Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.

Mark Twain


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

J

Too many competent players boast that they have never read a bridge book in their lives. As someone who works as a writer, I am always surprised at how many basic positions are missed by players who might have encountered that very position in a book. A little learning may be a dangerous thing, but zero learning tends to work even worse.

In today’s deal, South offered a choice of games at the four-level, and North’s return to four spades ended the auction. West led the diamond jack, and South tried to make East’s task as hard as he could when he put up the king.

East won and shifted to a club, hoping somewhat optimistically that his side could take two club tricks, and that West would turn up with a winner in one of the major suits as well.

West won with his ace and returned a club, but it was to no avail. Dummy’s queen was covered by the king and ruffed. When West got in with his spade king, there was no hope for the defense — declarer was in complete control.

East should have reasoned that West was likely to hold four trumps. Instead of leading back the club six, he might have tried broaching clubs by leading the king. Then the defenders would have been in business. Declarer is immediately shortened in trumps on the second round of clubs (which he has to ruff). When West gets in with the spade king, West can force him again by leading the club ace, to ensure a second trump trick for his side.


Did you pass, grateful to be taken off the hook? That would be a very cowardly attitude. This hand is full value for a two-club call. Partner asked you to bid, and you have a reasonable suit and decent values. There is no reason not to dive into the auction to compete the part-score.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 4 3 2
 10 5
 K 8 7
♣ Q J 8 3 2
South West North East
Pass 1 ♠ Dbl. 1 NT
?      

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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

If your regime is not strong enough to handle a joke, then you don’t have a regime.

Jon Stewart


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

♠2

In “Keys to Winning Bridge,” Frank Stewart debunks several of the game’s longstanding myths. One of the principles of defense in Whist, as espoused in the eighteenth century, was: When in doubt, win the trick. But as Stewart comments, though Edmond Hoyle’s axiom may have seemed valid 250 years ago, we have moved on from there.

Let’s take a look at three no-trump here. West leads the spade two, and dummy’s jack wins. Declarer continues with a low diamond from dummy, diamond to East’s eight and his own king. If West takes his ace and leads, say, the spade queen, declarer wins and ducks a diamond. He takes the next trick and runs the diamonds, winning three diamonds, three spades, two clubs and a heart.

West should refuse to take the diamond ace, ducking as smoothly as he can. Declarer may lead another diamond and play low from dummy, hoping East held the doubleton ace-eight, but even if South reads the position correctly, he will never get more than two diamond tricks in any case, thanks to the absence of entries to dummy.

Let’s contrast the position if the king and jack of clubs were switched, so that West could be reasonably confident that dummy had an entry on the side. Now if you duck the diamond, you turn two sure tricks into one, so at matchpoints it may be right to win the trick. It would be even more difficult to plan the defense if dummy’s club jack were the queen. Now you can’t be sure whether dummy has an entry or not; but fortunately that isn’t our problem today.


There are times when you redouble with 10+ points but on most of those occasions you are either short in, or do not have too many values in, your partner’s suit. Here it seems unlikely you can extract a real penalty from all three side suits, so I would simply bid one spade and allow the auction to develop as if the opponents had not acted.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 10 8 2
 K 10 2
 A J 9
♣ 8 7 4
South West North East
  Pass 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 6th, 2017

The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.

Johan von Goethe


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

Q

In today’s deal, a straightforward strong no-trump auction leads you to three no-trump. North would need the diamond queen instead of the two to start contemplating higher contracts.

West leads the top of his heart sequence against the no-trump game, and it would be easy to relax and to fail to focus on what might go wrong. You will have plenty of tricks if diamonds behave and the suit breaks 3-2. Similarly, if West has diamond length, you should be able to negotiate the position easily enough. But what if East has long diamonds? You cannot do much about a 5-0 break, and some 4-1 breaks will prove too challenging. But if West has the bare queen, or if he has a singleton nine or 10, you can take steps to neutralize the defenders’ holdings.

Win the heart king at trick one to preserve dummy’s entries, then lead to the diamond ace and observe the fall of West’s nine. You can now guarantee your contract by leading a low diamond from dummy and covering East’s card. If East plays the 10 or queen, you can set up the suit easily. If he plays low, you put on the eight, knowing that if West wins the trick, the suit will break 3-2. And if West shows out on the second diamond, as here, you cash the king, go to the club ace and play a fourth diamond. You still have a heart entry to the board to cash the fifth diamond.

Of course, if West turns up with four diamonds, go up with the king and play a third diamond.


While it might be right to lead from one of your four-card suits (diamonds looks better than clubs since partner did not take the opportunity to double two clubs), my gut tells me desperate measures are called for — I should look for partner’s five-card major. Here, a respectable five-card heart suit might be enough, so I will lead a low heart and cross my fingers.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ K 5
 Q 9 2
 J 7 6 4
♣ J 9 7 4
South West North East
    Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 ♣ Pass 2
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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, November 5th, 2017

In a strong no-trump base, when you hold a balanced 10-11 count in response to partner’s opening bid, do you tend to invite game or go low? Specifically, with ♠ K-2,  A-10-8-2,  J-9-3, ♣ Q-7-4-3, what do you do when your partner opens one club and the next hand overcalls one heart? I chose a slightly pessimistic bid of one no-trump, and that ended the auction. But when my partner tabled a 14-count with five clubs, we wrapped up 10 tricks.

Cereal Killer, Augusta, Ga.

I would go low, just as you did. This hand looks like we should be in part-score territory unless partner produces extra shape or high cards. Give me the diamond queen instead of the jack, and I would invite game with a jump to two no-trump, which is invitational, but not forcing.

I enjoy playing Precision, and I was wondering if you would recommend that over the Blue Club base you and Bob Hamman used to play? I’d be interested in learning more about your approach to bidding in terms of the ratio of simple to complex.

Man-o’-War, Bremerton, Wash.

I’m happy to rely on judgment as much as system. So our Blue Club base was largely cobbled together from methods we had in common. Both of us prefer four-card majors to five, and we are prepared to play two-over-one as not game-forcing. These days, those are both minority positions, and they are not methods I’d espouse in this column.

At unfavorable vulnerability, I held ♠ K-10,  A-K-10-7-4-2,  Q-J-7-4, ♣ K. I opened one heart in fourth seat, my LHO overcalled one spade and my partner raised to two hearts. Would you have passed, driven to game or invited with three hearts now? I chose to bid three hearts, and my partner passed with the spade ace and four hearts to the queen-jack. Should my partner have raised me to four hearts, or should I have jumped directly to game?

Star Chamber, Tupelo, Miss.

I would prefer to drive to game here, since the sixth heart means that if you can’t make four hearts, they might make quite a bit. I play three hearts not as a game try here, but as a barrage. So if I wanted to make a game try, I would probably bid three diamonds.

Is there such a thing as the defenders, not declarer, claiming honors in a trump suit? Of course, I am speaking of rubber bridge.

Sheikh of Araby, Grand Forks, N.D.

If I understand you correctly, your question is whether the defenders can claim honors when declarer is playing a trump suit. The answer is yes — rare but painful when it happens! I’ve only seen it once (and I was the victim as dummy).

My partner opened a strong no-trump, which we play as 15-plus to a bad 18. I held a six-card club suit to the jack and scattered values, with a king, queen and jack in the other suits. When I transferred to clubs with a call of two spades, my partner showed a fit with a call of three clubs. Would you consider bidding on in either pairs or teams?

Bob the Builder, Trenton, N.J.

I probably wouldn’t bid game non-vulnerable in teams or in pairs. Change the hand to kingjack sixth of clubs with a king on the side, and now you have an easy continuation to three no-trump.


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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 4th, 2017

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Willie Nelson


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

*Checkback

♣2

Part of Goldilocks’ rent payment, apart from an extended duty cleaning dishes, is listening to the convoluted stories that the Three Bears bring back from the bridge club.

When this deal was played at their club, all three were sitting East, so they had the chance to compare results over the next morning’s porridge.

Papa Bear had seen nothing of interest in the deal at all. “I was a little surprised to score below average here. My partner found his only decent lead of the night — a small club. I won my jack and continued the suit, then took the spade jack with my queen and continued the attack on clubs, but declarer won and eventually drove out my spade ace. Since there was no way to reach my partner’s hand, South came to nine tricks easily enough.”

Mama Bear told her story next. “If I had been lucky enough to win the first club, I would have known to shift to hearts to try to kill dummy’s entry, or even shift to diamonds. But South won the first trick and led a spade to the jack and my queen. He ducked the next club, and now it was too late for the defense.”

“Not at my table!” interrupted Baby Bear. “My partner also led a club. Declarer won the trick and led a spade to the jack, which I ducked. He crossed to hand in hearts and led a spade up, which I won and reverted to clubs. Declarer could set up a long heart, but still had only eight tricks, since he did not have the entries to establish spades.”


As a passed hand, you have more than enough to join in with two spades here. Because you passed rather than pre-empting on your first turn, you have already indirectly limited your hand and suit strength. The call of two spades here suggests a reasonable five-card suit and a moderate hand, and you have both, in that your three-card club tolerance gives partner an escape route if necessary.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K J 10 9 7
 K 7 5
 9 2
♣ 7 6 4
South West North East
Pass 1 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Paradox has been defined as ‘Truth standing on her head to get attention.’

G.K. Chesterton


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

♠6

Bob Hamman’s frequently repeated saying that the best play lousy and the rest play worse may be supported by what might appear to be an absurd series of results here. But some deals are just too challenging for ordinary mortals.

This deal comes from Salt Lake City 15 years ago. Where I was watching, Nicholas Gartaganis for Canada opened three spades as East, and Jacek Pszczola overcalled three no-trump. His partner, Michal Kwiecien, raised to four no-trump, and that ended the auction for plus-460. Nicely bid — but not all the other pairs were so reticent. In fact, the potential for swings was huge, since in all four matches of the playoffs and finals, one table opened the East hand four spades, and South overcalled five diamonds and was raised to six diamonds by North. With two aces to cash, can you guess how many of the four pairs of defenders allowed the slam to make?

Naturally, all four Wests led a spade. While I suppose you could make some sort of case for the club ace, it is just too likely to cost your side the second trick in that suit. All four Easts won their ace and knew that the most likely way to beat the slam was to collect a slow club trick or to cash an ace. If an ace was out, then a heart return now would only let through the contract if declarer had a doubleton ace-queen or ace-jack, along with a singleton club. So all four Easts played back a heart — contract made!


Sometimes you have to close your eyes and guess. Here, my best guess would be to bid slam rather than introducing my suit at the five-level or raising partner to five. I would bid six spades rather than six diamonds, since as little as ace-king-fifth of spades appears to give partner some sort of play in slam.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 10 2
 A J
 A K 10 7 6 5 4
♣ 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♠ 5 ♣
?      

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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Martin Luther King Jr


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

♠6

Here South has a simple call of two clubs on his first turn, but no reason to do more than rebid two no-trump on his second. This is invitational, not forcing; a two-over-one in competition does not even guarantee a second call.

After West leads the spade six against three no-trump, South must bring in the clubs to make his game, no matter who has the club ace. Imagine declarer plays low from dummy at trick one and East puts in the nine. South can duck to try to kill the spades, but this line of play will fail if East has the club ace. The duck will be fatal since East will later get the lead with the club ace and will run the spades.

Conversely, if the cards lie as they do in the diagram and South wins the first spade, West will grab his club ace and play a second spade through to kill the contract. However, assuming West has led from a doubleton spade, then to make sure of the contract regardless of the location of the club ace, South needs to put up the spade queen from dummy at once.

East must win with the ace, or South will still have the spade king poised over East’s ace, and the spades will not pose a threat. But if East now leads another spade, South can let it ride around to dummy’s 10, so East must shift. In turn, that gives South time to develop the clubs while he still has the protection of his spade king.


Whether or not you play two-over-one as forcing in an uncompetitive auction, almost everyone would play this sequence as invitational, but not forcing. With a better hand, your partner would have to cue-bid on his second turn. That said, you have enough to bid three no-trump now. You may not make it, but you have too much in hand to pass out three clubs.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 10 2
 A Q 9 8 3
 A Q J 9
♣ 10
South West North East
1 1 ♠ 2 ♣ Pass
2 Pass 3 ♣ 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Exceptions are the exceptions, and finds are like ants; whenever you see one, you may be sure there are twenty.

Anne Fortier


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

♣K

Even the best rules have exceptions. Ducking an ace when dummy has a singleton may persuade declarer to misguess the position. But how often can declarer misguess when you as defender hold both the ace and queen? Read on.

When France met Monaco in the 2016 European Championship, Geir Helgemo and Tor Helness for Monaco faced Michel and Thomas Bessis. Both tables played five spades here on the lead of the club king. South correctly inferred that clubs were breaking 5-1, so took the first trick.

In one room, when declarer drew trumps ending in dummy and called for dummy’s diamond, East rose with the ace — and now the contract was home without a struggle. Declarer could pitch one loser on the diamond king, then run the diamond jack, pitching from dummy again. All he lost was two diamonds. He took two diamonds, one club and eight trumps.

For Monaco, Helgemo also led the club king, won by the ace. Declarer drew trumps, ending in dummy, then played the diamond nine. When East, Helness, played low smoothly, Bessis played the king, and from here on in had to go one down. His play was based on the fact that he was sure from the bidding that East had the ace. But had he played low from his hand, his nine would have held. After ruffing a heart to hand, he could have led out high diamonds from hand and discarded club losers from dummy.

East cannot prevent declarer from eventually coming to two diamond tricks, one club, and eight trumps.


This answer is partly about style and partly about judgment. I’d like to rebid two spades here, even if it suggests six — which in my style, it does not. A bid of three of a minor should show either five cards or extras. Even worse, it might lose us our fit in the fourth suit.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K J 10 9 2
 —
 K J 10 3
♣ A 6 5 3
South West North East
      Pass
1 ♠ 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I’ll kick you downstairs!

Lewis Carroll


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

*Hearts

3

In today’s deal, which comes from the semifinal of a regional knockout, Gavin Wolpert brought home a delicate game. He played it very nicely, but the deal just goes to prove that, as Bob Hamman said: The best play lousy and the rest play worse. See if you can spot how the defenders missed their chances.

The contract of four hearts looks fine — except on a diamond lead — but that is what West led. Wolpert ducked the diamond jack, then won the diamond continuation as West followed with his small diamond. Wolpert now led a low club to dummy’s queen, which won the trick. Yes, West could have flown up with the ace, but that would have looked silly if South had held king-third of clubs.

When the spade finesse held, Wolpert crossed his fingers and cashed the heart ace-king followed by the spade ace, before exiting with a third diamond.

Much to his surprise and pleasure, his LHO was forced to win the trick and had no spade or heart to lead. He could cash his club ace, but then had to lead a club and concede a ruff-and-discard. Wolpert could ruff in hand, discarding the spade from dummy. He could next ruff a spade to dummy, to draw the last trump and claim his contract.

So have you spotted the significant error on defense? West should have unblocked his diamond king at trick two, so that he could let East win the third diamond and avoid the endplay.


This hand seems to be at the very bottom of the threshold for a jump to three hearts. The spade fragment may be useful facing shortness, and it is easy to imagine making game facing an opening bid with a singleton spade. If you play that your take-out doubles normally deliver shape-suitable openers, as you should, then your hand is just worth this action.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 10 7 3
 A Q 6 5 4
 9 6 2
♣ Q 10
South West North East
  1 ♠ 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 30th, 2017

’Forward the Light Brigade!’ Was there a man dismayed?

Lord Tennyson


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

*Ace and king in different suits or three kings

♣10

Today’s deal comes from the U.S. Nationals 15 years ago. It is often the case that virtue goes unrewarded at the bridge table, as a poor bid or play goes unpunished, or worse, is rewarded by a highly favorable lie of the cards. Today was not one of those days, though, since Jon Wittes and Ross Grabel used their system to get to the right spot, then took advantage of their auction to bring in a huge swing.

There are all sorts of methods to show controls in response to a two-club opening. The one in use here allocates one call to show an ace and king in the same suit, and another for three kings or an ace and king in separate suits. (By the way, these responses are better than responding in steps to show HCP.)

Wittes found his partner with the club ace and heart king on his first turn, then managed to bid his suits to give his partner an intelligent choice as to which slam to play.

After a trump lead, Wittes drew two rounds of clubs and cashed the diamond ace-king. Eureka! He ran into the specific lie of the cards that would reward his carefulness, where the same hand had short diamonds and no more than two clubs.

When one of the defenders showed out of diamonds but had no trumps with which to ruff, that allowed Wittes to ruff his diamond loser in dummy, draw the last trump and claim 13 tricks. This was a gain of 16 IMPs against seven diamonds down one in the other room.


With a choice of four evils, try the least offensive one. Neither major seems like a good idea, though a heart might turn out to be passive. Spades are especially dangerous with known length on my left. Since partner didn’t double clubs, I’ll lead a low diamond and keep my fingers crossed.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 9 3 2
 J 7 2
 A 7 4
♣ Q 6 2
South West North East
    Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 ♣ Pass 2
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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

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