Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 8th, 2019

In statesmanship get the formalities right, never mind about the moralities.

Mark Twain


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

♠J

When South shows 22-24, North does not hesitate to jump to seven no-trump — particularly since he will not have to play it himself.

Despite the spade wastage, the North-South cards fit reasonably. When dummy comes down, South sees that all he needs to do is find four diamond tricks to bring home the grand slam. He must therefore investigate the side suits to plan his play in diamonds.

South wins the king in hand and begins by running clubs, finding West with three clubs. West discards a spade on the fourth club; East gets rid of two spades. It begins to look as though East started with four or five spades, but before finalizing his plan, South runs the hearts.

When East drops the heart 10 on the third round, it looks as though West started with four hearts and East with only three, though East might be fooling, of course. South leads his second spade, and both opponents follow. Since neither the 10 nor the nine has yet appeared, South should assume that West has at least the 10 for his opening lead of the jack.

Weighing up all the evidence, it seems certain that West started with at least four spades, at least three hearts and the three known clubs. At most, therefore, West can have three diamonds — but he may have fewer.

South can thus ensure his slam by taking dummy’s top diamonds first. When West shows out at the 11th trick, South takes the marked finesse through East to make his grand slam.



On blind auctions, it is easy to lead from real length or from sequences. If you can’t do either, you want to find your partner if you are weak, or try to avoid blowing tricks if you have nothing attractive to lead. Leading from ace-third is out. Of the two four-card suits, I prefer almost anything to leading from ace-fourth. A small diamond is the least of all evils, but a doubleton club is not completely absurd.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ A 7 5 2
 A 9 3
 Q 5 3 2
♣ 7 3
South West North East
      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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, July 7th, 2019

What can you do at the duplicate club when you fear you may not have time to finish a round, but your opponents insist on discussing who should have done what on an earlier deal? Do you have a patented method to limit conversations?

Tony the Tortoise, Olympia, Wash.

You cannot stop a postmortem when a partnership is trying to apportion blame. I try humor or downright sarcasm. “I’m sorry to have held you up — we can catch up if we start the new deal at once.” If my partner is talking to just one of the opponents, I sometimes ask the innocent opponent please to stop talking. If the discussion has been about clothes (as it so often is), I compliment my male opponent on his shoes.

In fourth seat, would you open at rubber bridge, Chicago scoring, at favorable vulnerability with: ♠ A-Q-3-2,  Q-5-3,  10-5, ♣ K-9-4-2. If so, with what call?

Tubby the Tuba, Horn Lake, Miss.

For the benefit of my readers who are unfamiliar with Chicago scoring, you play four deals with the same partner; one hand at each of the four vulnerabilities. To take advantage of the opponents’ vulnerability, you should make sure to bid here. I suggest you open one spade to keep the opponents out.

Recently I held ♠ A-8,  K-J-7-6,  K-Q-J-6-4-3, ♣ 8. I opened one diamond and heard my left-hand opponent bid one spade. My partner doubled, and the next hand bid four spades. What would you advocate, and why?

Humble Pie, San Antonio, Texas

Double would be extras and not specifically takeout. Your partner would remove only with real extra shape, but here it is you with the shape. Accordingly, I would bid four no-trump, intending it to be diamonds and a second suit. If your partner bids five clubs, you can correct to five diamonds to show the red suits and a hand like this one.

Yesterday afternoon, after passing in first chair with: ♠ Q-J,  Q-9-6-5-4,  J-9-3, ♣ A-10-3, I heard my partner open two no-trump. Is this hand worth a slam try, or would you simply sign off in game (and where)?

Lumpfish, Huntington, W. Va.

All your soft values suggest that you might not want to find hearts even if you have a 5-3 fit. I wouldn’t want to try for slam unless I found four hearts opposite, so I would use Stayman rather than transferring. My plan is to opt for three no-trump unless partner shows hearts. If he does, I will bid three spades, an artificial call to set hearts as trump and show at least a little slam interest.

When would you suggest leading an unsupported ace against a suit if you have bid or overcalled in that suit and your partner has raised?

Sceptic Tank, Huntsville, Ala.

Against part-scores, the need to cash out is far smaller than against a game — the likelihood is that your opponents have limited values. When your partner shows four or more trumps, the likelihood of it being wrong to cash out the ace drops dramatically. Facing a simple raise, leading an unsupported ace — especially when your right-hand opponent is strong — is normally a council of desperation.


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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, July 6th, 2019

He who resolves never to ransack any mind but his own, will soon be reduced from mere barrenness to the poorest of all imitations; he will be obliged to repeat himself.

Sir Joshua Reynolds


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

*shortness, agreeing spades

♠10

After a Stayman inquiry, North jumps to four clubs, a splinter bid showing slam interest with short clubs and spade fit. Once you cue-bid the diamond ace, North drives to the small slam in spades. A diamond lead might leave you in a bad spot, but West leads a trump. Now you must take advantage of your lucky break!

You will need four tricks from hearts to have any chance of bringing slam home, so hearts must break. You can score four trumps, four hearts and the minor-suit aces without a struggle. But to generate the two extra tricks, you must ruff two clubs in dummy.

If trumps are 3-2, you can win the first trick in either hand. However, if trumps are 4-1, you must win the first trick in dummy with the ace. Suppose the full deal looks like the layout shown.

At trick two, you cash dummy’s club ace, but then you must duck a heart. Suppose West wins and exits with a trump. After winning in hand with the jack, ruff a club. Then return to hand with a low heart to the king to ruff a second club. After returning to hand one more time by playing a diamond to your ace, draw West’s remaining trumps with the king and queen while throwing diamonds from dummy. You will take the last three tricks with dummy’s three heart winners.

Caution! If you win the first trick in hand, you will lose either a club trick or a trump, to end up at least one trick short of your contract.



Did you plan to make a natural call of two no-trump here? It is a natural reaction to make a call mean what you want to it to mean – Humpty Dumpty would sympathize! In fact a two no-trump call should be unusual here, for the minors. The likelihood your side can make three no-trump after this start is really small, so using two no-trump as natural here is inefficient. I’d pass, reluctantly.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K Q J 6
 K 6 2
 A 6
♣ Q 8 7 5
South West North East
  1 ♠ Pass 2 ♠
?      

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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 5th, 2019

The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks.

Douglas Adams


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

♣A

In today’s deal, North’s cuebid of three diamonds promised a high-card raise to at least three hearts, after which South’s extra high cards persuaded him to jump to four hearts despite his absence of aces. When West led the ace and another club, South had no choice but to win and start on the trump suit. But as he feared, East won and led another club for West to ruff with his 10 in front of dummy. Declarer guessed to pitch a diamond from dummy, and West — judging that a spade lead would now be fatal — exited with the diamond king.

Although this gave away a trick, West could now let go of all his diamonds on the run of the trump, and the defenders still had to come to a spade at the end for their fourth winner.

Would it have worked better for declarer to part with one of dummy’s spades? If he had, West would have been able to exit with a spade, coming to a diamond at the end. So is there any way to make the game? Yes, indeed!

Unlikely as it may seem, declarer must underruff West’s trump 10. West can do no better than exit with the diamond king, but declarer wins the ace and plays off the rest of his trumps, squeezing West in spades and diamonds. Dummy’s diamond six is still in place as a threat against West, and in the ending, West has to unguard his spade king on the last trump. That allows South to pitch dummy’s diamond and take three tricks in spades.



The one-spade bid by your partner doesn’t guarantee a great hand, but it is best played as forcing for one round by an unpassed hand. That being so, despite your lack of aces, you should show a good hand by cuebidding two clubs (an artificial call showing extra values). You plan to rebid two spades (or two no-trump over a call of two diamonds) at your next turn.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 6 3
 K Q J 8 2
 Q 8
♣ K Q J
South West North East
      1 ♣
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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 4th, 2019

In war there is no second prize for the runner-up.

General Omar Bradley


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

K

Today’s deal provided an excellent test of timing for declarer, but the correct solution was found at only one of the two tables.

In the first room, a highly competitive auction saw South end up in six hearts after his opponents had bid up to five spades following a Michaels Cue-bid by West. After the lead of a top diamond, declarer ruffed in hand and trumped a spade in dummy, then finessed in trump. But there was now no way to avoid losing both a trump and a spade.

At the featured table, Fred Hamilton opened one heart with the South cards, West overcalled with one spade and North sensibly responded two clubs. When East jumped to four spades, Hamilton decided that since his partner had to be very short in spades, he probably had some hearts. So he made an imaginative leap to six hearts! Both East and West had some prospects on defense, so they elected to try to beat the slam.

Again, West led a top diamond; after ruffing, Hamilton found the play to make his opponents’ lives as hard as possible. At trick two, he led a low trump to dummy’s 10; when East took the trick, declarer was home free. Had East ducked smoothly, South would have led a second trump and hoped to guess which defender had ducked their king. It might not have been easy, but I would have bet on Hamilton to find his way home.



This auction is the equivalent of fourth suit forcing. You showed 6-10 high-card points or so, over which your partner showed real extras, initially asking you to rebid at no-trump if you could, or otherwise to make a descriptive call. Here, you can bid two no-trump; with as little as an additional spade queen, you might try three no-trump.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 8 5 4 2
 K 3 2
 9 6 4
♣ 8 7
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 ♠ Pass 2 ♣ 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

Let him go let him tarry let him sink or let him swim
He doesn’t care for me and I don’t care for him.
He can go and find another that I hope he will enjoy
For I am going to marry a far nicer boy.

Traditional Irish song


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

*Puppet to three clubs

♠3

The Tarrytown regional tournament this February threw up an interesting defensive problem here. There were several points of interest in the bidding, the first of which was East’s two-no-trump call, sometimes referred to as “Good-Bad Two No-Trump.” In this system, East has two ways to rebid clubs. A direct call of three clubs would promise extras (akin to a jump to three clubs over a one-heart response). This sequence was purely competitive in clubs — not an underbid!

When South reached four spades, West did well to lead a trump rather than making the knee-jerk play of leading the club ace. Since his side had plenty of high cards, the opponents’ auction was surely based on side-suit shortages somewhere, and West saw there was very likely to be a need to ruff either a club or a heart in dummy.

This lead should have been the killer. However, when declarer won in hand and led a diamond to the 10, king and ace, East shifted to a heart. Declarer set about his cross-ruff and emerged with 10 tricks.

East made a pardonable mistake, but he took his eye off the ball at trick three. He knew for certain that West didn’t have a singleton club — he surely would have led it. And if West didn’t have an ace, the defense had no chance. By playing a club, East would allow his partner to play a second trump if he had either the club ace or the heart ace. Shifting to a heart put all his eggs in a (broken) basket.



Don’t even think about acting. With only four-card trump support (which you have already almost guaranteed), a dead minimum in high cards and a great potential lead against two spades, you should pass and wait for your partner to bid any more if he has a suitable hand.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 10 8
 J
 K 7 4 3 2
♣ Q 7 6 3
South West North East
    1 1 ♠
Dbl. Pass 2 ♣ 2 ♠
?      

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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

If all men count with you, but none too much.

Rudyard Kipling


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

K

Today’s deal comes from a recent national tournament played at many tables, where the key to the defense was how to signal properly in order to find the best way to defeat three spades. The defenders were playing standard signals and third-and-lowest leads (wherein the defenders lead low from three or five cards and top of a doubleton, or third-highest from four cards). These methods tend to help the defenders get a count from the lead, whereas fourth-highest and second from a bad suit may help with the attitude of the opening leader.

Against three spades, West led the heart king; this went to the five, three and nine. Using upside-down count, when West next led a low heart to East’s ace, declarer playing the two, there was some ambiguity as to whether East had begun with A-10-2 or A-2. But third-and-fifth leads should come to the rescue!

After winning the heart ace, East shifted to the club six, to declarer’s three, the jack and the ace. East then took the diamond king with the ace and continued with the club five.

When West won his king, he could be sure East didn’t have only two clubs, because South had so far already shown seven spades, two hearts, two clubs and one diamond. The spot-card lead in clubs let West be sure his partner had four clubs; therefore, declarer had only two clubs. Thus, he could try to cash the heart queen, with confidence that this was his only chance to defeat the contract.



First things first: Don’t jump to three no-trump unless you have absolutely no faith in your partner’s declarer play! That said, with game-forcing values and a weak major, I see no reason not to bid one diamond here. You may or may not introduce your hearts over a one no-trump rebid from your partner, depending on whether North would bypass a major with a balanced hand at his second turn.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 7
 J 8 7 5
 K Q 7 4
♣ A 10 4
South West North East
    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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 1st, 2019

Do not all charms fly At the mere touch of cold philosophy?

John Keats


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

♠3

When West leads the spade three against three no-trump, South counts seven sure winners from spades, hearts and clubs. So the target is to set up two additional tricks. South can develop at least one trick from the diamonds. If the ace is favorably located, South will be able to take both of his diamond tricks. A further possibility is a finesse in hearts or finding the clubs breaking. The key is in which order to try for those tricks.

After ducking the first spade then taking the spade ace in dummy, declarer immediately leads a low diamond from the dummy in the hope of developing two diamond tricks. South puts up the diamond king, planning, if it wins, to cross back to a top club and play another diamond toward his remaining honor. As it happens, West captures declarer’s king, meaning South can win only one diamond trick without losing the lead.

West now clears spades, leaving South to look for a new way to develop his ninth trick. He turns his attention to clubs, cashing the ace and king. If they break, all will be well. But when West discards a heart on the second club, it is clear that declarer will have to go elsewhere for honey.

Declarer can do little but lead a low heart from dummy to his ace and then play a low heart toward dummy’s king-jack, finessing against West, hoping that player has the queen. Third time’s a charm! When the heart finesse succeeds, declarer cashes out and surrenders the balance.



Clearly, you are going to lead a heart, but should it be low or high? The fourth-highest heart is surely best. Imagine that partner has any doubleton heart from the nine or higher, and declarer has four hearts. You will see that leading the low card should help unblock the suit and avoid wasting a high card. With the heart eight instead of the seven, I might feel differently.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ K 7 3
 J 10 7 5 2
 7 4
♣ A 10 4
South West North East
      1 ♣
Pass 1 ♠ Pass 2 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 30th, 2019

What should I do if I am about to be dummy and my partner has explained one of my calls incorrectly? When, if at all, should I say something when I’m not completely sure whether it was my mistake or his?

Lady’s Slipper, Mitchell, S.D.

When the auction is over, you must generally correct a false explanation. This applies whether you are going to be dummy or declarer. If you realize you have bid improperly and your partner explained your call correctly, you may not have to put that explanation right. But be aware that the director may assume a false explanation rather than an incorrect bid. (Note: As a defender, you would wait until the end of the hand before speaking up.)

Recently I held ♠ K-J-9,  9-3-2,  Q-10-3-2, ♣ K-7-4, and heard my partner open two clubs. Our agreement is that two diamonds is a waiting bid, with a suit bid showing length and strength. Is there any upper limit to the two-diamond bid? What would you do here?

Frog Prince, Montgomery, Ala.

Partner won’t pass your two-diamond call, so you can describe your hand accurately later. Your partner may not expect you to have decent cards, but he will not discount that possibility. I would not bid an immediate two no-trump with this holding, as it pre-empts partner’s description of his hand, though there is nothing wrong with doing that.

My hand was ♠ 9-7-4,  A-10-8-3-2,  J-6, ♣ Q-J-5. When my partner overcalled two clubs over a one-diamond opener, what was my best approach?

Bumblebee, Pleasanton, Calif.

Do not bid two hearts, which would overstate your suit and high-card strength. A simple raise to three clubs looks best to me, since you may still be able to get back to hearts if your partner has extras. A cue-bid raise to two diamonds would be ideal with a slightly better hand — maybe queen-third of spades would suffice here.

My partner and I disagree about a suit combination. How should you play a singleton facing K-Q-10-8-7-4 to maximize the number of tricks you can take?

By the Book, Hartford, Conn.

Compare the plans to lead up to either the 10 or queen, and follow up with a top card. The only way you can take five tricks is to lead to the 10 and find the suit 3-3 with the jack onside. Leading to the 10 loses a trick unnecessarily only when the jack is singleton or doubleton offside — and if your left-hand opponent is short, his partner probably has any missing honor.

At a duplicate event last week, I ran into a deal where each player had 11 cards either in the majors or the minors. Since each player was facing a misfit hand, nobody made a contract in either direction. Does that sort of thing happen often?

Loss Leader, Macon, Ga.

It is rare to score well for going down in a contract, but I do remember it happening. Once in a while, escaping a double may be the key; but on one occasion my opponents made a doubled contract for plus 180 and lost out to the field going minus 200 or more. They weren’t happy!


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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, June 29th, 2019

In a world where England is finished and dead,
I do not wish to live.

Alice Duer Miller


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

*Strong

**Any game-forcing hand

3

When is a sure trump trick not a sure trump trick? Look at this board from England against Finland in last year’s European Championships.

Clas Nyberg declared six diamonds, a slam that would have been defeated on a club lead and any trump break. In fact, even five diamonds would go down as the cards lie. Even after a low heart to East’s ace, East must have felt reasonably good about the deal, looking at his trump holding.

After winning the spade return, Nyberg cashed the diamond ace, unblocked the heart king, went back to dummy with a spade and played the heart queen. If East ruffed low now, declarer would be home free. If East ruffed with the nine or 10, he would still be over-ruffed, and the position would develop into an easy trump coup.

When East did not ruff in, declarer’s club losers went away on the major-suit winners. In the six-card ending (after three spades, three hearts and a diamond), he led a major suit from dummy.

Now what was East to do? When he discarded a club declarer next lead out the club ace and continued with another side-suit card. Down to nothing but trumps, East finally had to split his diamond honors. Declarer overruffed, led a diamond to the queen, and now executed the trump coup.

Note that six diamonds can be defeated if East finds a club switch, as this knocks out the late dummy entry that is required to operate the trump coup. Would you have found it?



It is always worth going over the basics from time to time. This is a penalty double, so pass and await developments. You may not have a great hand, but you never promised your partner a rose garden. There is no such thing as a takeout double facing a pre-empt; the pre-emptor has defined his hand already.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 3
 K 2
 K J 8 5 4 2
♣ 8 3 2
South West North East
2 2 ♠ Dbl. 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

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