an awkward 4-3 fit. Rebidding one spade may make it harder to find hearts (since a heart rebid at your third turn would now show real extras). Finally, rebidding no-trump shows the hand type but may miss the best fit facing a weak hand. I prefer the last option, though, since for me a one-spade call would guarantee real clubs.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 10 6 5
 K J 6
 A K 6
♣ 5 3 2
South West North East
1 ♣ Pass 1 Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.

Alfred Harmsworth


E North
None ♠ J 10 9 2
 K 9
 Q J 4 3
♣ Q 10 9
West East
♠ A K 8 6 5 3
 —
 10 6 5
♣ 8 7 3 2
♠ 7 4
 10 7 6 4 2
 A 9 2
♣ A J 4
South
♠ Q
 A Q J 8 5 3
 K 8 7
♣ K 6 5
South West North East
      Pass
1 2 ♠ Dbl. Pass
4 All pass    

♠K

At the 1998 Cap Gemini World Pairs Invitational, we saw a relative rarity when Paul Chemla of France made an error in declarer play. His dissatisfaction with a bad guess on a high card must have been doubled upon discovering that he did not require the guess at all!

While three no-trump may be the best spot for North-South, the contract of four hearts on the lead of a top spade looked perfectly reasonable. After some thought, West shifted to the diamond six, middle of three cards, and East defended well by putting in the nine.

Declarer won in hand and crossed to the heart king, then continued with the heart nine. East continued his accurate defense when he covered, to deprive declarer of an entry to dummy. Now Chemla could draw all the trumps, but in the process, he made the mistake of pitching all of dummy’s spades. Now a diamond to the jack, ducked, left him needing to find the club jack in the endgame. Since West clearly had the length, and from the auction East had the club ace, Chemla got it wrong by playing West for the club jack.

A better line would have been to leave one spade in dummy while drawing trumps, reducing to one spade, three diamonds and two clubs. Now when you lead a diamond to dummy after drawing trumps, East must duck it as before. But now you ruff dummy’s spade back to hand and lead a third round of diamonds. East takes it, but is endplayed to lead clubs away from his ace in the three-card ending.



It seems logical to bid one no-trump now rather than raising diamonds, since you can also support diamonds later in a competitive auction; whereas if you raise diamonds now, you may have an awkward decision at your next turn. Also, your partner may misjudge how much defense you have, should you raise directly.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 10 9 2
 K 9
 Q J 4 3
♣ Q 10 9
South West North East
    1 1 ♠
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.

Daniel 6:8


E North
E-W ♠ 10
 A 9 7 5
 10 8 7 3
♣ 10 4 3 2
West East
♠ K Q 8 6
 K Q 10 8 4 3
 Q J
♣ K
♠ A J 9 7 5 4
 J 6 2
 K 6 2
♣ 6
South
♠ 3 2
 —
 A 9 5 4
♣ A Q J 9 8 7 5
South West North East
      2 ♠
5 ♣ Dbl. All pass  

♠K

When Jens Auken wrote about the “kill-point,” he was suggesting that it is dangerous ever to relax at the table. If you do, you might miss that the critical point of a deal has been reached.

When the following hand arose, players sitting West were weighed in the balance, and most were found wanting. It looked normal for East to pre-empt to two spades, over which South could take the two-way shot to jump to five clubs. Since East’s opening call had virtually denied two aces, West typically doubled rather than bidding five spades, then led the spade king. When the king held, West had to plan the defense at trick two. I invite you to do likewise before reading on!

Doesn’t it seem natural to shift to a top heart? If you do, declarer ruffs in hand and lays down the club ace, then ruffs a spade, ruffs a heart, and goes to dummy with the club 10. Now the heart ace, followed by a heart ruff, eliminates all the major suits from his hand and dummy. The diamond ace and a second diamond leaves West hopelessly endplayed, forced to concede a ruff-and-discard, on which declarer’s last diamond loser is discarded.

If West does not lead or shift to a heart, declarer cannot eliminate the major suits — the trump entries to dummy are insufficient. But at only one of the eight tables did a defender spot the trap. When Michel Perron of France saw Paul Chemla contribute the spade nine at the first trick, showing an even number, he carefully continued with a spade to defeat the contract.



Since this might be your only chance to lead through dummy, I suggest that a low heart is more likely to be successful than a club. Partner rates to have exactly four cards on this auction, and while the jack might work to take three tricks quickly, you could hardly blame your partner for trying to give you a ruff. In any event, you might get in with the club king again for a second heart play, if necessary.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

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

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

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