Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 6th, 2018

As distrust, in some sense, is the mother of safety, so security is the gate of danger. A man had need to fear this most of all, that he fears not at all.

Thomas Brooks


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

2

Against four spades, West leads the diamond two to East’s four and your 10. When you cash the trump ace, both defenders follow with small cards.

With just 22 HCP between you, do not waste energy fretting about the missed excellent spade slam. This is not the time to worry about what might have been; focus your energy on coming to 10 tricks against any distribution.

It appears to be smooth sailing if the trumps divide 3-2 or East has the length — in fact, you will end up with 13 tricks. However, there are breakers ahead if West has four trumps, as shown in the diagram.

To guard against that, after cashing the trump ace, follow up with the queen. When the trump distribution is discovered, you change tack and advance the diamond queen. West’s best defense is to ruff this and play the ace and another club. (A heart would let you win and draw trumps.) You ruff the second club with the king and play the diamond ace, throwing your remaining club from hand. West can ruff in with his last trump, but that is the final trick for the defenders. You will ruff the likely club continuation and then cross to the heart ace to throw your heart losers on dummy’s master diamonds.

You make five trumps, a heart, three diamonds and a club ruff for a total of 10 tricks. Note West’s uninspired choice of opening leads; a heart lead is more logical, given his natural trump trick, and it would have worked better today.


Illogical as it might seem, this hand is closer to driving to three no-trump than it is to a pass of two spades. Your intermediates, especially the spade 10, suggest that you might make game on very few values altogether if you can set up spades. I would bid two no-trump, but would have sympathy for a jump to three no-trump.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A Q 10 5 4
 10 8 3
 Q 10
♣ 7 3 2
South West North East
    1 NT Pass
2 Pass 2 ♠ Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 5th, 2018

The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.

Ken Kesey


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

*Majors

♠4

Wandering into the bidding over a strong one-no-trump opener and not buying the contract can prove to be an expensive exuberance. Today, West’s reasonable decision to show the majors painted a picture for declarer.

Against three no-trump, West led the spade four, and South saw he could count on eight tricks — four in spades, one in hearts, two in diamonds and one in clubs.

Declarer noticed that the likeliest source of the ninth trick lay in hearts, but he also knew that, in view of the bidding, West was almost certain to have the king. Thus, simply leading a low heart to the queen was unlikely to pay dividends.

So at trick two, when dummy’s spade queen held, he played a low heart, hoping that East might hold at least one of the four top cards in the suit. When East followed with the six, South inserted the seven and West won with the nine. (Had East played the 10, South would have covered with the queen.)

Now West guessed well to get off lead with a diamond. Taking East’s nine with the ace, South continued with the heart queen. West played the king, which was allowed to hold, the 10 dropping from East.

West exited passively in spades, and South won and drove out the spade king. When West took his king and returned a spade, South took his spade winners and successfully finessed the heart eight. He cashed the heart ace and led a club to the queen and ace to bring home nine tricks.


Although your heart honors are well placed, you can see that you have no real fit for partner’s suits, so no source of tricks. It looks logical here to bid two no-trump, the value of your hand, rather than jump to the no-trump game. If partner passes, I’d expect you to struggle to come to eight tricks.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 8 5 4 3
 K J 9 3
 7
♣ A 9 3
South West North East
    1 1
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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

Never wrestle with a pig. You’ll both get dirty, but the pig will like it.

Irish proverb


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

*Pick a slam

10

In today’s deal, three different declarers all reached six no-trump rather than six diamonds. That contract looks best at both pairs and teams, since there are some additional chances in no-trump when diamonds do not behave.

The first declarer won the heart lead in dummy and played a diamond to the nine and queen. The defenders persisted in hearts, so declarer cashed a top diamond to find the bad news, then took the club ace and the heart winners. He pitched a club and diamond from dummy and ran the spades, squeezing West in the minor suits.

The second declarer won the heart jack and cashed the diamond ace and king. The bad break made him pause, but he eventually decided to cash the hearts, pitching a diamond and club from the table, then run the spades. West came down to two diamonds and the bare club king, but declarer had no option but to play a club to the ace. When the king came tumbling down, he had his 12th trick.

The third declarer played a diamond to the ace and ducked a diamond; this was technically best, since if the suit had split 4-1, he would have been home regardless of the rank of West’s singleton, as well as when East had a bare honor. As it was, when West won the diamond jack and returned a heart, declarer had transposed into the first declarer’s line. He took his club ace and heart winners, and ran the spades to force West to concede in the two-card ending.


Facing what you hope is a maximum pass, you should try to compete in a major suit. It looks sensible to try to make partner declarer to protect his tenaces, and you want to try to find a 4-4 major-suit fit. The easiest way here is to cue-bid two diamonds to get your partner to pick a major.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K Q J 10
 10 7 5 2
 J 2
♣ Q 8 3
South West North East
  Pass Pass 1
Pass Pass 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

Science has taught us how to put the atom to work. But to make it work for good instead of for evil lies in the domain dealing with the principles of human duty. We are now facing a problem more of ethics than physics.

Bernard Baruch


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

K

South’s distribution in the majors makes his hand untenable for a strong no-trump — at least to most of us. After North raises spades, South chooses to invite game with a call of two no-trump, suggesting his hand pattern pretty well, though he would prefer a tad more security in the heart suit. As it happens, North can happily accept the invitation to the spade game.

When West leads the heart king, South can see no losers in the black suits. He must surely lose two hearts, and he must do something with his third and fourth heart, as well as the diamond queen.

West leads out the heart king and queen as East follows high-low, suggesting his doubleton and asking West to continue with the suit. East is clearly hoping to create a trump trick for his side on a third heart.

At trick three, West leads the heart ace. If declarer ruffs low in dummy, he will be sending a boy to do a man’s job. To avoid this ugly fate, declarer ruffs the third heart with dummy’s spade king, then plays a trump to the ace.

When the nine appears, declarer might consider a later trump finesse, but he can almost ensure his contract without needing to make that play. He cashes a second top trump, then the diamond ace, and then takes three top clubs to pitch his diamond queen.

Now he ruffs a diamond back to hand and exits in hearts, reducing to a two-card ending where he has the J-8 of trumps poised over East’s 10-7 of spades.


Your partner has a minimum take-out double, and you have a hand with no clear direction, but your trumps are too weak to consider defending. I’d bid two no-trump, which is not to play (though if partner forgets, you won’t mind too much!), but suggests partner bid a minor. You surely have longer diamonds than clubs, or you would bid three clubs yourself.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 4 3
 5 3
 9 8 7 3 2
♣ A Q J
South West North East
      1
Pass 1 ♠ Pass 1 NT
Pass 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 2nd, 2018

The fundamental principles and indispensable postulates of every genuinely productive science are not based on pure logic but rather on the metaphysical hypothesis — which no rules of logic can refute — that there exists an outer world which is entirely independent of ourselves.

Max Planck


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

♠4

It never does any harm to go over the basics from time to time. Today’s deal features points of interest in both the bidding and play.

First, let’s look at what actually happened at the table. South opened a strong no-trump and played there on a spade lead to the jack and king. (The king is the right card to encourage both defenders to continue the suit since West might think his partner had the queen.) Declarer played the diamond king; East won and naturally continued spades rather than finding the killing shift to clubs. Declarer won with the ace and advanced the diamond nine, letting it run when West pitched a heart. East won with his jack and shifted to clubs, holding declarer to eight tricks.

Now let’s look at the auction: As North, I would definitely transfer to diamonds (prepared to play my long suit) and keep the opponents out of the major suits. This may not always work, but it is the percentage action.

Against the no-trump contract, East goofed when he won the diamond ace on the first round of the suit. If he ducks, he retains control of the suit, holding declarer to just one trick in diamonds, rather than four. If East had ace-third, he would never have taken the first round of diamonds; his potential second winner in the suit should not have affected that decision.

In general, ducking an ace over the king-queen is often a good idea when you know declarer does not have a singleton — and maybe even when he does.


While you might engineer a trump promotion by leading hearts, that’s likely to set up discards for declarer. It is simpler and more logical to lead the diamond jack to try to set up tricks or force declarer to trump. If in doubt, assume that when you have been dealt a sequence, you should lead it, hoping that your problem will come at trick two, not trick one.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 10 7 6 2
 9 6
 J 10 4
♣ 10 8 7 2
South West North East
  1 Pass 1 ♠
Pass 3 ♠ 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, July 1st, 2018

I held ♠ K-9-4-3,  10-5-3,  Q-10-4-2, ♣ J-4 and raised my partner’s opening bid of one spade to two. What is the right continuation over a call of three diamonds from my partner?

Phoenix Rising, Grenada, Miss.

My partnership style is to use new suits here as a game try. Typically, the call is based on length, with a holding of three or four cards to an honor, so your hand has two big plusses: one based on your decent long trumps, and the other your useful diamond holding, which rates to cover some of your partner’s losers. So I would bid game. By the way, with the club ace instead of the jack, I would raise to four diamonds or cuebid four clubs, in case partner has a slam try.

My partner suggested to me that we play fit jumps, which I am happy with. He also suggested that new suits in response to pre-empts be based on fit, not a single-suited hand. I’m not sure I buy into that. Do you?

Assister Sledge, Chicago, Ill.

I will say that as a passed hand (which has therefore almost denied a decent onesuiter), a new suit in response to a pre-empt ought to be lead-directing. By an unpassed hand, especially if your RHO has passed, I think a new suit should be natural and forcing.

I held: ♠ K-4,  A-9-8-3-2,  9, ♣ A-Q-7-5-4 and opened one heart, then rebid two clubs over a one-spade response. Now I heard my partner rebid two no-trump, and I was not sure whether to bid or pass. If I did bid, what call would describe my hand best?

Flower Power, Atlanta, Ga.

I wouldn’t pass, but I believe that three clubs should show a minimum hand with 5-5 shape, a non-forcing call. So I would either raise to three no-trump or, if feeling scientific, I might experiment with a call of three diamonds, which I believe should be reserved for a forcing hand with 5-5 shape. A rebid of three hearts here shows a 6-4 pattern, and would also be forcing.

What is the right approach to playing the combination of four small cards facing A-J-9-x-x in dummy, assuming you have plenty of entries back and forth? I can see three sensible ways of playing the suit: starting with the ace, leading to the jack or leading to the nine. Which is the odds-on play?

Math Observation, Little Rock, Ark.

Cashing the ace loses to a void or singleton small card to your left. Low to the jack loses to a void or singleton honor to your left. Low to the nine and finessing a second time loses to the singleton 10 or K-Q doubleton on your left, but not to the 4-0 break, so it is the right play.

Do you prefer to play jump raises of partner’s opening bid or overcall as weak, mixed or invitational? Does it matter whether the opponents have bid (either to your left or right)? And is the vulnerability critical?

Razor Sharp, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

In non-competitive auctions, a raise to three seems best as a limit raise (though playing it as mixed is acceptable). I don’t like a pre-emptive raise with silent opponents. After partner opens and you hear a double or an overcall, I can understand having the raise as pre-emptive — as long as you have a way to show a mixed raise. If partner overcalls, using the raise as pre-emptive makes sense.


For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, June 30th, 2018

My strength is as the strength of ten
Because my heart is pure.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson


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

*Solid minor suit

** Pass or correct to 4 with diamonds

K

Brian Callaghan of London plays regularly with his partner, Christine Duckworth, and he was declarer on this deal from last year’s Gold Coast Congress in Australia.

Callaghan took his best chance in a delicate game here. Yes, he could have doubled four clubs for take-out, but that might have suggested more defense than this hand — and then he would not have been able to test his skill in four hearts, would he?

The defenders led two top diamonds, on which East pitched a club. Perhaps West should have led a lower diamond to force his partner to ruff and create a trump promotion via the uppercut, but he did not. When East discarded, Callaghan ruffed the second diamond, drew trumps in three rounds and ducked a spade to West’s queen.

West was worried that leading a third top diamond would squeeze his partner, so he played a club. Callaghan won in dummy, then led a spade. East naturally split his honors, but Callaghan ducked this trick. He could win the next club in dummy and take the spade finesse to make the rest of the tricks and bring home his game.

At trick six, if West had indeed played a third top diamond, declarer would have had to ruff. Now he would go to dummy with a club and lead a spade from dummy. To defeat the game, East would have to duck – not so easy to do! That would give declarer one extra spade trick, but not two.


If you were to bid three hearts now, it would be natural and non-forcing (this hand without the heart queen, perhaps). You have enough to go to game, with the options being to raise to three no-trump, to bid four hearts or temporize with three clubs (normally a three-card suit) to try to extract a three-heart call from your partner. I’d go for the last of these, with the jump to four hearts as my second choice.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 10 7 4 3
 A K Q 5 2
 2
♣ 9 7
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 1 NT Pass
2 Pass 2 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, June 29th, 2018

Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.

Don Marquis


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

5

It is no longer the case that a free raise by North to two spades in competition should guarantee extra values. One occasionally passes minimum raises with three bad trumps and defense against the opponents’ suit; but here, the fourth trump is more than enough for the raise.

Now East has the values to drive to four hearts, after which, at this vulnerability and with little defense against hearts, South should consider the save in four spades, hoping to escape for two or three down. West might pass, but his prospects of a good penalty from four spades are so much better than his prospects of making five hearts that some might double. When West passes, East has an easy double.

Holding trump control, it seems clear to West that he should lead his singleton diamond, and East wins the trick cheaply. Of course, East cannot be sure whether the lead was a singleton or not, and he should next play the heart king. When West does not overtake to lead a diamond, but discourages by playing a low heart, he confirms that the diamond lead was a singleton.

But now comes the crux of the deal: East’s next play should not be to play the ace and another diamond, but instead he should lead a low diamond so that West gets his ruff while East’s tenace in diamonds is preserved over dummy. After taking the ruff, West cashes the spade ace and exits in hearts, and the defenders still have two tricks to come for a penalty of 500.


Although you have an opening bid of sorts, this feels like a hand on which to go low, not high. You have no fit for partner and no real stopper in the opponents’ suit, so I would counsel a call of one no-trump rather than looking higher in no-trump or advancing with a cuebid. This hand just doesn’t seem worthy of a real invitation to game.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 3 2
 K Q 6
 A Q J 7
♣ 10 5 4 2
South West North East
  1 ♣ 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, June 28th, 2018

Mathematics is not a careful march down a well-cleared highway, but a journey into a strange wilderness, where the explorers often get lost.

W. S. Anglin


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

*18-20

J

West leads the heart jack against three no-trump, dummy’s queen winning the trick, while East’s card is consistent with showing an even number of hearts. How should you plan to make your contract?

If you take the club finesse, West will win his king and drive out the heart ace, and you will be held to eight tricks. A far better approach is to assume that West has the diamond ace, so cross to your hand with a spade at trick two and lead a diamond toward the king.

If West takes his ace and continues hearts, you will win that ace and lead a low diamond, intending to cover West’s card. West has to follow with his six, and you insert dummy’s 10. After East wins the jack and shifts to a club, you rise with the ace and cross to the spade king to run the diamonds. You will take 10 tricks: three spades, two hearts, four diamonds and a club.

If West wants to prevent the overtrick, he must follow with a low diamond at trick three. You will put up dummy’s king and remain on lead to run the club 10 to West’s king. You will emerge with nine tricks: three spades, two hearts, a diamond and three clubs.

Finally, if West takes the diamond ace at trick three, clears hearts, then follows with an honor on the second round of diamonds, you will have to hope East started with three diamonds. You need to win the second diamond with the king, then cross your fingers and play a third diamond.


Today’s feature is more about judgment than system, but if we assume this hand is (barely) worth a slam try in diamonds, we must have methods to show a diamond one-suiter and still say safely low while using transfers to the major. I recommend using three spades as a transfer to three no-trump. Following that, bids in the minors show one-suited slam tries, and bids in the majors show both minors.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 10 6
 Q 6
 K 10 9 8 5 3
♣ 10 6
South West North East
    2 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

The price of wisdom is above rubies.

Job 28:18


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

♠4

After a straightforward auction to three no-trump, South should count his winners when West leads the spade four. With at least six tricks coming from hearts and clubs and at least one trick in each of spades and diamonds, he seems to be in good shape.

At trick one, South captures East’s jack with his queen. Since West appears to have led from the A-10, it would be very dangerous to allow East to come on lead. East would then be in position to lead a spade through South’s king, letting West run spades and possibly defeat the game.

There is no such danger in letting West on lead. If West leads spades again, South can establish his ninth trick from the spade king. To put it another way, East is the dangerous opponent and West if the safe hand. If possible, South must develop his tricks while keeping East out of the lead.

Declarer begins by leading a heart to dummy’s king. If hearts break, declarer will have nine tricks without any need for further work — but that can wait. Declarer now goes after diamonds by running the diamond eight through East. If East has both top honors, he cannot be kept off lead; but in virtually every other scenario, it may be possible to develop diamonds while keeping East off play.

The diamond eight loses to the nine, and South wins the club return, then leads a heart to dummy and leads another diamond, covering East’s card. Declarer can then run the diamonds and cash out for nine tricks.


This hand appears to be a simple raise of diamonds, but is that call forcing or invitational? For simplicity’s sake, I suggest that after a reverse, responder’s raise of either of opener’s suits be played as forcing. This in turn means that weak hands must do something else. You can play two no-trump as artificial and weak, or you can play the cheaper of fourth suit and two no-trump as weak; both methods work.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 3
 A K Q 7
 8 6 5 4
♣ 9 6 5
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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

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