Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 7th, 2017

The world is round so that friendship may encircle it.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


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

K

In today’s deal South declared four spades after deciding to exploit the vulnerability by pre-empting to the limit in third seat.

West kicked off with the heart king, and South ruffed and led the diamond 10 to the queen, hoping to muddy the waters in that suit. His maneuver was successful, because even though West played the diamond five on this trick, trying to show an even number of cards, East elected to play South for a singleton diamond. So he won his ace to return a club. South ducked, and when that forced West’s queen, declarer was home free, losing just one trump trick, to make 10 tricks.

Had declarer followed a less deceptive route in the diamond suit, East might have worked out that declarer actually had three diamonds and at least two clubs. In that case he might have found the killing defense at the point that he won the diamond ace. He should shift to the club 10, surrounding the nine in dummy. South must cover the 10 with the jack, and West wins and returns a club. Whatever declarer does, he cannot stop the defenders establishing a second fast winner in clubs. Declarer can draw two rounds of trump and play on diamonds, but West will ruff in and cash the club winner for down one.

This surrounding play in the club suit is often done when holding a top honor and the jack, with the 10 visible in dummy, but this is a parallel example and perhaps a little harder to spot.


This is the sort of hand where redoubling will leave you very awkwardly placed if the opponents up the ante in either black suit. Since raising diamonds initially might lose the heart suit altogether, you are much better advised to respond one heart and raise diamonds later. The initial response does not in any way limit your hand.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 6
 Q 5 4 2
 K Q 9 8
♣ 9 5 2
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: Friday, October 6th, 2017

Wit’s an unruly engine, wildly striking Sometimes a friend, sometimes the engineer.

George Herbert


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

♠J

Place your bets, gentle reader: will declarer prevail or can the defense defeat South’s four heart contract, North having opened the bidding then rebid two no-trump to show a balanced 18-19?

When West led the spade jack, North’s queen lost to the king, and East returned the diamond 10. Declarer won dummy’s queen and advanced the heart nine. East played low, West won with the ace and returned a diamond to the ace. Dummy’s last trump was led, on which East played the king, but that was the last trick for the defense.

East had missed his chance to defeat the game. He must play West to hold the trump ace, (or declarer must have four heart tricks and six plain winners). So East should steel himself to go up with the king on the first heart, then return his last diamond. Now when West wins the trump ace, he can return a diamond for East to ruff with his heart jack.

So is your money on the defenders? Not so fast: technically, declarer missed his opportunity at the opening lead. If he puts up the spade ace, then immediately plays a trump, he will make his contract.

However, on the lead of the spade jack, declarer has to compare the chances of the spade king being offside, as opposed to the chance that he can play hearts for two losers. This is a close calculation: declarer can see the chances that the defenders might have a ruff coming, but it is hard to reject a legitimate finesse, isn’t it?


An expert panel might vote for heart bids at every level up to four; but I would settle for an invitational jump to two. There is no reason to drive to game facing a balanced opener with three hearts, which I might easily buy. Of course just because both opponents have bid doesn’t mean we won’t make game. But partner knows better than I what he has, and he can accept an invitation if he wants to.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 6 4
 Q 10 7 6 4 3
 A 6 2
♣ 8 5
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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender to it too soon or to the first comer.

George Santayana


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

K

At the Dyspeptics Club, East and West are used to defending against high-level contracts with South at the helm. They are aware that he will often fail to give his contract his best shot, but on this occasion it was East who missed his chance. All credit to South, though, for putting the opponents under pressure.

After West did his best to put a spoke in the opponents’ wheel, North offered his partner a chance to bid slam, and nothing could hold South back after that. In six spades South won the top heart lead, cashed the spade king, led a trump to the ace, and ruffed a heart. Then he cashed the three top diamonds, East discarding a heart, and ruffed the fourth diamond while East discarded a second heart.

Now after considerable thought South came to the right conclusion when he exited with a trump. East was reduced to four clubs only, and when he returned a low club, South played low, claiming the balance when West was forced to put up his queen.

East should have realized that his only chance to beat the hand was to find his partner with one of the king or queen of clubs. Whichever West has, there was no need to keep all four clubs. If East discards a small club on the fourth diamond, then he will be able to exit with a heart after winning the third trump. Now declarer would have had to guess to drop the doubleton club queen to make his slam – and there would have been no reason to do that.


In response to your Jacoby two no-trump call, showing a game-forcing spade hand, partner’s three diamond call showed shortness. You are well worth co-operating in, but not initiating, a slam-try now. Best now is to bid three spades, to let partner sign off in game or cuebid if appropriate. Incidentally, you might cuebid four clubs with acequeen third of that suit, instead of your actual holding.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 10 7 5 3
 8 6
 A 8 7
♣ K J 2
South West North East
    1 ♠ Pass
2 NT 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, October 4th, 2017

Pleasured equally in seeking as in finding, Each detail minding, Old Walt went seeking And finding.

Langston Hughes


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

♠2

In today’s deal when North raised to two spades at his first turn, South might have driven to four spades and received a diamond lead. Perhaps unwisely, he tried a three heart call (three diamonds might have been more accurate, since that is the suit South really wants help in). Now when North bid four spades, West led a low trump, avoiding giving away the contract with a diamond lead.

It might seem natural to draw trumps and try to guess diamonds, but declarer decided he would try and find out more about the hand before committing himself. So he played a club to the king at trick two. East won and shifted to hearts, letting West take his ace, cash his club queen and exit in trumps.

Now South won in hand, ruffed out the hearts, and trumped a club high. At this point South knew that West had started with exactly two clubs and three trumps; this left him with eight cards in the red suits. East had pitched clubs on the second and third trumps, and each defender had followed with small hearts on the third round.

Since East had shifted to a low heart at trick three, the odds were that each defender had one of the jack and 10, so that suggested hearts were originally 4-4. Therefore West had begun with four of the missing six diamonds.

So declarer cashed the diamond ace and successfully finessed West for the diamond queen.


Your partner has asked for help in diamonds and you have a splendid holding, more than enough to bid game. In fact there are plenty of hands where you might make slam in either spades or diamonds, and the right way to show that is to bid four diamonds now. Imagine partner with a powerhouse and 5-2-4-2 shape to see why diamonds might be right.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 10 8 4
 9 7
 K J 6 2
♣ K 5 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♠ 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: Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labor.

Robert Louis Stevenson


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

4

This month I am delighted to be able to run deals from Frank Stewart’s new book. Keys to Winning Bridge is not only a book with tips that will help players at all levels, it is also a book with a social conscience, since Frank devotes all the income from the book to his local Fayette charities. For details of the book and other of his works, go to http:// www.bridgeworld.com/indexphp. php?page=/pages/bookstore/ authorgallerypages/authorgallerypage_251.html.

This is a declarer play problem from the book. As Stewart says, correct timing requires an ability to visualize and manipulate a card array; it requires foresight acquired through practice.

Against three no-trump West leads a low heart, and declarer puts up dummy’s jack, winning the trick. I’m willing to bet the majority of declarers would take a diamond finesse next. If they do so, West will win and lead a club, putting South to a nasty guess, since now South has only eight top tricks. He can make his game if the club finesse works or if spades break 3-3, but he must decide which play to try.

For example, in the diagramed position declarer must play on spades. But switch the club king and spade five, for instance. Now if South rejects the club finesse, West can pitch hearts and keep enough clubs to set the game.

After South wins the first trick, he should take his three high spades. Should the suit break 4-2, South would know he needed the club finesse if the diamond finesse didn’t work.


When you bid two clubs, you showed a limit raise or better in hearts, an action that starts at about a 10-count with four trump, give or take a point. When your partner rejects your game try you had better have a really good hand to continue the auction – and this isn’t it. You might bid two no-trump to invite game if your diamond four were the queen; but as it is, you have an easy pass.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Catch-22…specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the product of a rational mind.

Joseph Heller


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

*game forcing with spade support

3

In today’s deal from a head-to-head match there were contrasting approaches taken by the two declarers in four spades. One relaxed, envisaging that there were just three aces to lose, and consequently went down without a fight, while the other recognized the danger signals and took careful evasive action.

At both tables South ended in four spades, and in each case the lead was a small heart, allowing East to take his ace and return the suit. That let declarer win in hand and take it from there.

At one table South simply played a spade toward dummy’s king. West won, and returned a heart for his partner to ruff. The diamond ace was the setting trick.

The second declarer, seeing the lead of the heart three, suggesting five in West’s methods, immediately played on clubs. He overtook his second honor with dummy’s ace, throwing a heart from his hand on the club jack.

It would have been easy to relax now and play a spade to the queen and ace, but South saw the risks associated with that. West could have won and played a third heart, to promote a trump for his partner.

Instead, South ruffed a heart back to hand and led a low spade toward the dummy. It now did not matter if West went up with the ace and played a fourth heart, as he did, hoping his partner had the spade queen instead of the ten. As the cards lay, declarer was safe against any defense.


There is no need to panic just because the opponents have bid game. Your target at teams is to set the game, but at pairs, perhaps, to hold the overtricks if you cannot beat it. Since neither a club nor heart lead is in any way safe, you might as well go for the lead that carries the bigger reward if it is right; and surely a low club is more likely to set the game.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ J 2
 Q 3 2
 J 6 5
♣ K 10 8 5 3
South West North East
    Pass 1 ♠
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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, October 1st, 2017

I have been trying to learn New Minor Forcing and thought the bidding problem presented today (after I opened one club and heard one spade from my partner) was perfect for a two diamond bid to show three spades and game going values. How am I missing the point of the convention?

Bill and the Comets, Monterey, Calif.

A little learning can be a dangerous thing. New Minor is very useful but one must distinguish two sequences, after your side, for example, bids unopposed: one club – one spade. If opener bids one no-trump and responder rebids two diamonds, this is New Minor to show values, and ask about spade support. By contrast, if opener rebids two diamonds, this is known as a reverse. It shows clubs and diamonds and real extras. I hope that helps — please write to me again if I can help in this complex area.

When I held ♠ A-Q-7-5-3,  Q-4,  K, ♣ Q-10-4-3-2, I opened one spade in third seat. The next hand overcalled two diamonds and my partner joined in with two hearts. Should I rebid two spades, introduce my clubs, gamble on no-trump or raise hearts?

Flimsy, Albany, Ga.

You set a tough problem here. Rebidding the spades without extra length seems unattractive, and three clubs shows real extras. What does that leave? The call of two no-trump, which at least protects your diamond king, seems too much of a gamble. Given that partner is a passed hand, though I am sure I’d let well alone, and pass out two hearts.

How would you bid this hand ♠ Q-J-9-6-2,  2,  K-J-7-5-4, ♣ J-2 opposite a strong no-trump, assuming that Stayman, Jacoby and Texas Transfers are all in your toolbox?

Gabba Gabba, St. Louis, Mo.

There is no easy way to consult partner if you transfer to spades and hear your partner complete the transfer. You have to guess whether to pass, drive to game, or rebid two no-trump, which is correct on values but an unappetizing choice with 5-5 shape. I would prefer to use Stayman and rebid two spades, which for me suggests an unbalanced hand with invitational values and five spades.

With ♠ Q-J-8-2,  3, A-Q-10, ♣ K-Q-9-4-2 I assume you would open one club here, planning to rebid one spade. If your partner responds one heart and the next hand overcalls one spade, would you pass, rebid one no-trump or rebid clubs?

Stolen Bid, Duluth, Minn.

You should not rebid one no-trump with an unbalanced hand – the last thing you want to do is to encourage partner to repeat his hearts – unless he wants to. So the choice is to rebid clubs or pass. Since I would rather that a two club rebid had a sixth club, or more in the way of extras in an unbalanced hand than I currently possess, I’m going to go low and pass.

I see mention from time to time in your columns of a convention called Lebensohl. I think I understand the basic rules when the opponents overcall one no-trump; but are there other sequences where Lebensohl applies?

System Geek, Galveston, Texas

If your RHO overcalls your partner’s one no-trump opening, pass with really bad hands. If you bid you can double for take-out, or use Lebensohl, which allows you either to play at the two- or three-level or set up a game-force. You can also use this method after your partner doubles a weak-two bid; but here you focus on distinguishing weak and invitational hands. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebensohl discusses the matter in some detail.


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, September 30th, 2017

There will be time to audit The accounts later, there will be sunlight later, And the equation will come out at last.

Louis MacNeice


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

2

After the overcall of two no-trump by West to show the minors, North’s three spade call suggested the shape and values for a simple spade raise. With a better hand North could double to show defense, or cuebid three clubs or three diamonds. One of those bids shows hearts and a good hand, one a limit raise in spades. That lets a direct three heart call be non-forcing.

Against four spades West led the heart two, to the nine and ace. Dummy’s diamond length was very bad news, but declarer did his best by drawing trump ending in dummy. He now needed to build the diamonds into an extra trick – but he was still in danger of running out of trumps.

So at trick five South led the club four. The idea was to keep East off lead if humanly possible, so declarer needed him to have only one club honor — or to make a mistake by failing to put up a high card from a holding such as Q10xx.

When East played low on the first club declarer inserted the nine. West won cheaply and returned a club to the ace. Declarer countered with the diamond queen, hoping to get lucky and find East with a significant singleton – the nine or jack. After winning his diamond king, West could see that a diamond return would be fatal. So he led back a club. Dummy ruffed, while declarer discarded the heart four from hand. Now South ran the diamond eight round to West’s jack, and claimed the rest.


Did you fall into the trap of raising spades or cuebidding in a search for slam? You shouldn’t, because this auction doesn’t really promise spade support – partner would follow this route with a doubleton. You should rebid three no-trump here, expecting your partner to pick whichever game he considers appropriate. In the context of what you have already shown, you are as balanced as you could be.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K Q 10 8 2
 A 4
 A Q 10 3
♣ A 9
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 1 NT Pass
3 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: Friday, September 29th, 2017

O but we dreamed to mend Whatever mischief seemed To afflict mankind.

W. B. Yeats


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

♣7

After today’s deal South must have felt not only that he had earned 14 IMPs for his side, but that he had scored a palpable hit on his opponent. While the defenders often have to disguise their holdings, an excellent declarer can participate in the game of bluff and double-bluff.

In the qualifying rounds of the 1989 Bermuda Bowl France played Chinese Taipei, and Patrick Huang as South declared six no-trump. On Christian Mari’s club lead, Huang won in hand and led a spade to the queen, then took five rounds of diamonds. Mari’s first discard was a low heart, then a low spade. Now Huang cashed his four clubs, on the last of which Mari threw the spade jack. With one spade and two hearts in each hand, Huang had reduced to an ending known as a strip-squeeze, where he had forced West, with a tenace in one suit, hearts, and winners in another, spades, to weaken his holding fatally in one of those suits. All declarer had to do was guess which.

Huang could have exited with a spade, hoping Mari would be left with two hearts and the spade ace, and would have to concede the rest to him. Or he could have taken the heart finesse, which would have turned out even worse. Instead, he decided that Mari’s discards were what a very good player would do if he could see he was going to have to bare his heart king sooner or later. So he played a heart to the ace.

Very nicely done by both sides.


We haven’t discussed ‘inverted minors’ for a while. Here a raise to two diamonds by an unpassed hand in a noncompetitive auction is natural and forcing for at least one round. Unless either player limits their hand with a re-raise to three diamonds, or with a call of two no-trump, the auction becomes game forcing. This is surely the best way to explore for a possible slam.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 5
 Q J
 A Q 10 8 3
♣ A J 8 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Thinking is to me the greatest fatigue in the world.

Sir John Vanbrugh


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

♣5

South had a problem trying to decide how high to go here. His partner had signed off at his third turn, but when North showed a spade control by raising four spades to five spades, suggesting the king, South made a grand slam try. When North signed off South accepted his decision. North would surely have accepted the try were his spade jack the queen.

As it was, we have all been in worse grand slams than this, and in consequence South took his eye off the ball after a club lead. He won, drew trump, and laid down the spade ace, uttering an indelicate expletive under his breath when West showed out. There was no longer any way to make the contract, since declarer could not strip out the minors without surrendering control of spades.

In fact six hearts becomes a sure-trick problem, once the opening lead is not ruffed. Can you see how? At trick two, declarer draws trump with the heart ace and king, cashes the diamond ace, and next takes his remaining club winner. Then he makes the crucial play of a spade to the king.

If West had followed suit, declarer could claim his contract, losing just one spade trick at most. When West shows out, South wins the spade king, ruffs dummy’s remaining diamond, then ducks a spade. With the minors stripped out, East must now either lead away from his spade queen or give a ruff-anddiscard. Either way, declarer has 12 tricks.


Raise to three clubs, as much to keep the opponents quiet as to make a real try for game. Here the fact that you raise partner’s suit, rather than making a stronger try via a cuebid, should indicate to your partner that you have more of a courtesy raise than a really strong hand.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 10 9 7
 2
 K J 10 9 8
♣ Q 8 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♣ 1
Dbl. 1 NT 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.

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