Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.

J. B. Priestley


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

♣A

Sometimes you have to take a chance to compete effectively. West's three diamond bid is risky, with no guarantee of a fit, but the aces and trump intermediates offer some protection from a double. North's final call is a difficult decision: He has trump tricks but no aces. Indeed, even after we see the full deal it is hard to tell how East-West would have fared in three hearts doubled.

After leading the club ace, West can see that dummy’s hearts and clubs will eventually provide discards for declarer’s diamond losers. No special measures are necessary if East has the spade king or diamond king. But if East’s only significant value is the diamond queen, more work is needed. Passive defense will not suffice: West must try to find a way to put East on lead to give a club ruff. Leading out the diamond ace would fail, because East will never get on lead, so a low diamond is the best chance. If East has the diamond king, the defense can cash out.

If declarer wins the diamond shift, West can learn that East doesn’t have the spade king by taking the second round of that suit and underleading his diamond ace again to get East on lead for a club ruff.

Of course, South can make West’s task just a little harder by putting up the diamond jack at trick two, but West should risk investing an overtrick by underleading his diamonds a second time, whatever declarer does.


Despite the fact that you have a minimum in high cards, you should be tempted to compete to three diamonds now. Partner will not go mad; he passed over two hearts and he knows you are a passed hand. You'd like more assets than you have; but that's life.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 10 9 8 7
 3 2
 K 9 8 6
♣ 3 2
South West North East
Pass
Pass Pass 1 1
1♠ 2 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

The gods are on the side of the stronger.

Tacitus


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

K

When North set spades as trump after South had shown 12-14 points and a balanced hand, South had enough to show slam-suitability with a cuebid of four diamonds. That was enough for North, who checked on aces using Keycard Blackwood and drove to slam after hearing the response of two aces and the trump queen.

Slam would have been excellent on any lead but a diamond; however, that was West’s natural lead. South ducked the diamond king and won the continuation of the diamond jack with the ace. He then ruffed a diamond high in dummy, cashed the club ace-king, and ran all the trumps.

This is an example of a Vienna Coup, since it transfers the club menace to the South hand, and produces a three-card ending where declarer has three hearts in dummy and two hearts and the club jack in hand. As the last trump is led out East has to discard a small heart, and declarer now has to guess from the demeanor of the various players at the table whether East has come down to the doubleton heart 10, or Q-10 doubleton. If the former South must run the heart jack; if the latter, South must play hearts from the top and the nine will be good at trick 12.

There is no correct way to play the hand; South must gauge from the players’ demeanor at the table and the ease with which they make discards how likely one position is compared to the other.


There are players who will not be able to look beyond the small doubleton diamond and the relatively weak spades, and who will open one club. I strongly advise against that if you are playing a 15-17 no-trump, as most do nowadays. This is in essence a balanced hand, as are most hands with a 5-3-3-2 shape. So open one no-trump, announcing the strength of your hand at one go.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 10 2
 A K 9
 5 2
♣ A K 6 3 2
South West North East
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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 10th, 2014

The wise through excess of wisdom is made a fool.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


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

♠7

If South had planned ahead properly, he might have brought home his contact of three no-trumps here. When West led the spade seven, dummy played low and East allowed South to win the trick with the jack. Now the contact was destined to fail. Declarer tried to sneak an entry to dummy in order to take the club finesse by leading the heart jack. But West was on the ball and hopped up smartly with the ace to play his spade back, allowing East to run the suit for down one.

By contrast, try the effect of playing dummy’s spade 10 at trick one. If East ducks, declarer is in dummy and can take an immediate club finesse. And if East cashes his top spades South has little choice but to play West for the heart ace, hoping East has no further entry to his hand. That way, South can engineer an entry to dummy with the heart king for the club finesse. When in dummy, he can afford to play East for king-third in clubs by leading the club 10, thereby blocking the suit, since four club tricks will suffice.

Should East allow the spade 10 to hold at trick one, South must play East specifically for the singleton or doubleton club king by leading low from dummy and finessing the queen then cashing the ace, thereby leaving an entry to dummy with the club 10. If clubs behave, declarer unblocks his diamond honors and runs dummy’s club and diamond winners for nine tricks.


I wish I could give you a convincing reason for whether to go aggressive with a spade or diamond lead, or passive with a club or even a trump lead. My instincts are strongly against a trump lead, and the danger of leading a bid suit is that your partner will play you for a singleton not a doubleton. A diamond looks more likely to be effective to me than a spade; but it is a close call.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 8 5 3
 10 4
 K 9 4 3 2
♣ 3 2
South West North East
Pass 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, November 9th, 2014

How do I learn to keep track of the cards? I find myself forgetting the missing spots, or even mis-remembering the count at the critical moment.

Mind Gamer, Duluth, Minn.

When counting trumps, look at your own hand and dummy's and remember how many are missing. Then don't think about your own trumps anymore; just tick off the opponents' trumps mentally as you go through the hand. You do not have to count all the suits all the time, but on each deal focus on the suit or suits you think of as critical.

Would you consider overcalling one heart over one diamond with: ♠ J-3,  A-J-8-3-2,  J-5-3, ♣ Q-10-4. My partner told me afterwards that while he respected my right not to do so, it was normal if aggressive to act. Please clarify for me how the form of scoring and vulnerability might affect the decision?

Staying Mum, Honolulu, Hawaii

With the heart 10 instead of the two I would overcall at any vulnerability or position. With the actual hand when vulnerable, no matter what the form of scoring, it is reasonable to pass this hand rather than make an overcall that consumes no space. However, I suspect when non-vulnerable it would be the majority expert position to overcall. One should also be a little more prudent when partner is a passed hand.

In a match where I was playing at the other table, one of our teammates picked up a one-count with the spade jack and 10 and 4-3-3-3 shape. He responded two diamonds to two clubs and passed his partner's two spade rebid — making five facing a 29-count. How far forcing is the two-club bid, and what should one do with a bust at one's second turn?

Hero to Zero, Ketchikan, Alaska

Two clubs is a game force except on two well-defined auctions. These are when opener rebids a major and repeats that major over a second negative – I advocate using three clubs to say that, so this is what I would have rebid with the one-count. A two no-trump rebid by opener shows 22-24 points and is also nonforcing.

Note that responder can jump to four spades over two spades with a very weak hand, and a doubleton plus three or four trumps. I wouldn’t do that with this flat a hand.

What is the best plan for a rebid with the following powerhouse? When you open one diamond and your partner responds one heart, how do you describe this hand at your next turn: ♠ J-3,  A-K-6,  A-Q-9-5-3, ♣ A-10-4? Are you supposed to rebid two no-trump with the spades wide open, or raise hearts, or bid clubs — or do something else?

Missing the Mark, Torrance, Calif.

A vote for three hearts, or even for two clubs, might represent a minority position. But I'm guessing most would opt for a semi-practical rebid of two no-trumps, getting the hand strength and nature across, while ignoring the lack of a spade stopper. Nothing's perfect, but this is less intellectual and more down to earth than anything else.

Yesterday we played a bridge hand which caused controversy. Holding: ♠ A-9-4-2,  A-10,  10-8-6-5, ♣ 9-5-3, my partner responded one spade to one club, then had to decide whether to raise his partner's two club rebid to three or whether to pass. Is this a close call? (For the record opener had a minimum hand with 1-5-1-6 pattern and very weak hearts plus very good clubs, so five clubs but not three no-trump was the place to play).

Minority Report, East Brunswick, N.J.

The hand is a toss-up between passing two clubs and raising to three clubs. I'd probably bid because of the aces but also to keep the opponents out. Now the 6-5 hand will surely bid three hearts, but I'm not sure if he will drive to five clubs over the weak hand's sign-off in four clubs.


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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 8th, 2014

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.

Dwight D. Eisenhower


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

♠K

On today's deal South's four diamonds set diamonds as trump and was virtually forcing. When North cooperated with what South read as a cuebid, South optimistically used Blackwood and drove to slam. West led a top spade and received count in the suit from his partner, then intelligently switched to a trump to kill one of the ruffs. As declarer you may care to take over after this start and plan the play to develop 12 tricks.

Good technique should see a double squeeze develop. The critical element of the play is that you need to make sure that only one defender can guard each black suit. You must win the trump in dummy and ruff a spade, then cash the club ace and king and ruff a club with dummy’s last trump. Now ruff a spade back to hand, isolating the spade menace with West, and run all your trumps. When you play your last trump, one opponent is guarding spades, and one opponent is guarding clubs. In the two-card ending West pitches down to a bare heart honor to preserve his spade winner, and you now pitch the spade from dummy to squeeze East in hearts and clubs. If he lets a club go, you cash your club six; if he pitches a heart dummy’s heart jack will take trick 13.

Just for the record, had West worked out to lead a trump initially, the defenders would have prevailed. After the actual first trick, there was no defense to the slam.


Rather than transferring to hearts, you should bid Stayman, planning a call of two hearts over the two-diamond response, aiming to play a major at the two-level. It is less clear what to do if partner shows a major. With no great confidence I'd suggest passing a two-spade response, and raising a two-heart response to three.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 9 8 3
 A J 8 4 3
 10 7
♣ 8 3
South West North East
Pass Pass 1 NT 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 7th, 2014

I leave this rule for others when I'm dead,
Be always sure you’re right – then go ahead.

David Crockett


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

♠7

You will be faced with a series of problems as East today. After the auction starts with South opening one diamond and North responding one heart, there are many players who would feel obligated to act. But despite your quick tricks, you have sterile distribution and no reason not to assume that you are outgunned on the deal.

So you pass, perhaps planning to re-enter the auction if the opportunity presents itself. Instead, you hear South jump to two no-trumps and North raise to game. Your partner leads the spade seven. You play fourth highest leads, but also second from four small and you may also lead top of three small. Declarer plays low from dummy and it is up to you to decide what to do now, and how to plan the defense.

Partner has almost a bust — but there is just about room for him to hold a heart honor such as the queen. Your best chance is to try to deny dummy an entry, so play the spade nine at trick one. Declarer can still succeed by playing on hearts, since the spades are blocked. But he does not know that.

Since he cannot see through the cards, he is likely to try to get to dummy with the club queen in order to take a diamond finesse. If you can stop him from doing this by winning the club ace and clearing the spades, then shifting to hearts, you will defeat three no-trumps.


The choices here are to pass, which might freeze your side out of the auction for good, or to double, since you cannot really overcall one no-trump with the wrong high-card values and such a feeble club stopper. If I advocate a double, my readers might leave in droves — but in my heart I believe that this might be our best way to compete at relatively little risk.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A K 9
 10 9 5
 K 5 2
♣ A 7 3 2
South West North East
Pass 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 6th, 2014

The children of men are deceitful upon the weights;
They are altogether lighter than vanity itself.

Prayer Book


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

♣K

Deception is an important part of the game. This is easier to attempt when you are declarer than when you are a defender, because in the latter case there is always the danger that partner may be the one deceived. However, opportunities for defensive deception do crop up from time to time.

Put yourself in declarer’s shoes in four spades, when West leads a top club and East contributes the three, showing no interest. West continues with a second top club on which East plays the jack — a suit-preference signal for a heart. West now switches to the heart four. What would you do as declarer?

There are two possible lines of play: You can play low on the heart, hoping West has led away from the king, or you can rise with the heart ace, cash the spade ace-king and the diamond king-queen, and then cross to dummy with the club queen (presumably if East had been ruffing the third club, West would have continued with another club at trick three), in the hopes that the diamond jack would fall, giving you two heart discards.

It is all a question of who you are playing against. In truth, though, the odds of the first line are significantly better than the second line since you can also cope with some bad trump breaks. So unless I was convinced that East was a very honest fellow, I would prefer the first line; but I would congratulate East for doing his best to deceive me.


Here your hand appears to be relatively suitable for defense, but I would still advocate raising to three spades pre-emptively because it makes your LHO's task so much harder. You may tempt him into indiscretion — and after all, how is he to know you have this hand and not one weaker by an ace and a king? Bidding may lead to a small loss, but it may also lead to a large gain.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 7 4
 K 7 6 4
 8 6 4
♣ A K 2
South West North East
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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Big doors swing on little hinges.

W. Clement Stone


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

*Three-card spade support

♣5

In today's heart game the Polish declarer in an International match won the club lead and immediately played a heart to the ace and another heart. East won her king and played a second club, ruffed in hand. Declarer now led a spade to dummy's 10 and East's jack. Back came a spade, but West withheld her king, of course. Now declarer could discard only one diamond from her hand. She had to broach diamonds herself, and inevitably lost two tricks in the suit for one down.

In truth, this was an uninspired effort. Declarer should win the club ace and ruff a club at trick two. Now when she plays ace and another heart, East would be endplayed. If she plays a spade, declarer has no losers in that suit and can afford two diamond losers. If East plays a diamond, declarer makes three tricks in that suit and loses only the ace. Giving her a ruff and discard makes things very easy for South.

This swing turned out to be especially important, since the North-South pair in the other room had defended three clubs for two down, when South had not thought her hand worth an overcall at adverse vulnerability. Accordingly, it turned out to be a sizeable pick-up in one direction, instead of the swing going the other way, had the game been brought home.

Incidentally, would you have overcalled as South? I think you have to bid. Too dangerous is no excuse…


It is important to distinguish between a responsive and a penalty double. In this auction, where the opponents have not agreed on a suit, the double of one heart is for penalty, showing hearts (typically at least three hearts, more commonly four). But when the opponents bid and raise a suit around a double, your partner's double is for takeout. As it is, you should pass now and await developments.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A Q 10 9
 10 9 8 7
 K 9 7
♣ A 4
South West North East
1♣
Dbl. 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.

Jonathan Swift


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

♣J

In today's deal North gambled that his side was not missing the two top hearts — or that the defenders would not cash them if they had them. His jump to five no-trumps was an effort to get to diamonds if his partner had a good four-card suit or five diamonds, since North could see that a spade slam might require a decent trump break if South had honor-third of spades. Meanwhile, from South's perspective he knew his diamonds were good, but was not sure if his partner had the spade queen.

Against six diamonds the lead of the club jack left South contemplating safety plays in the trump suit, such as cashing the ace, or even taking both top trumps, then playing a crossruff. He won the club ace and led a low diamond from dummy, and when the queen appeared, a different conundrum presented itself. If West had four trumps, it might be difficult to take two club ruffs in dummy and retain an entry to the spades. South found the answer when he ducked the diamond queen. He won the heart shift in hand and ruffed a club, came to the diamond ace and ruffed a second club, then used the spade king as his entry to hand to draw trumps, discarding dummy’s heart losers.

He ended up scoring five spades, three trumps, two aces, and two ruffs for his 12 tricks. And note that with the heart finesse losing and diamonds not behaving, the odds are stacked against declarer in six spades.


You can set up a game-forcing auction with a call of three clubs, and support hearts later, or jump in hearts directly. A call of three hearts would suggest invitational values, so you should do more than that. But is a call of four hearts enough? I say yes — the singleton club ace is not pulling its full weight here. Give me a small singleton club and ace-fourth of diamonds, and I would do more.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A Q 7 4 2
 Q 7 2
 7 6 3 2
♣ A
South West North East
Pass 1 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 3rd, 2014

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced or cried aloud:
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed.

W. E. Henley


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

K

The old ways were not always the best ways, but it is undeniable that it was far easier for South to reach slam on today's deal by opening a strong two than it would have been had he opened one spade and jumped to three hearts. Meanwhile one must also give North credit for cooperating in the slam venture with only three trumps, a move that might not have worked out as well as it did had South had less robust trumps.

Against six hearts, West led the diamond king. You may care to plan the play and see if you can do as well as the declarer at the table did. The point of the deal is that slam is easy to make if spades break 3-3, and you are also well placed if it is East with spade length. But you can improve on your basic chances by a spot of jiu-jitsu.

Win the diamond ace and play ace, king and another spade. If West discards or ruffs in you should be able to maneuver to take two ruffs in dummy – whether it is two spades or one spade and one diamond. But when West follows to the third spade, you must take care to discard dummy’s diamond. You can win the trump return in hand and ruff a diamond low, play the club ace and ruff a club, then later ruff a spade high in the dummy and come back to hand with another club ruff to draw trump and take the 13th trick with your long spade.


When leading into a strong hand, you should first try to decide whether there is any need to go active or whether you should go passive. Dummy rates to have four trumps and some shape, but your hand does not suggest that declarer will be able to establish a side-suit in dummy easily. That being so I'd lead a trump. Without the club jack I might feel more inclined to press my luck with a heart lead.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 7 2
 Q 9 4 3
 J 7 6 2
♣ A J 9
South West North East
Pass Pass 1 NT
Pass 2♣ 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

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