Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, May 6th, 2018

Do you have any plans for a follow-up to “The Lone Wolff”? Would you ever do a book consisting of bridge hands as opposed to an autobiography?

Bookworm, Duluth, Minn.

My book is far more about my life and times than it is about bridge hands. Almost every deal in the book (of which there are very few) is there to advance the story or to make a point. Yes, if asked, I would consider trying to put together hands from the columns for a book. But nobody has been beating down my door with lucrative offers recently.

In a recent column, you have a player with 12 points and 4-4 in the minors opening the bidding with one club. However, in a bidding problem, you suggest opening one diamond. Which is your recommended strategy?

Desperate Dan, Virginia City, Nev.

Much inappropriate and misdirected thought has been wasted on this question; I’m sorry if I innocently added to the confusion. There is no technically superior answer to the question of which suit to bid, but there is a practical answer: I’d recommend always opening the better suit. The reason is that if the opponents end up declaring the hand, you’d rather your partner led your good suit, not your bad one. This also applies when a hand is too strong to open one no-trump.

Have you ever played a forcing pass method or a system that didn’t conform to a standard base? If so, did you enjoy the process?

Lumpfish, Trenton, N.J.

We were all young once, but ever since I grew up, I have tended to follow normal methods. However, that does remind me that 40 years ago it took a lot of persuading to convince one of the top American women that if her opponents played an opening pass as a strong hand, she could not double the pass to show a good hand herself!

At my local club, I picked up ♠ A-Q-3,  10-5-3-2,  A-Q-7-4, ♣ Q-3 and responded with a two-no-trump call to my partner’s opening bid of one heart, to show a forcing raise. When my partner bid three hearts, showing extras but no shortage, what should I have done?

Half Mast, Harrisburg, Pa.

In context, you have nothing to spare. You have bad trumps and at most a queen more than a dead minimum, so I would sign off now. If all your partner needs is two aces, he can use Blackwood to find out more. For the record, if your hearts were J-10-x-x, you might bid three no-trump, meaning it as having nothing to spare, and not being unsuitable for slam but without extras.

What scheme of responses to weak twos do you recommend? Does it depend on the degree of discipline your partnership imposes on pre-empts? If you ask for features, what holding outside the trump suit is needed for the weak-two opener to treat his hand as maximum?

Forward Progress, Portland, Ore.

Briefly, if playing Ogust (which assumes a pre-empt may be on only a moderate suit — or worse), what constitutes a good suit and a good hand may still depend a little on the vulnerability. A good suit should have decent play for one loser facing a doubleton (a minimum of six to the king-queen). The range is 6-10, no matter what style of responses you play; and if you have a maximum, show a feature with an ace, king or guarded queen.


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, May 5th, 2018

As man under pressure tends to give in to physical and intellectual weakness, only great strength of will can lead to the objective.

Carl von Clausewitz


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

♣K

In today’s deal, you reach a delicate four-heart game after West has suggested a three-suiter and a maximum for his original pass. You duck the lead of the club king, and West accurately shifts to a trump.

It may be hard to see how to avoid the loss of three diamond tricks, since the top honors appear to be split, but you can exert a fair amount of pressure if you run five rounds of hearts. You keep all four spades and your top clubs in hand, coming down to the bare diamond queen. But what does West keep?

If he pitches a spade, you ruff out that suit while you still have a club re-entry to hand; while if he comes down to one club, your clubs will be good. So West also must come down to one diamond. That has to be the king (or ace), or you can establish a diamond trick.

Now you cash the sixth trump and pitch your last diamond, and West must again keep all his spades and clubs to keep you from establishing either suit. So he, too, discards his last diamond, and that lets you lead the king and another spade, aiming to cover East’s card to keep him off lead.

West wins cheaply and must play back a low spade, but you win that, then endplay him in spades to lead clubs into your tenace. Your initial goal on the deal was to avoid losing three diamond winners; in fact, you ended up losing no diamond tricks at all!


Are you a man or a mouse? Most experts would re-open with a double with barely a second thought. If West has been lurking with a powerhouse, you might regret it. But say your partner has five spades to the king and three little hearts. Then no matter what the rest of his hand is, either four spades should come close or the opponents can make game — and sometimes both games will make.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 9 7 4
 8
 A 9 7 3
♣ K J 6 3
South West North East
      Pass
Pass 4 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: Friday, May 4th, 2018

Sole survivor, cursed with second sight
Haunted savior, cried into the night.

Eric Bloom


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

♠6

One of the regular fundraising activities of the American Contract Bridge League is to produce simultaneous pairs events with a commentary. This allows people to compare their results at the table with what, in theory, is par on the board.

In today’s deal from a recent such event, North does not possess a classic opener. (Indeed, Ely Culbertson might be turning in his grave at the idea of opening a hand with no aces and a bare, balanced 12-count.) Having said that, with nobody vulnerable at pairs, it often pays to get in early and try to steal the contract. You’d expect West to bid spades over one diamond, and now North-South rate to reach three no-trump, probably by South, and most likely on a spade lead. (Of course if West leads hearts, declarer will come home with no problem.)

Since declarer does not have second sight, he will probably win the spade ace, cash the club ace, then play a club to the eight and take the club king. To keep himself in the game, West must pitch two diamonds and a spade; if he pitches a heart, declarer establishes a third heart trick without too much trouble.

But after this start, South will have a shrewd idea of West’s original distribution: to bring home his contract, South must lead a heart to the nine at trick five. As the commentary indicates, any declarer who reads the cards this well will truly deserve his top!


You showed 15-17 at your first turn. Then completing the transfer showed three trumps. In context, you have a minimum, plus soft cards in the opponents’ suit. You have absolutely no reason to think of bidding now. Partner is in control of the auction, and he wants to sell out. Respect his authority.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 7
 Q 9 2
 K 5 4
♣ A Q 10 9 5
South West North East
1 NT Pass 2 Dbl.
2 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: Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

The fixation on school has become a class trait. It manifests itself as a mixture of incurious piety and parlor game.

V.S. Pritchett


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

♠4

Bridge at the Dyspeptics Club is often equivalent to a game of hot potato. A contract may start out as makeable, or off in top tricks, but quite frequently the fate of the contract will switch from one side to the other. All too often it is the player who makes the last mistake who will come in for the criticism, while the other errors are glossed over altogether.

See if you can decide how many times the outcome of today’s contract of three no-trump changed hands here.

West led a spade to the king, won the second spade and played the spade two, as East pitched a heart. Declarer next played a diamond to the king and a second diamond, thoughtfully ducking when East produced the queen. Now the suit had been established with West kept off lead, so declarer had nine tricks.

When South started to brag about his foresight, North corrected him and told him that he was the poster child for the slogan “It’s better to be lucky than good.” How many mistakes had been made on the deal?

Had East pitched his diamond queen under the king, the defense would have prevailed. But South could have broached diamonds by crossing to a top heart and leading a low diamond to his ace, then a diamond back. Now the defenders would be unable to unblock successfully.

Or, if West had played a high (suit preference) spade at trick three, maybe East could have discarded the diamond queen at that point, rendering declarer helpless.


This sort of deal demonstrates why it is a good idea for the opener to be allowed to break the transfer whenever he has four trumps and anything but a dead minimum, and also perhaps when he has three good trumps and a maximum. The point is that when opener doesn’t break the transfer, you can pass two hearts and not risk going overboard, since game is unlikely to be good.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 5
 Q 10 4 3 2
 Q 5
♣ 10 7 6 2
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: Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

Brazil? He twirled a button
Without a glance my way:
But, madam, is there nothing else
That we can show today?

Emily Dickinson


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

*Spades and a minor

10

Gabriel Chagas is one of the few players to have won the three major world teams championships as well as the World Open Pairs. Forty years ago, he wrote a Bols bridge tip to alert players to the intra-finesse, using this hand to illustrate his point.

Against four spades, the defense begins with three rounds of hearts, South ruffing the third. The success of the game hinges on not losing more than one trump trick. Under normal circumstances, you would lead toward the queen after cashing the ace. But here, East is known to hold the king, by virtue of his opening call of one no-trump.

There are two sensible lines of play that declarer should consider. The first is that East might have started with the doubleton spade king, in which case declarer can drive it out without wasting the queen. The other possibility is that West holds the doubleton 10 or jack, so an intrafinesse will be the winning move.

Start by leading a spade to the nine, which lets East win with the jack to return the club queen. Now declarer ruffs a club to hand and discovers that East also began with a doubleton club.

Although East might be 2-4-5-2 for his one no-trump opening bid, 3-4-4-2 is a far more likely shape. So, declarer leads a diamond to dummy’s ace and advances the spade queen. Since West’s 10 falls under the queen, whether East covers or not, declarer holds his trump losers to one and has succeeded in his task.


This hand comes down to the Law of Total Tricks. When you cue-bid two hearts, you showed a limit raise with at least three trumps. (Some pairs might have a way to show a limit raise with four trumps, but we do not.) You should assume your partner does not have enough to bid to three spades, and your balanced hand argues for defending, as you have only three trumps. So pass three hearts.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 9 2
 6 5 4
 A Q 3
♣ K 8 4 3
South West North East
  1 1 ♠ Dbl.
2 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, May 1st, 2018

Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it.

Bertolt Brecht


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

4

Most partnerships these days use a 15-17 no-trump opening bid rather than 16-18. The logic is that if you open most 12-counts, you do not want your rebid of one no-trump to be 12-15; that is an uncomfortably wide range for exploring game and slam.

In today’s deal, South has a little too much for the no-trump opener, despite his square pattern. Of course, any action South chooses should lead to his declaring a contract of three no-trump on a low heart lead.

The contract may appear to be in jeopardy, but South can prevail by using a maneuver that should be in everyone’s armory: the holdup. He merely delays taking his heart ace, playing small hearts on the first and second tricks and taking his ace on the third round of the suit.

What is the result of this approach? South knows that he will eventually finesse in diamonds into what he imagines will be the safe hand, East, since it is West who appears to have long hearts.

Note that when South leads the diamond queen, if East wins the finesse to shift to a spade, declarer will have to decide whether to take the spade finesse or play for diamonds to behave. Rising with the ace feels right to me.

However, when the diamond queen is covered with the king, as it is today, declarer comes back to hand in clubs and runs the diamond eight. Whether the finesse of the diamond 10 wins or loses, he has nine tricks and does not need the spade finesse.


Had East not bid one heart, you would probably have bid two spades. As it is, should you bid two spades anyway, or is one spade enough? I think it is right to bid two spades, since you would compete to one spade on the same hand without one of the aces — that call really doesn’t show anything more than fourplus spades, though it denies weakness.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 7 4 3
 10 5
 A J 9 5
♣ A J 3
South West North East
  1 ♣ Dbl. 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, April 30th, 2018

Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And hope without an object cannot live.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge


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

♠Q

In today’s deal, South’s response of two no-trump to an opening minor was forcing, so North simply raised to three no-trump.

West led a low spade to East’s king, and South carefully counted his winners before choosing his card. He had four tricks in the majors, and there would be either four or five diamonds, depending on the finesse in that suit. Additionally, there would be one or two club tricks, also depending on whether or not that finesse were successful.

That looks like at least nine tricks, but say South had taken the first spade trick and lost a finesse to the diamond king, East would have been able to return a spade. Now the defenders would take four spades and the diamond king, defeating the contract. So South had to duck the first spade trick, playing low from both hands. The idea of the holdup was to exhaust East of his spades. If East won the diamond king, South hoped he would be unable to return a spade.

When East continued with a low spade at trick two, South put in the jack and let West win his queen. Declarer took his ace on the third round of spades and discarded a low club from dummy. He next led the diamond jack and let it ride. As expected, when East won the diamond king, he had no spade to lead.

When East returned a club at trick five, South rejected the finesse, rising with the ace and running nine tricks without taking any unnecessary risk, a wise precaution today.


If you lead a top spade, you need partner to have the suit run on defense — the chance that partner will have a high-card entry is quite small. If you lead a small diamond, you have a decent chance of establishing the suit, since you do have the side entries. With fewer high cards on the side, the spade lead becomes more attractive.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ A K 5
 Q 8 6
 Q 7 5 3 2
♣ 9 4
South West North East
    Pass 1 NT
Pass 3 NT 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, April 29th, 2018

My partner tells me that it is consistent with Standard American to use the short club or short diamond opening bid in hopes of finding a fit in a major suit. What should the minimum holding be to make such a bid? And what should my minimum support (and high cards) be to respond, assuming no intervening bid?

Get Shorty, Ketchikan, Alaska

Playing standard, with 3-3 in the minors, I always open one club, regardless of suit quality, unless in third seat with really good diamonds. With 4-4, I open the better minor, more for the lead than for any other reason. As responder, assume partner always has four diamonds and rates to have four clubs for the opening bid. Assume that you can raise with four trumps (whether or not you are in a competitive auction) if nothing else seems appropriate.

I have a lot of trouble understanding and remembering the rule of 11; could you explain it to me — in words of one syllable?

Gobstopper, Danville, Ill.

When your partner leads a fourth-highest card, count up how many higher cards in that suit are unaccounted for. (For example, on the lead of a five, the six through ace represent the nine missing cards.) Since your partner’s hand holds three of them (she led her fourth-highest, so she has three bigger), the remaining (9 – 3 = 6) six higher cards are held by you, dummy and declarer. Subtract dummy’s and your own to know how many declarer has. A shortcut is to subtract the card led from 11: 11 minus five equals six.

Holding ♠ 6,  J-9-7-2,  10-8, ♣ K-Q-10-7-5-4, when would you open three clubs, and when would the vulnerability or scoring persuade you to stay silent? Would you ever make a jump overcall here?

Lumpfish, San Juan, P.R.

I might open three clubs non-vulnerable in first chair, despite the weak four-card major on the side. Beef up that major to include a top honor, and I’d leave well enough alone and pass. In third seat, opening three clubs looks reasonable at any vulnerability, as does a jump overcall; mixing up your partnership pre-empting style is a perfectly reasonable policy. Many do it and don’t admit it.

I was on opening lead against a confidently bid slam, holding ♠ 6,  Q-10-8-4,  K-5-4-3, ♣ J-9-7-2. My RHO had opened and rebid spades; my LHO had bid diamonds then used key-card and driven to six spades after a response showing two key-cards and no trump queen. What are your thoughts on how I should approach the problem?

Catch-22, Woodland Hills, Calif.

There are two schools of thought: Try to set up a heart or club winner and hope partner has a sure winner somewhere so you can cash it. Or lead a diamond in an attempt to set up that suit or put declarer off the finesse (maybe before he knows spades aren’t breaking). For me, it comes down to a red suit, and I slightly favor a heart over a diamond.

When should opener rebid a five-card suit after a one-level response, as opposed to bidding one no-trump? What about over a two-level response?

Bucket List, Miami, Fla.

In my book, the answer to the second question is: Whenever no other attractive option presents itself. Unless the suit is headed by two top honors, I generally will strive not to do it, though. After a one-level response you’d prefer not to rebid a five-card suit but to raise partner with three trumps or rebid one no-trump if possible. But often a shape like 2-4-5-2 or 2-4-2-5 presents problems after you open your minor and hear a one-spade response, I admit.


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, April 28th, 2018

It is really quite impossible to say anything with absolute precision, unless that thing is so abstracted from the real world as to not represent any real thing.

Richard Feynman


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

2

Today’s hand is from the 2014 Brighton Swiss Teams, and it features a squeeze that is hard to imagine when dummy comes down at trick one, but inasmuch as any squeeze can be said to play itself, this one develops along very straightforward lines.

A few partnerships did find their way to the small heart slam, which rolls home on any lead except a trump, since you can arrange to ruff two spades in dummy.

But it is a completely different story on a trump lead, plus a trump continuation when the defense regains the lead in spades. There will now be just one trump left in dummy to deal with declarer’s two spade losers.

After winning the trump lead, play the ace and another spade. Back comes another heart, but don’t give up. Simply ruff your third spade with dummy’s last trump. Then play the ace and king of clubs, followed by a club ruff.

Now you have two threats, one in each of the black suits, and you know clubs are guarded on your left. So you next run your trumps, keeping close count of the clubs.

When the last heart is played, everyone will be reduced to two cards. West needs to keep his club, therefore must reduce to just one diamond. Having done its duty, the club nine can now be jettisoned from dummy.

Over to East, who cannot part with the spade queen, so he also releases a diamond. Dummy’s diamond nine will win trick 13, and you will have executed a perfect double squeeze!


I have never been a big fan of upgrading a 19-count into a two-no-trump opening bid. This hand feels rather suit-oriented, so opening one club, planning a two-no-trump rebid, seems like the normal action. Sometimes the opponents will help us steer clear of three no-trump when it is right to do so.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 7
 K J 6
 A 9 8 2
♣ A K 9 4
South West North East
    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: Friday, April 27th, 2018

A schoolboy’s tale, the wonder of an hour!

Lord Byron


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

*Asking for the spade queen

♣Q

North’s first response here promises a good suit, so that once he raises spades, the route to slam should be easy enough. After West leads the club queen, you must plan the play.

You could rely on dropping the trump queen in two rounds, but that is only a trifle better than an even-money shot. A better chance is to play on hearts, hoping to set up a long card, while using dummy’s trumps for entries.

After winning the club queen with the ace, cash the heart ace and king, then ruff a heart with the trump king. Next continue with a low trump from hand! West does best to play low, and you win in dummy and continue by ruffing a second heart with the trump ace, because you like the spectacular.

A second low trump from hand sees West win the trump queen and probably exit with a club. After winning this trick with the club king, you draw West’s remaining trump by leading a third low spade to dummy. Since the heart seven has been established, you use it to dispose of your club loser. You make five trumps, three hearts and the ace-king of both minors.

While no line will bring you home if West has four trumps, this approach can succeed when East has four trumps — provided hearts are 3-3. In the latter case, East will have to use one of his trumps to ruff a heart winner; then you will be able to over-ruff and draw his last trump, ending in dummy to cash the remaining heart winner.


Your partner rates to be relatively short in both majors, so I can see some logic in raising to two clubs as opposed to rebidding one no-trump. Nonetheless, I think the one no-trump call suggests your values nicely, and lets partner rebid two clubs if appropriate. He surely won’t have six clubs, will he?

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 10 9
 A K 7 4 2
 8 6
♣ 9 7 4
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♣ Dbl.
1 1 ♠ 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.

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