Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Pride is a tricky, glorious, double-edged feeling.

Adrienne Rich


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

♠10

This hand was reported as a missed opportunity rather than as a play actually found, suggesting it was too difficult to find at the table, though these things are often easier on paper than in real life. When this hand occurred in the Blue Ribbon pairs a few years ago, East's weak two-spade bid provoked his opponents into overbidding to game.

In the typical auction shown here, South’s three-club bid showed values (without them he would have bid two no-trump), and NorthSouth then drove to three no-trump. South ducked the lead of the spade 10 and won the next spade. His natural play was to finesse the club queen, lay down the ace, and play a third round of clubs, achieving his aim of setting up the clubs without letting East get the lead.

However, at the end of trick two, West could perhaps have foreseen the location of all the high cards. What would have happened if West had contributed the club 10 on the first round of the suit?

Declarer knows that he is safe if this is a true card from the K-J-10; but what if West has K-10 doubleton — in that case, playing clubs from the top would let East win the third round of clubs and cash his spades. Therefore, South may well decide to duck the second club, to keep East off lead. Of course, if South makes this play, East wins the club jack, and can cash out for one down.


It is surely right to bid here; the question is what to bid. A call of two diamonds, planning to back in with two spades over two hearts, is quite reasonable, but it does leave the opponents more room than a direct call of two spades. For that reason, and fr its lead-directing value, I prefer to bid the major.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K Q J 4 3
 10 3
 10 9 6 4
♣ J 6
South West North East
1 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Great men, great nations, have not been boasters and buffoons, but perceivers of the terror of life, and have manned themselves to face it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


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

♣K

It is often hard to know when to make a penalty double. When East decided to pounce in today's deal, he found that the opponents' contract was cold, but he got lucky when declarer missed the point.

Perhaps you would like to cover up the East and West cards and plan the play in four hearts doubled before reading on.

Declarer took the lead of the club king and at trick two played a heart to his ace. He then played the spade queen and a spade to his king before leading a diamond to the 10 and jack. East cashed his two trump winners before getting off play with a club, and declarer had to give the defenders another trick at the end.

Declarer had missed the underlying theme, since he should have tried to set up the dummy by ruffing two diamonds in hand (one could be discarded on a spade). It didn’t matter if he lost two trump tricks, so long as he lost only one diamond trick.

At trick, two declarer should have played a diamond. Suppose East wins and returns a spade. Declarer wins in dummy and ruffs a diamond. Now a trump to the ace discloses the 3-0 break, but declarer is under no pressure. He ruffs a diamond to hand and a club to dummy, then ruffs the fourth diamond and simply concedes two trumps at the end.

Once West is known to have three or more diamonds, the club ruff in dummy is safe.


I'm aware that I'm eligible for my AARP card. I hope I'm not betraying my age when I say I consider my hearts a less appropriate suit for a weak-two bid than most, and I would be concerned at opening this suit in second seat at any vulnerability. Even in first seat, I'd prefer to have the 10-9 in my suit before I open it. In third seat, nonvulnerable, anything goes.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 5
 A 7 5 4 3 2
 K 10 6 5
♣ 9
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, July 14th, 2014

The combat deepens. On ye brave,
Who rush to glory or the grave.

Thomas Campbell


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

K

In today's deal, declarer neglected to focus on the possible problem he might have with communications, and so gave up his best chance of making his contract.

West led the diamond king against four spades, which declarer allowed to hold. There was a likely trump loser plus a club loser or two, depending on the position of the club king. South saw that on a 3-3 heart break he could rid himself of both his club losers and end up with 11 tricks.

So he won the diamond queen continuation, cashed the top spades, ruffed his losing diamond with dummy’s last trump, then played ace, king and another heart, which he ruffed. When West discarded, South was philosophical — he still had the club play in reserve. But a club to the ace, then a club to the queen, saw West win with the king, and the club return spelled the demise of the game.

South failed to take his main chance in the right order — he should have tried to succeed against either a 3-3 or a 4-2 heart break. To cope with the 4-2 heart break, South needed two entries to dummy, but he had squandered an entry by ruffing his third diamond prematurely.

After playing his top trumps, declarer should next have taken the heart ace and king, then followed with a heart ruff in hand. Only now should he ruff the diamond. Another heart ruff would establish the fifth heart, and the club ace remains in dummy as the entry to it.


Had your partner not doubled the final contract, you would dutifully have led a spade. So does your partner's double simply try to increase the penalty he expects to get? I think not. The double should indicate he has another very good suit and wants you to try to find it. The odds favor that suit to be clubs, so I would lead the club nine, and have my excuses ready if partner has K-Q-9-fifth of diamonds.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 5 2
 Q 9 8 3 2
 J 10 6 4
♣ 9 5
South West North East
1 1♠ 1 NT
Pass 3 NT Dbl. 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, July 13th, 2014

What value should I put on 10s when determining whether to invite or drive to game in no-trump after my partner has opened one no-trump?

Combination Lock, Jackson, Tenn.

The Milton Work count (A=4, K=3, Q=2, J=1) is universally the most popular method, and is pretty good at providing a guide for balanced hands. But it gives no value to 10s, which are often valuable in no-trump contracts when allied with higher honors. When you respond to one no-trump, the presence of a 10 with one top honor in a five-card suit is worth at least half a point. When it comes to a close decision, the presence of a couple of 10s, and indeed 9s, might sway you toward optimism.

Recently I picked up ♠ 9-6-5-4-3,  A-J-7-5,  9-5, ♣ Q-J, and heard my partner open one no-trump. I used Stayman and passed the response of two hearts. Nine tricks were the limit on the hand, but my partner felt I had undercooked it. Was he right?

Culinary Institute, Texarkana, Texas

I agree with your partner. My plan after Stayman would be to bid two no-trump over a two-diamond response, to raise two hearts to three hearts, and to raise a two-spade response to game! So you would have done better than I on this hand.

I have recently learned the forcing no-trump in response to an opening bid of one of a major. My partner wants to play it in response to an opening in third and fourth seats too. Would you recommend this treatment?

The Force Be With You, Anchorage, Alaska

I would not recommend going that way. The forcing no-trump allows you to show strong balanced invitations in no-trump or partner's major, which are impossible hand-types for a passed hand. With trump support you bid two clubs (Drury); with a balanced hand you bid one no-trump, then two no-trump (if you get another turn). The upside of playing one no-trump nonforcing is to be able to stop there with two balanced hands facing each another.

I opened one club with ♠ Q-10-3,  J-5-2,  A-9, ♣ A-J-4-3-2. My LHO made a one-heart overcall, and now my partner produced a negative double. How would you compare the merits of rebidding clubs, introducing spades, and rebidding one no-trump?

Weight and See, Santa Fe, N.M.

A one-no-trump rebid would suggest 12-14, without guaranteeing a great heart stop. You'd prefer to have more in hearts, but beggars cannot be choosers. This is especially so since a two-club call strongly suggests a six-card suit, while bidding a three-card spade suit — except in dire emergency — is not an action I would advocate. Make the heart jack the diamond jack, and you might do so.

I was in second seat at matchpoint pairs with ♠ K-J-3,  A-Q-7-4,  7-6-4, ♣ A-Q-10. What is the correct bid with this hand after a one-diamond opening to your right? Could you comment on the merits of pass, double, or an overcall of one heart or even one no-trump?

Thin White Duke, Newark, Calif.

You must act, but normally overcalling one no-trump without a stopper is a bad idea. Still, I prefer that action to overcalling one heart with low offense, but defensive tricks galore. I would double and not worry about the flat shape — partner can provide that, on a good or even an average day.


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, July 12th, 2014

I began to suspect that the ultimate sacrifice isn't death after all; the ultimate sacrifice is willingly bearing the fullest penalty for your own actions.

Orson Scott Card


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

* Playing four-card majors

J

Berry Westra and Enri Leufkens of the Netherlands were the first and so far are the only pair to have won both a World Junior Championship and a Bermuda Bowl in partnership. They combined well on this hand from the World Championships in Beijing 20 years ago against Venezuela.

The sacrifice in five diamonds looks sensible, as it would not have been at all easy for South to lead the spade ace at trick one against four hearts, and take the spade ruffs needed to defeat the game.

However, the sacrifice turned out to be far more expensive than it might have appeared. Westra led the heart jack against five diamonds doubled, and when it was ducked all around, he switched to a trump. Now declarer made the slightly careless play of drawing three rounds of trump at once, ending in dummy; however, against most people he would not have been punished. It looks simple for declarer now to give up two clubs, but when Muzzia led a club to his queen, Westra found the fine play of ducking.

Westra hopped up with the ace on the next club play and led a second heart. Now there were no longer enough entries to dummy to establish the club suit. With the spade suit similarly dead, declarer finished three down, for minus 500.

Had declarer simply played the club queen at trick three, then the duck would have been countereffective and the defenders would have had to settle for down one.


I can see a reasonable case for passing, retreating to three diamonds, or bidding game. It feels like landing on a pinhead to pass, so one should either opt for safety or go for the big prize. My choice would be to bid three no-trump because of that diamond 10 and the aces, which argue that partner might come to nine tricks even when we only have a single guard in one of the side-suits.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 10 6 3 2
 7
 A Q 10 4 2
♣ Q 6
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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 11th, 2014

While you live,
Drink! — for once dead, you never shall return.

Edward FitzGerald


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

K

Earlier this year eight pairs participated in the Belgian open team trials for the European Championships in Opatija, Croatia, that concluded last week. The trials were played over 14 sessions, where each session consisted of three matches against every other table. The top three pairs would qualify. With one day (two sessions) remaining, everything seemed decided as Philippe Coenraets and Steven De Donder, in third place, had a 43 VIP margin over fourth place. Patrick Bocken and Olivier Neve, however, did manage to come back in a direct encounter with Steven and Philippe. Neve, sitting South, brought home this five-club contract elegantly.

After the lead of the diamond king and ace (East showing an odd number), West switched to the spade queen. Neve took the ace and realized that East rated to have seven spades and three diamonds, and thus would be short in either hearts or clubs. Since North-South had nine clubs and seven hearts between them, it was far more likely that East’s shortage was in clubs.

So South cashed just one top club, played the heart ace and queen, then finessed the heart 10 as East helplessly discarded. Now he could take the heart king to discard a spade, ruff a spade back to hand, and finally could take the marked trump finesse for an impressive plus 600.

Note that if declarer uses his heart entry to take the early finesse in trumps, he can never get back to hand to take the heart finesse.


There is a real temptation to raise to three hearts, but if you play New Minor Forcing (where a bid of two clubs is forcing and the way you start describing most invitational or game-forcing hands), then this sequence is weak and denies invitational values with both majors. North should have less than invitational values, and you should therefore pass and hope to go plus.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 7
 J 8 5 4
 A K Q 2
♣ Q 10 5
South West North East
1 Pass 1♠ Pass
1 NT 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: Thursday, July 10th, 2014

When is the perfect time? Who can say? but probably somewhere between haste and delay — and it's usually most wise to start today.

Rasheed Ogunlaru


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

*Checkback for three-card heart support

♠J

After the lead of the spade jack against three no-trump, South won in hand and led a heart to dummy's king, then, before putting all his eggs in one basket, he tried to develop the diamond suit by making the correct play of running the eight. West won cheaply and pressed on with spades (won by declarer in hand), then scored his heart ace and played a third spade. Declarer cashed his heart queen and pitched a club, but found hearts were 4-2, and so he needed to try to develop a second diamond winner.

He led a diamond to his nine, and West scored his queen, cashed his spade winner (East and South pitching clubs), and exited with a low club. That left declarer with a diamond loser at trick 13 when the king did not drop.

Down one, and South moved on to the next deal, never realizing that he had failed to take his best play for his game, which was to run the heart nine at trick two, rather than leading to the king. When he leads to an honor in dummy at his next opportunity, this play brings in the heart suit for three tricks (all that declarer needs) when the suit is 3-3 or the heart ace is doubleton onside. That is a combined chance that comes in at over 50 percent.

The problem with leading to the king or queen initially is that East can duck with honor-third, thus killing the suit.


You should double to show cards, not a penalty double. You expect that your side will want to defend here, but if partner is low on defense to spades and has three hearts, he is allowed to bid three hearts (or even to introduce a five-card minor). Since you passed over two hearts, you can't insist on defending.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 8 6
 K Q 8 6 5
 8 4
♣ 9 7 4
South West North East
Pass 1 NT Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
Pass 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: Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Has anyone supposed it lucky to be born?
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it.

Walt Whitman


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

6

In today's deal South, declarer in six spades, claimed he was unlucky; he had three good chances, taken them in the correct order, and had come up empty on all of them. Do you agree?

What happened was that West led a heart to South’s ace. South took the spade ace-king (revealing that there was a trump loser). He then played the club ace-king, ruffed a club to hand, and found that this suit was also not behaving. He later took the diamond finesse for down one, being doubly annoyed to find that the diamond queen would have dropped. Was he right to be upset?

South was admittedly unlucky, but a slightly more accurate play (based on the knowledge that hearts were 6-3) would have succeeded. The better line at trick four is to cash the club ace and take a heart ruff. Next, cross to the club king, and when the club jack falls, you take a second heart ruff. Now exit with a low spade.

If West plays a club, your club 10 in dummy means you can claim 12 tricks, so West must play a diamond. Dummy plays low and East’s queen is captured, whatever he does. This approach relies on East’s having six hearts and West’s having either the diamond queen or 10.

Had a club honor not appeared on the second round of the suit, declarer could have reverted to his original line.


Your partner's double is takeout, suggesting four spades and tolerance for clubs. Your choice is to repeat the clubs (somewhat inelegant on a five-card suit) or to bid two no-trump, hoping that partner will either have a heart stopper or will retreat to three clubs. I would follow that route.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 8
 J 5 3
 A J 7
♣ A K 10 6 2
South West North East
Pass Pass 1
2♣ 2 Dbl. Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

A habitation giddy and unsure
Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart.

William Shakespeare


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

A

I am often asked why I prefer the lead of the king from ace-king rather than the ace.

Today’s deal exemplifies one of the admittedly minor advantages my method has.

Imagine your partner leads the diamond ace against four hearts. Now plan the defense.

If your partner has led from the diamond ace-king, you might need to unblock the diamond queen to tell partner to lead a low diamond to you, for a spade through declarer. The clubs in dummy present a threat of sorts, since declarer might be able to discard either a slow or fast loser on the 13th club.

However, there is a real danger that some layouts exist equivalent to that shown in the answer. Here a careless and extravagant signal of the diamond queen will let declarer play the diamond suit for only one loser by finessing the diamond 10 at some point in the hand. On the actual hand you want partner to continue playing diamonds (a spade switch by West would be fatal to the defense) so signal with the diamond six, the highest card you can afford. Partner will, you hope, continue with diamonds, and in due course declarer will lose two tricks in spades and two in diamonds, for one down.

If the diamond ace denies the king, then East would never have any thought of unblocking a high diamond at the first trick. If your partnership frequently leads unsupported aces (especially in bid and supported suits), the king-lead from ace-king has a clear advantage.


It may be self-evident, but let me make it clear: in a competitive auction like this, the raise to three diamonds is not a game-try. Some people call it a bar-bid, other call it a pre-emptive reraise. The point is that if your partner has invitational values or better, he has four forcing game-tries: two hearts, two spades, two no-trump and three clubs. The reraise is not helpful as, nor required as, a game-try. So pass now.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 8 2
 K 10 4
 9 8 5
♣ A 10 3 2
South West North East
1 1♠
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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 7th, 2014

If it weren't for greed, intolerance, hate, passion and murder, you would have no works of art, no great buildings, no medical science, no Mozart, no Van Gogh, no Muppets and no Louis Armstrong.

Jasper Fforde


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

♣3

Declarer was confronted with a problem here that might have defeated a better player than he. After an uninformative auction to three no-trump, West led from his long suit. South took no time at all to put up dummy's club 10 and win a cheap club trick, but with that play he had given up his best legitimate play for the contract.

The heart blockage meant declarer had just three tricks in both hearts and clubs, so needed to set up a second spade trick. When he ducked East’s spade jack at trick two, that player astutely shifted to a diamond, clearing the suit. When he got in with spades, he cashed the long diamond.

The solution is disarmingly simple — if you look at the problem correctly. The nine tricks declarer should try to take are four hearts, three clubs, and two aces. In order to create an entry to dummy’s hearts, play low from dummy at trick one, and win the trick in hand with a high club. By preserving your two low clubs, you can then play to unblock the heart honors from hand and lead a low club toward dummy to force an entry to the board.

Curiously, after his actual play, declarer can come close to making if he plays the spade ace at trick six. West must unblock his king, and now when declarer cashes the top clubs, East must reciprocate by discarding his spade queen to let West win the spade 10!


Although it might sound likely that partner has spade length and declarer club length here, dummy (or even declarer) could still have four spades, and nobody has really bid clubs in this auction yet, since East has probably just opened a convenient minor. Clubs are much more likely to develop the tricks for your side to beat their game so lead the club three.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 8 3 2
 10 5
 9 5
♣ A Q 10 3 2
South West North East
1♣
Pass 1 Pass 1 NT
Pass 3 NT All pass  

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

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