Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, January 6th, 2019

When opener supports responder’s major suit, I know that you believe the raise can be based on either three or four trumps. Can responder ask his partner to describe his hand more precisely?

Define and Dandy, Waterbury, Conn.

A convention, called “Spiral Scan” by some, is used after opener raises responder’s major-suit response. A call of two no-trump over the raise lets opener use a four-step response; minimum with three and four trumps, respectively, maximum with three and four trump, respectively. Responder’s two-spade call over two hearts tends to show four, to help reach a 4–4 fit if opener has raised hearts with four spades and three hearts.

If you were dealt ♠ A-9-7-4-2,  J-5-2,  A-K-7, ♣ Q-2, and heard your partner open one no-trump, would you merely drive to game, or would you invite slam? (As the cards lie, my partner had king-queen-third of spades and a 16-count, but he had all the missing controls bar the club ace, and we had 12 top tricks).

Underdone, Memphis, Tenn.

I would simply transfer to spades and then bid three no-trump, not considering slam unless my partner broke the transfer at his first turn. But if, over my jump to three no-trump, my partner made a call other than four spades, it should show a maximum with three trumps. Then I’d probably up and bid slam.

Please explain how leading third-and-fifth or third-and-low works — as opposed to fourth highest. What are the main differences, and which would you recommend I play?

Spot Belly, Staten Island, N.Y.

Leading fourth-highest, but also lowest from three, may make those two holdings hard to differentiate. By contrast, leading a high spot card from two or four cards, but lowest from three or five, means that any ambiguity should be between holdings that are two cards apart. This makes confusion rather less likely, so an experienced partnership might consider moving on from fourth highest.

If you were in fourth seat with ♠ J,  Q-10-6,  K-Q-10-6-4-2, ♣ K-3-2, would you use Pierson points (spades plus high-card points) to determine whether to open the bidding? Would the vulnerability affect that decision?

Keeping the Peace, Fort Worth, Texas

Playing pairs, I tend to open my balanced 11-12 point hands when vulnerable (even when relatively short in spades, a criterion others take seriously). Partner tends to have the hand closest to an opener in such circumstances. But this collection is an unbalanced hand with very little in the majors and no aces. I don’t expect the opponents to be able to make game — but it wouldn’t completely surprise me. I’d pass and apologize if I were wrong; but if I did open, it would be with a call of three diamonds.

Holding ♠ A-J-3-2,  Q-4-2,  K-Q-4, ♣ K-10-2, I assume you would open one no-trump in an uncontested auction. But what would you do if your right-hand opponent opened the bidding? When would you pass, when would you double, and when would you overcall one no-trump?

Call My Bluff, Willoughby, Ohio

I would open one no-trump happily enough, and I would overcall one no-trump over the opening bid of a minor or one spade, but I would double one heart. Having said that, if my partner were a passed hand and I heard a minor suit to my left, I might double and take the low road. I would never pass with this hand.


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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, January 5th, 2019

In war there is no second prize for the runner-up.

General Omar Bradley


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

*Artificial, setting hearts as trump

**One of four key-cards

10

When North jumped to four diamonds, systematically showing a balanced slam try in support of hearts, South rejected the try. But after he showed only one key-card, his partner next made a slightly optimistic grand slam try, promising all the key-cards. With all the kings and a little extra shape, South decided he had enough to go for the brass ring.

West had a suitably passive lead against seven hearts in the form of the diamond 10. Declarer needed to decide which would be the master hand, and in which hand he would take ruffs. Sensibly, he decided to take ruffs in dummy, so he wib the diamond ace and carefully drew two rounds of trumps with dummy’s high hearts.

When the heart ace-jack revealed the bad break, South understood that it might be difficult to take the one ruff he needed in dummy. But he found the best line when he cashed the club ace-queen. He then crossed back to hand by leading a spade to the king, pitched dummy’s remaining diamond on the club king, and ruffed a diamond in dummy. He could next lead a heart to his hand, draw the last trump, and claim the rest.

Players tend to assume that any line that needs two favorable breaks will generally require more luck than a line that needs just one. But here declarer played a line that needed very little from both minor suits (East having at least three clubs and two diamonds) as opposed to that player having three or more diamonds. South’s chance of losing to a ruff on his chosen line was relatively small by comparison to the risk of encountering a 5-2 diamond break.



Yes, you could try to land on a pin-head by passing. But it seems like an acceptable risk to get too high in the attempt to find a fit. I would use Stayman, though with all these assets in the short suits, I can imagine that simply raising to three no-trump might be the winning strategy.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q J 2
 10 9 7 5
 J 4
♣ 7 6 4 3
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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, January 4th, 2019

The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?

William Shakespeare


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

♠7

Opinions vary as to whether South should bid diamonds or spades here in response to one club. With less than an invitation, you might prefer to respond one spade; the problem with auctions where you bid diamonds is that opener must then either bid a major if he has one (which makes it hard to get to clubs with confidence) or rebid one no-trump if balanced. In the latter scenario, you might miss a 4-4 major-suit fit.

Here, in a teams game, South reached three no-trump on the lead of the spade seven to the king and ace. East figured the auction had marked declarer with both missing spade honors, so he found the threatening shift to the heart 10. What would you have done as South after West contributed the jack to this trick?

Declarer could see that ducking might leave him behind in the race to five tricks, after a club shift by West. So, he took the trick and ducked a diamond, with West winning his jack to return a heart.

Declarer now resisted the temptation to win and play on diamonds — in case one defender had four diamonds and four hearts. Ducking the heart would at worst cost the overtrick, but today it left West unable to continue the suit. West shifted to a club, which declarer won in dummy, remaining vigilant. He led a second diamond from dummy, and even though East tempted him by following with the queen, he ducked again. Now he had three tricks in diamonds and two in each of the other suits.



This hand is way too good to pass now (even though I can imagine that we might not be able to make anything). The choice is between a raise to three clubs and a double. The former suggests extra shape; the latter, extra high cards. I prefer to double, assuming that, if necessary, my partner can repeat clubs. If partner does pass out two spades doubled, I’d hope to beat the part-score on heart ruffs.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K
 A K 4 3
 9 3 2
♣ A K 4 3 2
South West North East
  1 Pass 1 ♠
Dbl. Pass 2 ♣ 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

Generosity is a virtue for individuals, not governments. When governments are generous, it is with other people’s money, other people’s safety, other people’s future.

P.D. James


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

♠2

The British home international open series is the Camrose Trophy. From the English Camrose pretrials a few years ago, John Froztega played this hand very nicely; but it was Marc Smith, the injured party in the East seat, who generously reported it. Given perfect defense, it is hard to believe that any of the four or more top tricks that East-West have against four hearts could get away!

Peter Czerniewski as West had done well for his side, up to a point, by not sacrificing in four spades, which would probably have gone at least two down. Instead, he passed out four hearts and led a low spade, and dummy’s nine held. A heart to the jack exposed the 4-0 break, and there seem to be at least two inevitable losers in each red suit.

Still, Froztega did not give up hope; he set about playing a cross-ruff in the black suits. He cashed the club king and ace and ruffed a club, then took the spade ace and ruffed another club. When he then ruffed a spade, he had reached a five-card ending with three diamonds and two hearts in each hand.

Now came a diamond exit to the king and ace. Czerniewski could cash one more diamond to let Smith discard his club, but then had to lead either a spade or a diamond, which Smith was forced to ruff at trick 11. That in turn required him to lead away from the heart king into dummy’s trump tenace, to concede 10 tricks. Remarkably, the defense’s sure trump winners had completely vanished.



If your side isn’t in the midst of a bidding accident, you made a penalty double, and your partner has now shown a strong hand with long spades. Cautious players will bid only three spades, but I’d argue that the little you have may be very useful. So, I would simply jump to four spades. With an additional top honor in spades, I’d do more, perhaps a splinter jump to four diamonds.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 4 3
 K 10 9 7
 10
♣ Q 10 8 6 3
South West North East
  2 Dbl. 2
Dbl. 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.

Leonardo da Vinci


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

*Short hearts, agreeing spades

K

Today’s deal shows a type of problem that is often encountered in real life. It is necessary to plan the play right from the start in order to visualize the ending.

As South, when you take advantage of the vulnerability to open one spade, you hear West overcall in hearts. North drives to game showing short hearts, and you wrap up the bidding in game.

When dummy comes down, you can see that you are certainly high enough. West kicks off with the heart king and shifts to the spade jack. You must now plan how to reach 10 tricks. The obvious line to follow is a cross-ruff, but be careful! The key is that you must win the trump shift in hand to ensure that your cross-ruff will not be interrupted by an over-ruff.

Your plan will be to ruff one heart low and two hearts high in dummy, while crossing back to hand with two club ruffs. Specifically, you win the spade ace and ruff a heart low, then cash the club ace and cross-ruff the next four tricks.

After taking seven tricks in a row, declarer can cash the diamond ace and exit from hand with a diamond. In theory, either defender can win the diamond, but in today’s three-card ending, declarer will be able to score both his 10 and eight of trumps in hand for his 10 tricks, no matter what the defenders do.

Note that if West had an original 2-6-2-3 shape with the spade nine and diamond king, he would win the trick with his king, but would only be able to lead hearts or a trump, so declarer would still be safe.



Your right-hand opponent presumably has long clubs — do you have any reason to act again? I see no reason to bid now; you have a minimum hand with reasonable defense in clubs. If your partner cannot compete to two spades, you should not assume that it would be a desirable contract.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K Q 3 2
 8
 Q 10 7 3
♣ A 10 3 2
South West North East
1 ♣ 1 1 Pass
1 ♠ Pass 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

There is only one cure for the evils which newly acquired freedom produces, and that cure is freedom.

Lord Macaulay


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

*Game-forcing, with spades

♣J

North’s jump to two no-trump is the Jacoby convention, showing game-forcing values with a real spade fit. In essence, North promises an opening bid and four or more trumps, although with an unbalanced hand including a singleton and trump support, he might jump directly to the four-level in his shortage, a splinter bid. South has minimum values and no shortage, so he shows this by bidding game at once. While other methods may be more effective, this has the virtue of simplicity, if nothing else.

After the initial club lead, declarer ducks (hoping the defenders will not shift to diamonds and put him on the spot). As hoped, the defense continue clubs, and South wins the ace at the second trick.

Next, he draws two rounds of trumps, ending in hand, and leads a heart to the queen and king. Back comes a heart; declarer wins the ace and ruffs a heart. Finally, declarer ruffs a club to dummy and a heart to hand, leaving himself with the diamond guess for his contract. Is it a blind guess, or can South tilt the odds in his favor?

All he has to do is to count the hand: The way the plays in clubs have worked out so far, he can reasonably assume East has the heart king and the king-queen of clubs. But he passed in first seat, so he cannot hold the diamond ace or he would have opened the bidding.

Thus, the correct play is to lead a diamond toward the king, intending to put up that card if West plays low.



Are you prepared to force this hand to game? I’m not sure yet, but I would start by bidding three clubs for the time being, bidding where I live. If my partner bids three diamonds, suggesting no heart stopper and no delayed spade support, I will plan to pass. If I bid over three diamonds, it sets up a game force, and I don’t think this hand is worth that.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A K J 8 3
 8 4
 8 7 3
♣ A 6 4
South West North East
    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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, December 31st, 2018

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

Robert Heinlein


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

A

The USA under-21 team lost to Sweden in the finals of the 2014 World Youth Bridge Championships held in Istanbul. The gold medalists included three players who have already represented their country and won medals in the European championships open and women’s sections! Among the Swedish players were Ida Gr√∂nkvist and Mikael and Ola Rimstedt, all of whom won the junior title two years later, and who will be stars at world level sooner rather than later.

The USA silver medalists included Ben Kristensen, who played with Kevin Rosenberg. The latter is the son of Michael and Debbie Rosenberg, both world champions. Their teammates were Christopher Huber and Oren Kriegel.

Today’s deal came up in the final. In the first room, the Swedish East (probably rashly) sacrificed in five diamonds at his second turn to speak. This decision seems unsound because he was too balanced in the side suits, and he was not bereft of defense. This was passed around to the USA North, who doubled and collected 500.

In the second room, the auction was as shown: East (Huber for USA) bid just four diamonds. This passed to the Swedish North, who bid four hearts.

Kriegel, West, led the diamond ace, and on seeing dummy’s singleton, tabled the only card at trick two that could lead to the defeat of the contract — the club jack — a textbook surround play to ensure three club tricks for his side, whichever club declarer played from dummy.



Your partner has shown a pre-emptive raise, so your values on defense are strictly limited. My best guess to beat this would be to lead the spade ace and give partner a spade ruff or two. Starting with a top diamond may extract our own entry prematurely, so you must hit the ground running with the spade ace.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ A 6 3 2
 6 4
 A K 7 5 3
♣ 5 4
South West North East
1 Dbl. 3 4
Dbl. Pass 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, December 30th, 2018

With this hand: ♠ 3,  K-10-5-4-2,  A-J-7-2, ♣ K-Q-3, I opened one heart and heard two spades to my left, followed by a double from my partner; I then bid three diamonds. Now my partner bid three spades. What does that show, and what should I do?

Bumblepuppy, Ketchikan, Alaska

The three-spade call asks you to bid three no-trump, or it may be the first move in a slam try for diamonds. You can’t bid three no-trump, of course, but you can bid four clubs to suggest this shape (or even raise to four spades to emphasize the spade control).

Say you deal yourself ♠ A-7-3,  A-J-9-2,  A-J-7-6-2, ♣ 10. If you open one diamond and hear a response of one spade, what options would you consider sensible?

Brunhilda, Union City, Tenn.

You have a good but not great hand, with the right shape but not quite enough for a reverse to two hearts. Give yourself the diamond queen instead of those red jacks, and the aces might persuade me to do just that. Since you cannot repeat diamonds or bid no-trump, of course, you’re left with a slightly inelegant raise to two spades. The hand is a little strong for that, but you have only three trumps, so it feels about right.

Please explain to me what a safety play in bridge consists of. I seem to see quite a few different plays described by that term.

Taxi Driver, Pittsburgh, Pa.

There are two completely different plays lumped under the heading of “safety play.” The first (the one I normally mean) involves protecting yourself against an unkind distribution by a correct move. For example, with K-Q-9-2 facing A-8-7-4, you might start with the king to pick up a bare jack or 10 in either opponent’s hand. The second usage is like a gambit at chess: sacrificing a trick you may not have had to lose to ensure you don’t lose two tricks. With K-J-8-7-2 facing A-9-4, cashing the king and leading to the nine would be an example.

You recently discussed this hand, where you heard partner double one diamond and a one heart call to your right. With ♠ J-9-6,  —,  Q-9-6-5-2, ♣ A-10-8-5-2, you bid two clubs and heard partner bid two hearts. Why did you next bid two no-trump instead of three clubs?

Gorgonzola, Sioux City, Iowa

I’d expect to be facing a 3-5-2-3 18-count or so. I don’t have any reason to repeat my clubs; partner knows I have them. Three no-trump could easily be making, but if my partner passes two no-trump, would three clubs be better? I doubt it.

I’ve received contradictory advice about how the defenders should signal at trick one when dummy has a singleton, after the lead of a high honor. When, if ever, is suit preference right? Are there other cases where it applies?

Chump Change, Great Falls, Mont.

Briefly, when continuation of the suit led makes no sense, suit preference may apply. When continuation may be right, third hand should be able to signal for a continuation as well as giving suit preference. Also remember that if third hand knows declarer has a singleton or void in the led suit (and opening leader knows he knows), he may also be able to pass on a suit-preference message.


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, December 29th, 2018

Get up, stand up: Stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: Don’t give up the fight!

Bob Marley and Peter Tosh


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

5

The player with the South cards was looking forward to opening two no-trump when his reverie was interrupted by East’s pre-emptive two hearts. At this point, South’s options were a clumsy leap to three no-trump, which might miss a spade fit, or the more delicate approach that he followed at the table, of doubling and converting his partner’s constructive three-club call to three no-trump.

(Many people play that calls of three of a minor are constructive here, since they use a bid of two no-trump as Lebensohl, a puppet to three clubs if the overcaller does not have significant extras.)

West led the heart five, and South, ever suspicious, ducked the first heart, won the next as West reluctantly pitched a spade, and then had to decide how to play the rest of the hand. A reasonable approach would be to play for 3-3 clubs, but if you cash the top clubs, cross to the diamond ace and test clubs, you will almost be out of chances if they do not break.

South inferred from West’s reluctance to part with a spade that he had started with no more than four cards in that suit and a singleton heart, so a distribution of 4-1-4-4 seemed likely. Thus, South made a very thoughtful play when he cashed the club king and overtook the queen with the ace. When the 10 dropped, he could lead the club nine and establish four tricks in clubs to go with his five plain-suit winners, making nine in all.



This is easier if you play one no-trump to be non-forcing, so that the two-club call virtually guarantees four or more clubs. Regardless, I’d bid two spades to show a good raise to three clubs. The aces and fifth trump make this hand worth an aggressive action. For the record, if partner had instead responded two diamonds, I would either raise or give false preference to two hearts.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, December 28th, 2018

I hit a grand slam off Ron Herbel, and when his manager, Herman Franks, came out to get him, he was bringing Herbel’s suitcase.

Bob Uecker


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

10

After North’s Jacoby two-no-trump call, promising four-card spade support, South started cue-bidding, asked for key-cards, then confirmed that the partnership had them all by bidding five no-trump. When North showed the club king, South bid what he thought he could make.

West led the heart 10, and declarer counted 12 winners (five spades, four hearts, and three minor-suit tricks). If spades were no worse than 3-1, he could draw trumps and discard a diamond from dummy on the fourth round of hearts; then dummy would be able to take a diamond ruff.

Declarer played low from dummy at trick one, winning his jack in hand. Next, he carefully played a high trump from hand. When West discarded a diamond, declarer could see that trying to ruff a diamond was too dangerous a policy to pursue. Instead, he decided to ruff two clubs in hand without using the heart ace as an entry. He cashed the club ace and king, then ruffed a club low when East followed suit. Next, he led the trump queen to dummy’s ace and ruffed dummy’s last club with the jack. His remaining trump, the five, went to dummy’s nine. After drawing East’s last trump with the 10, declarer claimed thirteen tricks: four trumps, four hearts, a diamond, two clubs and two club ruffs.

Note that the bad heart break means that if declarer had been prodigal with his trump entries (by playing a low trump toward dummy at trick two), he would have gone down.



I haven’t incorporated many modern treatments into my armory, but one I do like is to play three clubs as the second negative over opener’s rebid of two of a major. This ensures that three no-trump, if we reach it, will be played the right way up. Had partner responded two spades, I think I would jump to four spades rather than splinter to four hearts. (I’d need a king or two queens for that.)

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 7 6 4
 4
 J 10 8 5
♣ 10 9 6 2
South West North East
    2 ♣ 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.

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