Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

What makes a problem a problem is not that a large amount of search is required for its solution, but that a large amount would be required if a requisite level of intelligence were not applied.

Allen Newell


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

*Spades

♣K

Last year we lost one of the nicest players in international bridge, Steen Moller of Denmark. At the 2012 Mind Sports Games in Lille, Steen gave the Daily Bulletin this defensive problem.

When you as West lead a top club against four spades, your partner plays the nine, using upside down signals. He either has the singleton nine, queen-nine doubleton, or three (or more) small cards. What now?

If you decide to try your luck with a red suit, and you guess well, you rate to beat the contract at once. If you guess wrong, though, declarer will surely discard at least one of dummy’s club losers. So should you cash your second club? No: that requires partner to produce two tricks, not one.

The bulletin decided that a spade shift might be best in theory and it certainly works in practice. Finding partner with the spade ace is as likely as any other ace. But if it is wrong, (if, for example, you switch the spade and heart aces) you may well get a second chance, since declarer would not be able to take the discards he needs. And that applies even if declarer also had the diamond jack.

A day later, the bulletin published a mea culpa. Steen had neglected to tell the bulletin that the winning play (not found in either room of his senior match) had been found by his current partner’s wife in the Women’s series! As they remarked, that would be the last time he got invited round to Dorthe Schaltz for dinner!


In competitive auctions, jumps to the five-level tend to be focused on one of two things: the need for either a control in the danger suit, or good trumps. Here there is no space, and my guess without detailed discussion would be that my partner might first cuebid four spades then bid five hearts with a spade control. So I’ll pass, despite my good trump.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 6 2
 A K J 2
 A Q 5 2
♣ Q 10 3
South West North East
1 NT 3 ♠ 5 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 12th, 2016

Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?

Josef Stalin


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

J

All this week’s exhibits come from the Mind Sports Games at Lille four years ago, to mark the fact that this year’s event is now under way in Wroclaw, Poland.

This deal is from the final set of the England women’s victory over Russia in the finals, showing that the players were still focusing, even after 12 days’ play.

Against four spades West led the heart 10. Declarer, Susan Stockdale, won with dummy’s ace and drew trump in three rounds, as West discarded the heart two.

Declarer then set up her elimination by cashing off her top hearts, East discarding an encouraging diamond. She then exited with the diamond jack, and West put up the king and returned the seven for the eight, queen and ace. Declarer exited with a third diamond, and could now hold her club losers to one by force.

In the other room Nevena Senior also led the heart jack and the first variation in the play did not come until trick seven, when Heather Dhondy as East was allowed to win the diamond jack with her queen. She switched to the club six and West won her queen. Now West played the diamond 10, a thoughtful deceptive card.

Declarer can still succeed by winning and exiting with a diamond, but when she ducked – assuming East had the diamond king, and hoping West had begun with the doubleton diamond 10, West could exit in diamonds.

Now it was declarer who was endplayed, and forced to lose a second club. One down, and 12 IMPs to England.


Your partner rates to have diamond length, so it is tempting to lead that suit. The alternative is to kill ruffs in dummy by leading a trump, but I’d be worried about picking up the trump suit for declarer. My first choice is a small diamond, my second a small heart. But underleading an ace smacks of desperation, and I’m not sure it is appropriate yet.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 10 3 2
 A 5 4 2
 J 9 5 2
♣ 3
South West North East
Pass 1 ♠ Dbl. 1 NT
2 Pass Pass 3 ♣
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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Holding ♠ A-7-3, Q-10-9-6-2, 7-5-2, ♣ K-4, I heard my partner open one club and the next hand bid one spade. What approach would you recommend now, and would your action be different as a passed hand?

Fair Competition, Boca Raton, Fla.

As a passed hand you’d bid two hearts, since your initial pass has effectively limited your hand. But as an unpassed hand, you are not worth committing the hand to the two-level; so what else can you do? You must bid, so a negative double looks less misleading than an overcall of one notrump. Switch the red suits and I’d advocate bidding one no-trump, since losing diamonds is far less critical than losing hearts.

If you held ♠ A-Q-10-3-2, 4, Q-J-10-8, ♣ A-J-3, and heard a weak no-trump to your left, and four hearts to your right, would you act? I can see how passing, doubling, or bidding four spades might all work. If you prefer to pass, how much more would you need to act?

Needing More, Staten Island, N.Y.

My vote goes for the bid of four spades. The real reason for acting with such a marginal hand is the practical one that the jump to four hearts is very wide-ranging. Even when my LHO might want to double me for penalties, he will not know if his partner’s action is purely based on shape, or on some high-cards too. They made you guess; return the favor!

Against your opponent’s one notrump opening, do you prefer to be able to bid with a single-suited or two-suited hand? How does your approach vary depending on vulnerability, and would you recommend a different approach in balancing seat to direct seat?

Controlled Aggression, San Antonio, Texas

In direct seat you’d want to bid with shape rather than just high cards, and you need to be able to act with all major-based hands, be they one- or two-suited. In balancing seat, when non-vulnerable, or when a passed hand, you have more flexibility to act, as partner is less likely to hang you. Bidding makes especially good sense when you know that if you don’t, partner is likely to lead your singleton or void.

At a recent STAC Pairs game, I was at favorable vulnerability in second seat. I held ♠ A-8-4, 10-9-8-7-6-4, J, ♣ A-5-3. Would you preempt if your RHO passed, and would you overcall if your RHO opened one spade?

Drawing the Line, Corpus Christi, Texas

I would not preempt in second seat at any vulnerability. My hand is too strong defensively, and too playable in three suits for this to be a good idea. Overcalling two hearts over one spade when non-vulnerable would not disconcert me unduly. Partner is unlikely to be on lead to the final contract, and I am trying to get in my opponents’ way.

I held ♠ K-Q-10-8-7-6, J-6, 7, ♣ 8-5-3-2, and defended three clubs after my partner had overcalled one diamond over one club. Declarer had subsequently shown long clubs and extra values, and I had bid spades. My partner led king then ace of diamonds, dummy putting down a 3-4-3-3 pattern with the spade ace and club queen. If I choose to discard a heart, would you recommend the jack or the six – and why?

Hot Cross Bunny, Bellevue, Wash.

Partner should not have the diamond queen or he would lead it at trick two. I’d discard the heart jack, hoping that partner will work out to give me a heart ruff if he has the ace and that he will play on spades if he does not. I realize my partner might lead away from the heart king, hoping I have an original holding of ace-jack-third; I’ll take the risk.


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: Saturday, September 10th, 2016

What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul.

Joseph Addison


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

♠A

In today’s deal North-South were playing that their weak twos when vulnerable in second seat would promise very close to opening values, hence North’s majestic leap to slam after the opponents bounced to four spades.

West tried the effect of the spade ace and another spade, hoping to build a trump trick for his side. Declarer carefully ruffed the second spade with the trump queen, and East, not knowing which minor to discard, correctly underruffed. Then South cashed the heart ace, drew trump, and played a fourth heart, while throwing two clubs from the table.

Since West was marked with nine spades and no hearts, he had four cards in the minors. If the contract was to succeed, declarer knew that he needed East to have sole guard of clubs, so East had to hold at least three cards in that suit, but he would also need to have started life with at least four diamonds.

Declarer now took the fifth trump, reducing to a six-card ending with four diamonds and the club ace-king in dummy, while declarer held three small clubs, the guarded diamond king and a trump. If East pitched a club, declarer would score trick 13 with a small club. So he discarded a diamond, and declarer ruffed out the diamonds, with a club entry to the board to score the last trick with the diamond seven.

The blockage in clubs had prevented him from cashing either minor earlier. Note how much easier the hand would be to play if the club and diamond kings were switched.


Your hand looks too good for a purely competitive three-heart call, even if your spade honors may be wasted. I’d bid three diamonds as a game try for hearts. Were my king in clubs not diamonds I’d try three clubs, which should be a try for game rather than a suggestion of an alternative contract. Once hearts have been agreed, the partnership should not need to look for a different strain.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q J
 K J 9 6 5 2
 K 3
♣ 8 7 4
South West North East
    1 ♣ Pass
1 1 ♠ 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, September 9th, 2016

Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.

Sun Tzu


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

♠3

South was too strong for a 15 to 17 no-trump, so he showed real extras in a balanced hand, then revealed his good three-card heart suit at his third turn. North now closed his eyes and leapt to slam, to ensure his side reached the right trump fit. Had he cuebid four spades his side might well have ground to a halt in game.

After a low spade lead, South realized he need to ruff the opening lead, as he was not sure what to discard from dummy at that point. A trump to hand and a low club up saw the club king win.

South then played a second trump to hand. If trumps had been 3-1 or 4-0, declarer would have almost certainly have been reduced to taking the heart finesse. As they were 2-2, he played another club, and since West had the club ace, the defense was helpless. The location of the heart king was now irrelevant: if West took the ace, declarer could claim immediately. He would discard his heart losers on dummy’s clubs, and his spade ace and remaining trumps would take care of dummy’s three small hearts.

So West tried the effect of ducking the club ace. This might have been effective if East had started with the heart jack, rather than declarer, since South might have ended up losing two heart tricks. As it was, though, declarer could simply take the heart finesse and claim 12 tricks when it lost.


The spade void is not necessarily a plus factor here, and some of your minorsuit cards may not be pulling their full weight. Nonetheless you can hardly pass two hearts here, so you should raise to three hearts and pass the buck to your partner.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ —
 10 8 7 4
 K 10 8 7 5
♣ K Q J 2
South West North East
  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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Giving up is always an option, but not always a failure.

Cameron Conaway


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

♣10

Against four hearts West leads the club 10. East wins, plays the club king and ace, then leads out the jack. You win the club queen and play the trump ace. Alas, West discards a spade. Is there a way to make a 10th trick?

The 3-0 trump break has ruled out using dummy’s trump 10 as an entry to your spade ace and king. Since the diamond king is marked in the East hand there is no point in leading a diamond. Instead, you should try the effect of the trump nine. If East is caught napping, he will win the trick and you will be able to reach dummy to cash the spade winners.

Today, East will allow the trump nine to win. You will then need the deal to be similar to the one shown here. You must hope East started with exactly three clubs. You exit with a low trump to dummy’s 10 and East’s jack, leaving him with no good return. The spade queen will provide access for you to dummy’s two spade winners. But if instead he exits with a low diamond, you will run it to dummy’s queen. Then you will discard your remaining diamond loser on a top spade.

Incidentally, if dummy’s hearts were 1-0-7-2 you can lead the heart nine on the first round of trumps, and overtake if West discards. Then East must win, and even if he was dealt a 3-3-3-4 pattern originally he will have to lead a heart round to dummy’s seven, or let declarer reach dummy with a spade or diamond.


It is tempting to bid one spade here, but that should show at least a five-card suit. The best call to show values, at least tolerance for diamonds, and a maximum pass. This double can be referred to as Snapdragon, Competitive, or a Fourth-suit double, but they all mean approximately the same thing.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A K 10 3
 10 5 2
 Q 6 4
♣ 5 4 2
South West North East
Pass 1 ♣ 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.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.

Julia Cameron


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

K

In today’s deal North emphasized his diamonds then came out from behind the bushes by supporting spades at the four level. Neither opponent had anything further to say, so four spades became the final contract.

When dummy came down, South should have expected to make his game very easily with five trumps and six diamonds plus a heart ruff to give him 12 tricks. At rubber bridge there was, however, no harm in taking out just a little insurance against a bad trump break.

If one of the opponents had four trumps, South knew he would lose a trump trick sooner or later. If this happened late in the hand, the defenders might then be in position to take additional tricks in hearts and clubs as well as their trump trick. South realized he could afford to lose a trump trick and two clubs, but he could not also afford to give up a heart trick.

Having worked that out, South saw that he could ensure his contract by surrendering a trump at the second trick. Dummy’s remaining trump would then prevent the opponents from taking any heart tricks. The defenders could take their two club tricks, but then South would easily win the rest.

If the defenders had forced dummy with a second heart at trick three, or after cashing a club winner or two, declarer could then have come back to hand with the diamond jack to draw the rest of the trump.


Your partner’s use of the fourth suit sets up a game force, and would have left you with an awkward call had East passed. But after the double you have no clear bid, and an easy way to indicate that is by passing now. That should let your partner bid naturally in support of you or by rebidding his suit. Note: if he redoubles, you will put the dummy down.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 4
 A K 10 8 3
 7 6 2
♣ A Q 9 4
South West North East
1 Pass 1 ♠ Pass
2 ♣ Pass 2 Dbl.
?      

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

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

One should never marry a man who doesn’t own a decent set of scissors.

Gillian Flynn


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

Q

The judicious application of scissors would have seen the declarers home on today’s hand, but both Souths missed their chance for the unkindest cut of all.

The two Souths played four spades, and at each table West led the heart queen. The first South rose with dummy’s ace then cashed the trump ace and king, being disappointed to find the 3-1 break. Next came the club ace, followed by a diamond to the king. Had West held the diamond ace or had diamonds broken 3-3, declarer would have made 10 tricks. As it was, East won, and played a low heart to West’s nine. West continued with the trump queen, and now declarer had no entry to dummy’s clubs for diamond discards.

At the other table, after winning the heart lead, just one round of trump was cashed before South played a diamond to the king. East won; now West ruffed the diamond return, played a heart to East’s king, and the second diamond ruff sank the game.

Declarer here was on the right track, but after drawing just one round of trump, had he exited with his second heart – the Scissors Coup – communications between the defenders would have been cut.

Declarer could subsequently have gone about his business, in the knowledge that West could obtain a maximum of one ruff – and that with a trick to which he was entitled anyway. Of course ducking the first heart is almost as good. Even if the defenders take a ruff, the contract will only go down if one defender has a singleton spade and diamond.


After the negative double, South has no especially accurate continuation. A call of two clubs strongly suggests six, or an unbalanced hand, and a call in either red suit is obviously unacceptable. So what is left, given that a pass is not on the agenda? The answer: rebid one no-trump, showing a balanced hand. What is a full spade stopper between friends?

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 6 3
 A 2
 K 8 6
♣ K Q 8 4 3
South West North East
1 ♣ 1 ♠ 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 5th, 2016

Here’s to the few who forgive what you do, and the fewer who don’t even care.

Leonard Cohen


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

♠K

This month I shall be running a few deals from Larry Cohen’s latest teaching tool: “Larry Teaches Declarer Play at Suit contracts”, (available from his website). The book discusses many basic strategies for intermediate players.

Try today’s problem, where West leads the spade king against four hearts. Declarer can count a sure spade loser in addition to potential losers in hearts and clubs. If trumps are 2-2 and the club ace is onside, declarer should come home with an overtrick. As you can see, Larry has not made your task easy: trumps are 3-1 and the club ace is offside.

It might appear that declarer has to lose a spade, a trump and two clubs. But, declarer can make his contract by combining the partial drawing of trump with a technique from Cohen’s chapter on throw-in plays.

The spade king lead marks the queen with West, which may turn out to be useful. Declarer wins the spade ace and tests trump with the ace and king. The 3-1 break is bad news, but the fact that it is West who is out of trumps will prove useful.

Leaving a high trump outstanding, declarer aims to get help from West. He strips off the diamonds and exits with the spade jack. West can win, but then has either to lead clubs or issue a ruff-and-sluff. East still has a high trump, but by keeping a trump in dummy, declarer is able to endplay West and hold his club losers to one.


In an auction of this sort your best hope to beat the contract looks to be to go passive, hoping the black suits are lying unfavorably for declarer. Here the most passive option looks to be a heart, so I would lead the heart nine, trying to give away as little as possible.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 10 8 3
 9 4 3
 A 2
♣ Q 9 8 6
South West North East
Pass 1 ♠ Pass 2 ♣
Pass 2 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, September 4th, 2016

I have a question about disclosure, specifically about the range for our side’s weak-two bids, and the best way to make sure the opponents know what my partner knows. Our convention card says 5-11, but at favorable vulnerability in first or third seat we will frequently act lighter. Is this a permissible style variation? Should it be alerted or perhaps pre-alerted? How should we mark our card?

Bandersnatch, Cincinnati, Ohio

I appreciate your concern; you are right to think the opponents should be alerted – but not pre-alerted. Many convention cards have a section at the top for very light actions, as well as a space in the area for preempts. Mark those properly and additionally I’d alert the preempt if it is in one of those seats.

You recently ran a deal in which a player heard his LHO open two hearts, over which his partner bid two spades. His RHO raised to three hearts, and this came back to his partner, who doubled. He took this as penalty, and conceded 10 tricks for a zero. You described the second double as cards not penalty – why was this?

Looking Back, Worcester, Mass.

The double of three hearts is for takeout, showing extras. But overcaller doesn’t know, for example, whether advancer has three spades and a weak hand (as was the case here) or short spades with a solid defensive holding in hearts. In other words, the double is for take-out, but doesn’t have to be taken out.

I’m planning to direct my club events with an Arrow-switch or Scrambled Mitchell to get only one winner from the field. In other words, in the last few rounds the North-South pairs will play the East-West cards, and vice versa. Is this a good idea — and if I run one, how many boards need to be switched to achieve a fair result?

Doppelganger, Trenton, N.J.

Arrow-switching just the last round will be quite sufficient to get a single winner. The mathematics of the situation are quite complex but I’m assured that this is the normal requirement – indeed a further arrowswitch might actually be counter-effective.

I wonder if you’d care to give us an update on your plans for bridge over the next few years, and what your targets in bridge, personal or otherwise, might be?

Barbie, Claymont, Del.

I travel rather less than I did – but I still play some national events and trials. I still am keen to contribute to keep the standard of ethics around the world as high as possible, and to make sure we encourage good behavior and discourage lapses. Playing with my wife Judy twice a week at the club is now one of my greatest pleasures.

Holding ♠ 8-6-3, A-Q-4, Q-2, ♣ K-J-10-6-3, I overcalled two clubs over one diamond. My partner subsequently suggested that a take-out double would be better since I had about an opening and support for all of the other three suits. What is current thinking here?

Surfeit of Lampreys, Grand Forks, N.D.

I believe that when you have a five-card major and limited values you would normally bid the suit rather than double. Perhaps with 4-5 in the majors a case could be made for the double. With an uninspiring five-card minor, double if you have three cards in each major, otherwise pass. This hand could go either way, but the club 10 coupled with the three small spades, persuades me to overcall.


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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