Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

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

I know enough of the world now to have almost lost the capacity of being much surprised by anything.

Charles Dickens


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

*splinter in support of hearts

♠J

As South in four hearts you can see you have one club and two diamonds losers off the top. Your first instinct might be to go for spade ruffs in dummy, but the problem with re-entries to hand makes this awkward.

Imagine you ruff a spade in dummy, cross to your club winner and ruff a second spade. So far so good; but when you draw trump, the bad break means you will never establish your long club.

Curiously, you can survive a 4-1 trump break, but not a 4-1 club break, when you would simply have four top minor-suit losers. Once you spot this, you may see the winning line of taking your spade ace and ducking a club at trick two. This allows you to be more flexible by retaining club entries to both hands.

If the defenders play on diamonds, you ruff two diamonds in hand, drawing trump with dummy’s excellent spots. If they play on spades, you ruff two spades in dummy, making South the master hand.

Equally, if the defense returns hearts, you win in hand, ruff a spade, return to hand with a trump, and ruff a second spade. That lets you play a club to your hand, draw trump and concede two diamonds at the end for 10 tricks.

The lesson of this hand is that when you have a 4-4 trump fit, you do not have to decide on the master hand immediately. You may need to wait until you have set up your ruffs. Equally, remember to protect your entries to retain trump control.



Your partner should have extra values and something very close to a 5=3=1=4 pattern. My guess as to our side’s best game is four hearts – though it may be more challenging to play than the 4-4 club fit. Regardless, I would raise to four hearts, and let partner retreat to the club game if he doesn’t want to play hearts.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

All things are full of signs, and it is a wise man who can learn about one thing from another.

Plotinus


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

♠K

At matchpoints it looks reasonable to play three no-trump here. After all, the defense have eight hearts between them, as well as eight spades, and a heart lead gives you an easy route to nine tricks.

However, today West has a natural spade lead, and then the spotlight is going to be on East, and specifically on the partnership lead style. West wants to lead the spade king, to have his partner unblock the jack if he has it. After all, (short of some illegal body language) how can East show the jack if all he has is the three and two to encourage with?

It is for that reason that at notrump some partnerships play that the lead of a king shows a very good suit, requesting an unblock of a jack or queen. That makes this defensive problem easy today.

As you can see, if West knows to continue spades, he makes declarer’s task in three no-trump challenging. Declarer must duck two spades, then pitch a club from dummy on the third spade. Now what? The answer is to cross to dummy and lead a diamond toward the king, planning to duck if East plays the queen. When declarer’s king holds, he leads back a diamond. If West carelessly follows with the 10, declarer can duck without a care in the world. If West plays the jack, declarer will have to guess if West started life with two or with three diamonds. I don’t envy him his problem as to whether to win or duck this trick.



This hand comes down to a simple choice: do you rebid one no-trump, limiting the hand but running the risk of losing a club fit (especially since partner’s two club call would be a relay — New Minor not natural)? Or do you bid two clubs, showing this basic pattern, but in the process perhaps emphasizing suit quality? Put me down in the two club camp; get your shape right and the rest will follow.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 8
 A 4
 A 8 7 3 2
♣ A 7 4 2
South West North East
1 Pass 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, January 5th, 2017

The highest intellects, like the tops of mountains, are the first to catch and reflect the dawn.

Lord Macaulay


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

♣Q

This is a hand where it is necessary to plan ahead, to envisage what might go wrong, and how to circumnavigate the problems.

When West led the club queen against four hearts, South was optimistic that the lead had solved one of his problems. But since there was a chance that the opening lead was a singleton, declarer won in hand and set about trump immediately, finding he had a loser there. Next he played a diamond. East captured the king with the ace and switched to a spade, to the king and ace. West cashed the master trump, then got off play safely with a diamond. Now there was no way for South to avoid a second spade loser, and that proved to be the setting trick.

If South had taken the club queen lead on trust, and assumed he had no loser in that suit, he could have succeeded by playing on diamonds at trick two, before touching trump. East will naturally capture dummy’s king with the ace, and probably return a spade. (Note that if East can give West a club ruff, the defense will be trumping a loser).

Assume West wins the spade ace and exits in diamonds. South ruffs, and plays his top hearts, discovering he has a loser there. But he can next eliminate clubs, and West will be endplayed in trump, sooner or later. Now that player is forced to lead round to South’s spade tenace, or give a ruff and discard.

This same sequence of plays is available after a club play at trick four.



Your partner’s double is between optional and takeout; you are expected to remove the double with any hand where you might hope to make your contract. Since your values, such as they are, are in the right place, you should act. Rather than guess at the best suit to play in, bid four no-trump, showing a two-suiter, and asking partner to pick his better minor. You will correct five diamonds to five hearts.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 6 4 3
 10 9 7 6
 K 4
♣ K 10 6 3
South West North East
      3 ♠
Pass 4 ♠ Dbl. Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Chi Wen Tzu always thought three times before taking action. Twice would have been quite enough.

Confucius


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

♣6

North has a tailor-made hand for a jump to three spades at his second turn, showing extras and four trumps. With as little as the spade jack in addition to his values, he might make a jump to four clubs, a splinter bid setting spades as trump and showing the values for game.

In turn, though, South has enough to drive to slam. Depending on whether he is playing Blackwood or Keycard Blackwood, and what responses his side plays, the auction may follow slightly different routes, but North-South should find a way to end up in slam.

Against small slams there is no reason for West not to lead his best suit, hoping for a fast or slow club trick, together with a winner in trumps or hearts. Aggression is generally key against small slam, passivity against a grand slam.

In turn, East should win the first trick and return a club. Why? To weaken dummy’s trump — imagine the club king and club queen were switched to see what I mean.

South wins the club king (if he ruffs this trick in dummy he is dead). Now he leads the spade king, to retain flexibility in the trump suit. Since he won’t be expecting to negotiate jack-tenfourth in trump in either defender’s hand, he must ensure he does succeed when either opponent has a singleton spade honor.

Once the spade 10 appears from East, it will be easy to follow up with the spade queen and subsequently to finesse against West in spades to make the contract.



Whether your partner’s one no-trump call is forcing or not, it doesn’t feel like you should pass here, with an unbalanced hand. But what to bid? My instincts are to bid two diamonds, rather than repeat the hearts, to show six, or to bid two spades, which would require at least an extra king.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 8 7 2
 K Q 7 3 2
 A Q 3
♣ 4
South West North East
      Pass
1 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Business you know, may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does.

Jane Austen


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

*short spades with both minors

♠4

The parable of the wise and foolish virgins can be metaphorically extended to the world of bridge players. There are those players who go for instant gratification, while others plan ahead, and are prepared to trade off the delight of winning a trick for higher expectations further down the line. Today’s deal is a good example of how it can be worthwhile to invest a trick to good effect.

The hand cropped up in a team game, played for high stakes, with both tables reaching three no-trump on an unopposed auction and receiving a low spade lead to East’s 10. The first declarer won the opening lead and took a club finesse. East wasted no time in winning his club king and returning the spade eight. Whatever declarer did, he was fated to lose four spade tricks and to go one down in his contract.

By contrast, the second declarer was prepared to delay taking a trick to try to ensure his contract. He ducked the spade 10, and then went one further, ducking the second spade as well. East led a third spade, and West could win his ace, but now nothing could prevent South from taking a club finesse into the safe hand, East, and emerging with nine tricks.

The key here is that declarer can be reasonably sure West is the hand long in spades, while East is the hand with the potential club entry. If the club ace and king are switched, it may still be right to play for split aces, but the calculation is far more complex.



When the opponents intervene in a game-forcing sequence where your side has not found a fit, double by your partner should be penalty, a double by you should be defensive, not guaranteeing more than three trumps. That being so, you have a very easy double; since neither side seems to have a fit and your side has enough high cards for game, you should be able to extract a sizeable penalty.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 5
 K 7 3
 A 8 6 2
♣ A Q 10 9 4
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♠ Pass
2 ♣ 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

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

All things began in order, so shall they end, and so shall they begin again.

Sir Thomas Browne


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

♠2

The auction may look bucolic — essentially South drives to slam facing an opening bid. But he cannot judge exactly which cards his partner has, so gambling on slam seems reasonable; it is, after all, unlikely to be worse than a finesse.

South uses Blackwood after forcing to game and setting spades as trump. When North shows one ace South sees that one ace is missing and contents himself with the small slam.

What would you lead with that West hand? A trump seems sensible; it is unlikely to take a finesse for declarer that he cannot take himself. My second choice is a diamond, my third choice would be the club ace.

When dummy comes down, South must form a plan and count his tricks. He should determine he has 11 top tricks; the 12th trick may come from a club or from an established heart. Best is to win the trump lead, then play off your two top hearts and ruff a heart high (noting that the suit splits 4-3). Now lead a spade to the 10 — you did not waste that card at trick one did you? Ruff another heart, draw the rest of the trump and throw your second and third clubs on the long heart and long diamond. You can give up a club and note, to your pleasure and relief that both the key honors there were offside.

Of course, if the hearts had failed to break, South would be in position to lead a club from dummy, instead of cashing the heart jack.



Dummy rates to put down three hearts in a limited opener, while declarer should have five hearts and a moderate hand. Since you seem to have the clubs under control, my instincts are to lead a trump to try to kill a ruff in dummy in either spades or diamonds. More to the point, nothing else is even slightly appealing.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ J 7 4
 A 6 2
 J 9 4
♣ K J 9 3
South West North East
      Pass
Pass 1 ♣ Pass 1
Pass Pass Dbl. 2
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, January 1st, 2016

At unfavorable vulnerability, my partner opened one no-trump, and my LHO balanced with two clubs for the majors. When my RHO bid two hearts, my partner protected with a double. I had a doubleton heart, and thought it was unlikely my partner wanted me to bid a minor at the three-level. So I passed, assuming his double to be penalty, but my partner had a minimum hand with two hearts. What did I miss?

Scrambled Signals, Elmira, N.Y.

A simple rule is that when one of you opens one notrump, double of a natural (or potentially natural) call is always takeout if and only if: the partnership has done nothing but pass after opening one no-trump. Having said that, double of a purely artificial call should simply show that suit.

I held ♠ A-Q-7-6-4, Q-4, 9-5, ♣ K-J-7-2, and overcalled one spade when my RHO opened one heart. Now came two hearts on my left and my partner doubled. What does that show and what should I have done now?

Fish Finger, Berkeley, Calif.

After the opponents bid and raise a suit, no low-level doubles are for penalty. They suggest cards and the unbid suits. Here I’d expect partner to have the minors, or else invitational values with some spade support, and at least one of the minors. In either case, it looks right to bid three clubs and await developments – if any.

Say the opponents are declaring the hand at no-trump and you are leading from a four-card suit headed by a two-card sequence such as K-Q, Q-J, J-10 or 10-9. When would you lead high, and when would you lead low?

Spotty Muldoon, Vero Beach, Fla.

Treat a sequence of this sort as if it were three touching cards if you have the card one away from the sequence such as Q-J-9 or J-10-8, and lead the top card; otherwise lead fourth highest. If you know dummy rates to be short in this suit, or if declarer appears to have a long suit coming down in dummy or in his own hand, then leading an honor from Q-J or K-Q becomes more attractive.

I think I have understood you to say that a jump raise of a major in competition would show more shape and less high-cards than a limit raise. Is that now standard? And is there an upper limit on the cue-bid raise — or does it show less than an opener?

Sixteen Candles, Tacoma, Wash.

The cuebid in competition takes the place of the limit raise when the opponents are not bidding. But the cuebid is unlimited – it is consistent with a slam try. As to whether this treatment is standard or not, my guess is that in duplicate it is close to the norm these days. In rubber bridge, you may have to know your customer.

One of the problems I have with addressing the problems you set in every column is that I never know what form of scoring is in use. Is there room to put that in – or to state the vulnerability?

Clearing House, Chicago, Ill.

I try to avoid being specific here, unless the answer would vary based on one of those factors. Both in the main column and the problem it is probably safe to assume teams (or rubber) is the appropriate form of scoring, not pairs. As to vulnerability: I always state that in the main deal, and you should assume it isn’t relevant in the problem. If it is, I’ll mention it in the answer.


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, December 31st, 2016

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Albert Einstein


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

*Take-out

K

Today’s deal saw a top class pair miss a spectacularly challenging defense; can you do better?

Against four hearts West began with a top diamond, planning a heart shift if diamonds appeared unpromising. When East echoed in diamonds, West led out two more top diamonds, assuming that East might not encourage diamonds if he did not want his partner to lead a third round of the suit.

If dummy had ruffed low, East would have overruffed and returned a trump, taking out dummy’s sole entry before the hearts could be unblocked. Discarding from dummy would be no better, for East could then pitch a club, and ruff the third round of clubs, leaving South a trick short.

Accordingly, South ruffed in with dummy’s spade king and East discarded. Now declarer drew two rounds of trump with the ace and queen, cashed the club ace and exited with the spade two to endplay East for either a club discard or a lead away from the heart king.

Could, or should, East have done better? South is surely marked with his actual spade holding and the missing aces. The only way the contract can be in jeopardy is if the clubs are blocked, in which case East can see the looming endplay.

East must not only underruff with the jack when the spade king is played, he must follow up by playing the spade 10 on the first round of trump. Now declarer will finish a trick short. If you found this defense, congratulations – this might be the hardest problem of the year!


While double would be take-out here, and your hand is not the classical shape for this action, the best way to set up a game force and show spades is to double then rebid your suit. Since you would bid a direct two or three spades with a limited hand, this is how to force to game.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A Q 8 7 6 2
 A 5 3
 6 5 2
♣ A
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 ♠ Dbl. Pass 2
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, December 30th, 2016

Live as long as you please, you will strike nothing off the time you will have to spend dead.

Michel de Montaigne


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

♣Q

The auction to four spades sees North first make a negative double and then raise spades, to invite game. After West’s top club lead, South’s problem is how to tackle the black suits.

He must win the first trick in dummy with the club king, to prevent the defenders from being able to ruff out his side’s remaining club honor. After all, West is marked with long clubs, and East may well have a singleton. If South wins the first club in his hand and leads a spade, West will take the spade ace and lead the club jack through dummy’s king. East will then ruff away the club king, leaving declarer with two eventual losers.

After winning the first trick in dummy, South should next cross to his hand for the first play in spades. West is favorite from the auction to hold the spade ace. If the ace is singleton, South would like to lead a low spade from his own hand and see the ace fall on empty air.

But South must avoid the next trap, by coming to his hand with the heart ace (not the diamond ace, which would open up lines of communication for East-West) in order to lead a low trump. As hoped, West’s spade ace pops up. The defenders can lead another club, allowing East to ruff, but he gets to ruff a loser rather than a winner.

East can now try to cross to his partner’s hand with a diamond for another ruff. However, South can win the diamond ace, draw trump, and claim.


There seem to be a lot of points in this deck! Nonetheless you should show what you have by cuebidding two diamonds, promising a high card raise in spades. The fact that you are balanced should not discourage you from describing what you have, and letting partner in on the secret.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 7 5
 K J 8 4
 J 8 4
♣ A 4 3
South West North East
Pass 1 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, December 29th, 2016

The Golden Rule is that there are no golden rules.

George Bernard Shaw


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

K

When a defender offers you an early ruff and discard, your first reaction should be to expect a defensive error or an awkward trump break. Here after West had opened the bidding with one heart, East was able to make a pre-emptive raise to three hearts. With a high-card limit raise he would have bid a conventional two no-trump.

Undaunted, South blasted his way to four spades, and West began the defense with ace, king and a third heart. He knew that East held four hearts, and little, if anything, in the way of high cards, so establishing trump control looked the best way to set the game.

The ruff and discard alerted declarer to the probable bad trump break. If West had acefourth of spades, South could see the risk of being forced. Since he needed a ‘substitute’ trump suit to counter this threat he discarded dummy’s low club and ruffed the third heart in hand.

The king and queen of trumps followed, West correctly withholding the ace, and the expected 4-1 break was revealed. But next came the ace and queen of clubs, followed by two rounds of diamonds, ending in hand.

Once West had followed twice in each minor, South could run the rest of his clubs, and West was helpless. If he ruffed in, he would be overruffed in dummy; so he pitched a heart, and dummy discarded a diamond. When West discarded again on the club jack, North’s last diamond went away, and dummy scored a trump trick at the end for the 10th winner.


In this position there is no need to insist on playing no-trump. Facing a singleton spade, you might struggle in three no-trump while being able to make game or slam in a different strain. Start by bidding two diamonds, which is natural and forcing though typically a five-carder. No-trump can always come later.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 9 8 2
 8 5
 A K J 5
♣ A Q 8
South West North East
    1 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

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