Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 17th, 2014

Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.

Amelia Earhart


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

9

The Venice Cup is the world championships for women, and in Bali last year it was won by the Americans, who narrowly defeated the English in the final. Today's deal comes from England's victory in the semifinals against another of the world's powerhouse women's teams, the Chinese. In today's deal, though, the Chinese came off best, with Yan Li at the helm in a delicate no-trump game.

Susan Stockdale led the heart nine, to the two, 10 and queen. Things didn’t look that good for declarer, since a lot had to be done to be able to scramble nine tricks together.

At trick two Yan made the natural play of the diamond jack, which went to the king, ace and seven. Yan’s key play came at the next trick when she led a club to the nine and East’s jack.

Stockdale now shifted to a spade and Yan won the trick with her king. The club queen followed, and when that wasn’t covered and the 10 appeared from East, declarer was able to repeat the finesse in clubs. She ended up scoring one spade, two hearts and three tricks in each minor. This technique in the club suit is called an intra-finesse, and involves finessing against a doubleton honor, then pinning it on the next turn.

Incidentally, had West won the first club and returned the suit, declarer would have cashed her club and diamond winners, then endplayed West with the fourth diamond to lead spades for her.


Had you doubled one heart in direct seat, you would be minimum in high cards, even though your shape was attractive. Your decision bid on or pass would be a close one. But as a balancing hand, you should consider that you are in no way ashamed of your values. Your aces and singleton make you full value for a three-spade call — an aggressive player might simply bid game.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Charlotte, having seen his body
Borne before her on a shutter,
Like a well-conducted person
Went on cutting bread and butter.

William Thackeray


South North
Neither ♠ A K 6 4
 A 4
 A Q J
♣ J 7 4 3
West East
♠ Q
 6
 K 10 8 4 3 2
♣ K 10 9 8 5
♠ 9 8 5 3 2
 K Q 5 2
 5
♣ A Q 2
South
♠ J 10 7
 J 10 9 8 7 3
 9 7 6
♣ 6
South West North East
3 Pass 4 All pass

♠Q

In today's deal from the Bermuda Bowl semifinals in Bali, John Kranyak for USA-I declared four hearts. West led the spade queen and declarer won in dummy and played the club jack next. East took the ace, and instead of playing a spade to ensure the defeat of the contract, exited with the club two. Declarer ruffed and ran the heart jack to East's queen. The diamond return went to dummy's jack and declarer unblocked the heart ace, played a spade to the jack, followed by the heart 10. East won, but declarer could claime the balance — he had his 10 tricks.

In the other room Claudio Nunes took the spade lead, cashed the heart ace, then continued with a second round. East took the king and switched to a diamond. East was now threatening to underlead his clubs and get a diamond ruff. However, declarer won the diamond with dummy’s queen, played a spade to the jack, overtook the spade 10 with the king, and played the spade six, on which he discarded the club six from his hand – a classic example of the Scissors Coup. With the link to his partner cut off, East could now take only his master trump.

At double-dummy, though, an initial diamond lead defeats the contract. Declarer does best to win, cashes the major-suit aces, then continues with three more spades, throwing the club as before. East can win the spade and force declarer with clubs at every turn to establish a third trump trick.


Any action that the doubler takes now shows extra values. Specifically, a rebid of one no-trump in this auction shows a balanced 18-20, since you would already have overcalled one no-trump with 15-17 and would have passed now with a balanced 13-14 count. While your diamond honors are well placed, that is not enough reason to upgrade the hand to a call of two no-trump, so the bid of one no-trump looks perfect.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A K 6 4
 A 4
 A Q J
♣ J 7 4 3
South West North East
Pass Pass 1
Dbl. 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

If we think (the people) not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.

Thomas Jefferson


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

*Forcing

7

Today's deal was played in three no-trump or in six diamonds at every table. Whatever contract was attempted came home in some comfort — since if North played three no-trump on a heart lead, he would take the spade finesse as his extra chance before going after the ninth trick that he needed from the club suit. Of course had he played on clubs before spades, he would have risked going down as the cards lay.

The play in six diamonds followed a curiously similar general pattern. West led a heart and declarer tried an early club to the king and ace. Now South knew he needed a discard from dummy to take care of the losing club, so he also led a spade to the jack. When the finesse succeeded, he had a straightforward route to 12 tricks.

Only one East-West pair went plus; here is how they did it (on the auction shown).

Mike Passell as West did very well to stay out of the auction. (Had he overcalled one heart, East would have shown a pre-emptive raise in that suit, and declarer would have known to take the spade finesse rather than play on clubs.)

Against six diamonds Passell selected the heart lead, which gave declarer nothing. Declarer, Jerzy Russyan, won the heart and led a club to his king, smoothly ducked by Passell, persuading declarer to draw trumps and lead a second club toward his hand. Down one!


When you hold the unbid suit well stopped, you should only use fourth suit if you are in any doubt as to what the best game is, or if there is a possibility of slam. Here, while partner could have as yet unshown extras, your balanced minimum opening bid heavily suggests that three no-trump is the best game. So bid it.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Truth and facts are woven together. However, sometimes facts can blind you from seeing what is actually going on in someone's life.

Shannon Alder


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

K

In the quarter-finals of the world championships, the US and Canadian teams met up, in an elimination match. In a see-saw match, the US pulled away at the end, to win comfortably.

Both tables played four spades here, and ,against the Canadian declarer, Bobby Levin led the diamond king, ducked by declarer. A second diamond went to dummy’s ace, and Daniel Korbel pulled trumps in three rounds before taking the heart finesse. Now the club jack went to the eight, three and queen.

Korbel ruffed the diamond return, then played a low club from hand, Levin playing the ace. Had Korbel unblocked the club 10 from dummy, he would still have had a chance to make the contract. (He could guess to enter dummy with the heart ace and play a low club to his seven.) However, with the blocking club 10 still in dummy, declarer had no chance after ruffing the diamond return with his last trump. He cashed the club king and had to concede one down.

In the other room West also led the diamond king, ducked, and continued the suit. The American declarer, Kevin Bathurst, won and played the spade 10, then a spade to the jack, before judging very well to advance a low club from hand. West could do no better than win the club queen and cash the club ace before continuing with the diamond queen. The ruff-sluff allowed Bathurst to discard a low heart from hand and claim his 10 tricks.


This is insoluble in Standard American, since the fourth suit, two clubs, sets up a game force. You can overbid with that call (which at least gets you to the right strain), underbid by raising to two spades, or jump to two no-trump to invite game. This last call overstates your club stopper and might wrongside no-trump, as well. Your useful club 10 may make the overbid of two clubs the least lie.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 10 9 7
 A Q 6 5 3
 A 4
♣ J 10 2
South West North East
Pass 1 Pass
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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 13th, 2014

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

William Blake


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

*Game forcing, with spades

K

Last month we looked at some deals that had cropped up in the early stages of the world championships in Bali in September 2013. This week's deals all occurred toward the end of the championships.

The first deal exemplifies the concept that defensive signaling cannot be reduced to a simple question of attitude — whether you like or do not like partner’s lead. A thoughtful defender will signal by reference to the whole hand and what partner is likely to switch to if given the chance.

Today’s deal comes from the last qualifying match of the Senior round-robin with Netherlands needing a big win to qualify, which they duly managed to do. This board helped their cause.

In one room, where Bep Vriend was declarer, West led a top diamond against four hearts, and East contributed the jack, suggesting a sequence but denying the queen. West naturally switched to a heart, and now the contract came home. Vriend won the queen, cashed the ace and queen of trumps and pitched a diamond from dummy on the third heart. West’s defense was unsuccessful but well-reasoned, since if East had the heart king rather than the jack, this is exactly how he would have defended, and the heart shift would have been mandatory.

In the other room, Chris Niemeijer led a high diamond as well, and when Louk Verhees Senior signaled encouragement, West continued diamonds. Now four hearts had to go one down, losing one further trick in each black suit.


This hand is more about tactics than it is about anything else. While your side could have two tricks to take against a slam, the odds favor the opponents being able to make 12 tricks in hearts. You should try to prevent them from bidding slam, and while caution may be appropriate if vulnerable, I would simply raise to three spades if nonvulnerable. Maybe LHO will now bid four hearts to end the auction?

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 4 3
 J 2
 10 9 7 2
♣ 9 8 5 4
South West North East
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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, October 12th, 2014

If you pass in first seat, when should you double an opening bid to your right? If fourth hand opens a minor, should you strain to come back into the auction with a maximum pass?

Comeback Kid, Memphis, Tenn.

Beginners (and even some experienced players) frequently err here by entering the auction unnecessarily, doubling with off-shape hands to show their points. If your partner passes in third seat, especially when nonvulnerable, why would you come into an auction where you know you are outgunned? Only double with classical shape, not just the excuse of "11 points, partner!"

As West I held ♠ A-K-10-7-2,  —,  A-5, ♣ K-J-10-8-7-3. I opened one club with nobody vulnerable, intending to bid spades twice. My RHO over-called one heart, and my partner bid two clubs, natural and nonforcing. My RHO jumped to four hearts. What should my next bid be?

Much the Miller, East Brunswick, N.J.

I'd bid five spades over four hearts, and if they sacrifice in six hearts I would make a forcing pass. A call of four spades by me may never be passed out, but that doesn't get my slam-going values across. Freak deals don't help you judge all that much in real life, but here you should appreciate that this hand rates to offer excellent play for a black-suit slam facing as little as four clubs to the ace.

Should you use Stayman in response to a one-no-trump or two-no-trump opening whenever you have a four-card major and the values for game? Or should you reserve it for use only on unbalanced hands?

Question Mark, Portland, Ore.

It is true that when you are balanced with surplus values for game and a poor four-card major, you might consider playing in no-trump, not a suit. Similarly, with secondary honors in your short suits, there may be no value in taking a ruff, because your holding may solidify partner there. Otherwise, Stayman tends to be the percentage action.

I opened one spade in second seat with ♠ A-Q-8-7-3,  K-5,  Q-9-8-5, ♣ K-J, feeling that my 5-4 shape was unsuitable for opening one no-trump. After a two-club overcall to my left, my partner raised to two spades and RHO joined in with three clubs. How would you rate my options of passing, bidding three diamonds, or three spades?

Sail Away, Bellingham, Wash.

Three diamonds is a game-try for spades — your badly placed club honors make you just a little short of the values for that. Your slight extra distribution makes bidding three spades as a purely competitive maneuver logical enough, though. I think most experts would take the push here — and very few would open one no-trump. Try to avoid taking that action with most 5-4-2-2 patterns and decent suits, especially with a long major.

Given that it is traditional to play a response of four no-trump to an opening no-trump call as quantitative, what is the consensus on using Stayman, then bidding four no-trump over a major-suit response? If that is quantitative, how do you agree on partner's suit and ask for aces?

Reach for the Stars, Willoughby, Ohio

If you use four clubs as Gerber after finding a major opposite, a direct four-no-trump call remains quantitative. A call of three of the OTHER major by responder after Stayman can sensibly be subverted for use as a balanced artificial slam-try, agreeing partner's suit. That allows a subsequent call of four no-trump to be Keycard Blackwood. Direct new-suit jumps remain splinters agreeing partner's suit.


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, October 11th, 2014

Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.

Henry David Thoreau


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

*Minors, 7-11

♣K

One of the top players in England is David Gold, for many years director of teaching at St John's Wood Bridge Club. Today's deal shows him in top form on a deal from a home international match against Wales.

West’s two-no-trump opening showed both minors and made it difficult for the English pair to reach four spades, but the bidding was more than helpful in the play.

West led the club king, followed by the ace, East showing three cards in the suit. West then switched to the spade five, and declarer went up with dummy’s ace, cashed the diamond ace and king, discarding spades, then ruffed a diamond to hand. Now he ruffed a club and ruffed a diamond, East discarding a spade.

He next crossed to the heart ace and played dummy’s last diamond. To prevent declarer from scoring another small ruff (which would have given him three plain winners and seven trump tricks), East ruffed in with the heart jack. Declarer overruffed with the queen, and had to decide what West’s last two cards were. It seems to me that he played the odds when he exited with a spade.

When West followed suit, Gold knew that West was marked with precisely two spades and five cards in each minor, thus only one heart, which he had produced under dummy’s ace. Accordingly, in the two-card ending, with declarer holding the K-8 of trumps, when East led back a low heart from his 9-7, Gold could be completely confident in taking the finesse.


It is tempting to jump to three no-trump, but the absence of spot cards in your long suits suggests that caution would be wise. A simple raise to two no-trump is enough, since your partner has suggested values in the range of 6-10 HCP. Change the diamond three to the 10 and you might contemplate doing more.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A Q 9 4
 A 10
 A K 8 6 3
♣ 7 6
South West North East
1 Pass 1 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 10th, 2014

I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman where the self-help section was. She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.

George Carlin


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

K

The hallmark of a well-constructed problem is that it resembles the sort of deal you face in real life. If you were to look at today's deal and remark with raised eyebrows, that the blockage in the heart suit and the lack of entries to dummy in the trump suit seem rather artificial, I would be hard-pressed to argue with you. But that is not the point. Having reached six spades, and having found dummy with a tantalizing collection of goodies that appear to be just out of reach, how are you going to make best use of its assets?

Let’s assume you win the diamond lead and play the trump ace, West showing out and discarding a diamond. If West holds the club king, you can draw the last trump, cash the heart ace, and play a diamond, forcing West to give you an entry to dummy with a club, heart, or diamond.

However, East is surely the favorite to hold the club king because of the theory of Vacant Spaces, which tells you that West has six cards outside of diamonds and spades, while East has 10 such spaces.

If you believe, as I do, that West would be equally likely to open a three-diamond pre-empt with or without the club king, then the way home from here is to cash the heart ace and exit with the trump five. As the cards lie, East is forced to bring dummy back to life and allow you to make 12 tricks.


Your partner has shown six diamonds and five spades and not a huge hand. (He could have bid two spades at his second turn or jumped to three spades over one no-trump.) My best guess would be to let sleeping dogs lie and pass two spades. Correcting to three diamonds might improve the contract — but you really do not want to hear partner bid again!

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 6
 J 9 6 4 3
 3
♣ K J 9 5 3
South West North East
Pass 1 Pass
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, October 9th, 2014

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first.

Blaise Pascal


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

4

At one table in a team game West elected to lead a low diamond against three no-trump. East's eight forced the jack, and declarer now guessed to play on spades by leading low to the nine. East won the trick to return a diamond, and declarer took the trick, then ran off the spades while discarding a diamond and a heart from hand as East pitched a club. When he led a heart from dummy toward his hand, East ducked. Declarer took his heart jack and ace and his diamond winner, and East was then thrown in with a heart to give declarer his ninth trick in clubs.

Since no lead appeared to give the defenders a sure set, East was philosophical about the whole thing. However, when they came to score up, his teammates announced ‘Lose 13 IMPs’.

When East wondered whether the swing had been the result of a superior choice of opening lead, South confirmed that West had led a fourth highest spade three. South had put in the nine -and East had ducked! Declarer led a heart to his jack, then played ace and another heart, and East won his queen to shift to the diamond nine. South went up with the ace, cleared the hearts, then took the next diamond with the king and cashed his long heart. East nonchalantly discarded his small spade, so can you really blame declarer for playing a spade to the jack now?

East won his queen, and played yet another diamond, and the defenders had six tricks.


The jump to four clubs suggests a very strong hand with spade fit and a singleton club. It looks natural to bid four spades — but just think how much better your trumps are than they might be. With nothing to cue-bid, maybe the best way to get the nature of your hand across is by jumping to five spades. Such jumps typically either show really bad trumps, or as here, very good trumps but nothing else to show.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A K J 9
 8 5
 7 2
♣ J 9 7 6 2
South West North East
Pass 1 Pass
1♠ Pass 4♣ 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, October 8th, 2014

Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful.

Friedrich Nietzsche


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

♣K

In this deal from a recent Gold Coast tournament in Australia, declarer observed that the opposnents do not always defend correctly; but it is up to you to make them pay. Michael Prescott was South, on an auction in which he sensibly came in over one no-trump, assuming that either he or his opponents would be very close to making their contract. In general one wants to respond to a takeout double if one can.

Equally, North should not have invited game by raising two hearts to three, thus risking giving up the plus score. One might compete to three hearts over three clubs, but a very different sort of calculation would be involved.

Against Prescott’s delicate contract, West led a top club and shifted to a top spade instead of playing a heart. Prescott ducked, won the next spade to ruff a spade, then trumped a club in dummy. Next, he played the fourth spade and pitched a diamond from hand, at which point West gave declarer his chance when he discarded a club rather than a diamond. East exited with a third club, and Prescott ruffed in dummy, then played the top diamonds and ruffed a diamond.

By now Prescott was fairly sure that West, who had a balanced hand, would have opened a strong no-trump with the heart king. So he led his last club and pitched dummy’s diamond when West produced the king. Success! East was forced to ruff his partner’s winner, then lead away from the heart king. Contract made.


With a dead minimum and only four hearts, it looks normal enough to pass your partner's invitational call of three hearts. But if your partner has both clubs and hearts, as you would expect — since the only other hand-type he might have is a balanced 18-count — maybe your fitting cards in clubs make you just worth a raise to game.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 4
 A 7 6 5
 7 6 2
♣ Q 10 6 5
South West North East
1♣ Pass
1 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.

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