Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 19th, 2016

Depend upon it sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.

Samuel Johnson


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

10

Today’s deal requires some careful thought and complex maneuvering – and it is not helped by the fact that at first glance your contract appears to be safe, so you could be forgiven for a spot of premature euphoria.

Declaring four spades, you receive the opening lead of the heart 10 to East’s jack. That player takes the heart king and ace, then shifts to the diamond jack. When you win the diamond ace you should recognize that the only possible problem is a 4-0 trump break. If East has all four spades there is nothing can be done. But when West has four cards you should take a line that does not rely on diamonds breaking — a dummy reversal. (What that means in layman’s terms is to score extra trump tricks by ruffing in the long rather than the short hand.)

The first move is to cash the club ace. The next hurdle is to lead the spade nine to the ace, witnessing the bad break, and ruff a club with the spade eight. Now the spade two is led: West must split his honors, and the king wins in dummy. You can ruff the last club with the spade seven, then finesse dummy’s six. At this point the spade queen draws the last trump and takes care of the diamond four from your hand.

The last two tricks are taken by your high diamonds, and your 10 tricks consist of four trumps in dummy, four top side-suit winners and two ruffs in hand.


It is not my task to lead my readers down the primrose path to vice. But I would feel quite strongly here that there is no practical alternative to a one spade opener in third seat (or even in fourth seat perhaps). In bridge one must not only bid one’s own cards but make the opponents’ life harder. Bidding your best suit, while preempting the opponents a little is often a good idea, and especially here.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A K Q 6
 Q 6 4
 7 5 2
♣ J 10 5
South West North East
    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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 18th, 2016

No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. I am now going to shut it.

Franz Kafka


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

Q

Keeping control of which defender stayed on lead, plus some good guesswork in the endgame, was the key to success in this contract of four spades.

West led the heart queen, and before playing from dummy South worked out that success or failure might hinge on holding his club losers to one. To maximize his chances, he decided he needed to keep East off lead for as much of the deal as possible.

Thus, when East encouraged with the heart seven at the first trick, declarer ducked. Had East overtaken the queen with the king, South would have won. After drawing trump, he would have returned a heart, hoping West would be forced to win the trick.

As it was though, declarer won the heart continuation at trick two, drew trump, and played three rounds of diamonds. If West was forced to win, he would be endplayed either into returning a club or giving a ruff and discard, which would allow a potential club loser to disappear. However, it was East who won the third diamond. Had he returned a low club, South would have played low, and now on winning, West would have been endplayed.

East (who knew his partner would duck with the ace-jack) put declarer to an additional test when he cannily returned the club 10, which went to the queen and king. West now returned a low club and declarer had a 5050 guess as to what to do. I think he did well to rise with dummy’s nine, don’t you?


One of the hardest tasks at bridge is to re-evaluate good and bad hands. Sometimes you have to prevent yourself overvaluing your good hands. Here you showed a really good hand and partner kept the auction open…just in case. In context you’ve told your story and must pass. It is a good hand – but not THAT good.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 17th, 2016

Don’t tell your friends about your indigestion. ‘How are you?’ is a greeting, not a question.

Arthur Guiterman


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

♣K

The Dyspeptics rubber bridge table has a reputation for wildness – both in the bidding and play, as well as in the post mortem of course. But on today’s deal they might have outdone themselves, since each of the players took an action that might have been construed as anywhere between aggressive and completely certifiable.

Mind you, it was not an easy hand for North-South to bid, and the final contract of six spades was a fair one – though it could have been set by force on a trump lead. When West led a top club, South wasted no time in winning and trying to cash three hearts to dispose of his losers. This was a line that was unlikely to succeed, given the auction. Indeed, East could ruff in to play a trump; and that was curtains for declarer.

Before South could go into his usual litany of excuses, he noted the red glint in North’s eye, and instead meekly requested enlightenment. Can you see a winning line for declarer?

South must duck the opening lead, win the trump shift in hand, then unblock the club ace. He can now cash two hearts pitching dummy’s last club. His next move will be to ruff a club low, then come back to hand, first with the diamond ace and subsequently with a diamond ruff, to trump his last heart loser with the spade ace. At the end he is left with just enough spades to cope with the 4-1 trump break, together with his master heart.


You’d never sell out here, but the question is how to convey your minor-suit pattern. Double is for takeout, but doesn’t seem to be what this hand is about, given that you have only three spades. You might bid two clubs and hope to receive preference to diamonds if partner is 3-3 in the minors. But my six-carder persuades me to bid two diamonds, planning to compete with three clubs next.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.

Rudyard Kipling


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

7

It is always satisfying when a swing is generated in a team game by one player following the right line, one the wrong, and the card gods demonstrating that justice will be done, though the heavens fall.

In today’s deal both tables played four spades, on a low diamond lead – though it seems perfectly reasonable to me to lead the nine here – it may even persuade declarer to mishandle the trumps if he suspects a bad diamond break.

Be that as it may, in one room declarer took the diamond finesse, thinking that he would break even by pitching a club loser on the diamond ace if it lost. That ignored the possible defensive club ruff, and with the cards lying as they did, even when no club ruff was forthcoming, there was still no practical way to avoid losing two clubs and a trump. Down one.

In the other room South realized that he was faced with a classic elimination hand. The only problem was to check that there were enough trumps to complete the elimination without risk. South won the diamond ace, played off the spade ace (happy to see the 2-1 break) and ruffed a diamond. Then he led a heart to the king and ruffed a diamond, cashed the heart ace and ruffed a heart. Finally he exited with a trump, and let the opponents open up the club suit to his benefit.

Whatever the defenders did, they could take only two club tricks now.


With your diamond honors probably not pulling their full weight, it is far from clear that you are worth even one slam try. Since spades are agreed, you can bid a forcing three clubs, but unless partner makes a call such as four diamonds to show a diamond splinter, I’m not sure I would even look for slam.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A J 7 3
 K 4
 A Q 5
♣ Q 8 4 2
South West North East
    1 ♣ Pass
1 ♠ 2 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: Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

More brain O Lord more brain! Or we shall mar
Utterly this fair garden we might win.

George Meredith


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

♠K

Today’s deal saw both North and South have close decisions as to whether to go on to slam. However, both judged well, since the duplication in spade length meant that although the final five-level contract was a good one, there was no guaranteed route to 11 tricks.

You might consider just looking at the North and South hands to appreciate declarer’s problem, before reviewing all 52 cards.

At the table declarer won the spade lead, drew trump and played the diamond king and a diamond to the jack. East won her queen and switched to the heart jack. Declarer played the queen, West covered with the king and now declarer had to go down, since he could not avoid two further heart losers.

Can you see where declarer went wrong (without the benefit of peeking at the opponents’ cards)? It was correct to play on diamonds before hearts. South really does not have any easy way to endplay the defenders unless the heart king is right – in which case he will always make at least 11 tricks.

But what South should have done was play low from hand on the heart jack, and win in dummy. Now he can cash his diamonds, to strip off all the side suits bar hearts. Declarer next plays a low heart to his queen. He still succeeds if East has the king, but he also succeeds when, as here, West originally held king-doubleton of hearts. West can win his king, but now has to give a ruff-and-discard.


Plenty of people will look no further than their high cards and will open one notrump. At least your singleton is an ace, but I’m not happy with this action when I have such a suit-oriented hand. I prefer opening one diamond, planning to rebid two hearts over one spade. An alternate plan is to rebid two clubs, intending to bid on over a sign-off in diamonds with a naturalish call of two hearts.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A
 A 7 6 2
 A J 9 6
♣ K J 10 5
South West North East
      Pass
?      

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

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 14th, 2016

Better to trust the man who is frequently in error than the one who is never in doubt.

Eric Sevareid


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

K

Against four spades you lead the diamond king, getting the two from partner and the three from declarer. Is the contract beatable or should you hope to hold it to four? The answer may surprise you: you are almost a lock to set the contract if your side does everything right. Can you see the key to the defense?

The secret lies in partner’s play to the first trick, the diamond two. In a situation like this, your partner is obliged to give you a count signal. The missing diamond is the seven, and if partner had it, he would play it to show you a doubleton; that means declarer has the seven. Rather than cash your diamond king, you should switch to the club eight. When you get in with the spade ace, you will lead a low diamond for partner to ruff and will receive a club ruff in return to defeat the contract.

This is an easy defense when you think about it correctly. As long as partner can be relied on to give count when he is expected to, defenses like this one are available. If you couldn’t trust partner to give count, you would have a much harder decision. It might be right to defend as you did on the chance it will work, but it might also be right to shift to a heart, hoping to get a trick there.

Knowing for sure that your partner will play the seven from a holding of 7-2 takes away the mysteries of this hand.


Rather than lead from a dangerous doubleton holding, you have to lead a suit contra-indicated by the bidding, in the knowledge that you need your partner to have scattered values to have any chance to set the contract. Since your partner has not acted he rates to have no fit – and likely length in the opponents’ suit. So I would lead a low heart.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ K 6
 K 8 6 2
 K 9 6 3 2
♣ Q 4
South West North East
    Pass Pass
1 1 Pass 1 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, November 13th, 2016

I held: ♠ —, Q-6-5, K-J-9-5-4-3 ♣ A-10-7-3 and was in first seat at favorable vulnerability. Was my decision to open two diamonds unreasonable? In a sense my decision worked well, because we stayed low when my partner had a balanced 13-points with five spades. But the club and heart finesses worked, so we could make three no-trump…result, misery.

Affirmative Actor, Laredo, Texas

Preempting looks against the odds to me because of your side defense and playability in three suits. Make the club three the spade three and I concur with your decision. You always want to try to make your opponents guess, if you have a reasonable way in which to apply the pressure, as here. But sometimes you have to weigh up if misrepresenting your own hand is worth the price. Here, I’d say no. I’d open one diamond and apologize later.

There seems to be an ongoing debate as to when to open one no-trump when in range but holding a five-card major. Do you have any simple rules?

Lawmaker, Holland, Mich.

You should almost never open one no-trump with a five-card major and another four-card suit. Additionally, with a five-card major and 17 points plus a five-card major, open your suit and treat the hand as 18-19. With a bad 15 points and a good suit I will occasionally down-value the hand and rebid as if I held 12-14. Otherwise, unless I have two open suits, I think a strong no-trump is most descriptive, or the least lie, with 5-3-3-2 pattern.

My hand from a recent duplicate game was ♠ A, A-K-Q-J-9-5-3, K-6-5, ♣ 9-4. I chose to open two clubs but subsequently my opponents thought I should have opened one heart with the intention of jumping after my partner’s response.

House Martin, Westhampton, N.Y.

Your hand is on the cusp of a game force – planning to jump to four hearts to show a shapely hand with quick tricks in a long suit but no slam interest. Nothing is perfect, and I’m more flexible with opening two clubs than some. Give me the diamond queen (or the jack on a very good day) and you could sell me on the stronger action.

I held: ♠ 8-3, K-10-9-7-4, Q-7, ♣ K-9-8-2 and heard my partner open a strong no-trump. How should I have advanced this hand?

Open Sesame, Spokane, Wash.

I think you could sensibly go in one of two directions. If playing Stayman but not transfers, bid two clubs and follow up with two no-trump unless you find a fit. If you are playing Jacoby transfers, transfer to hearts then invite game with a call of two no-trump. It would be a slight underbid not to make a try for game, since your good heart intermediates offer your partner a decent source of tricks. Without the heart 10, I might transfer to hearts, planning to pass unless partner broke the transfer, to show a real fit for hearts.

I recently held: ♠ K-J, Q-10-8-5-4, K-9-8-2, ♣ Q-3. I passed the hand, which worked out well enough since my partner had 12 points and the deal belonged in a part-score. But his comment afterwards was that a 5-4 hand with an easy rebid should probably be opened when non-vulnerable. What do you say?

Action and Re-action, Tucson, Ariz.

With a 5-4 pattern and touching suits I tend to open, unless the hand has severe flaws. On this occasion the combination of the absence of aces, plus the doubleton spade and club honors clearly not pulling their full weight, make passing the normal action to me. Move the club queen into the diamond suit and opening the bidding becomes far more attractive. You have more playing strength when your honors are in your long suits.


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, November 12th, 2016

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

Blaise Pascal


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

*Forcing club raise

10

While three no-trump is the comfortable game contract here, both tables in a team game played in clubs after an invertedminor response. One pair overbid to slam, and with the spade and diamond finesses both losing, declarer could not avoid going two down when he played to make his contract.

He was hoping that declarer in the other room might similarly overreach. However, on the auction shown in the diagram South was favored with a heart lead against five clubs, rather than the more challenging spade lead, and found himself in with a fighting chance. He won the lead in hand with the king and played the club ace-king. Now after cashing the heart queen and heart ace, he led an innocent low diamond from hand, planning to run it if this were not covered.

However when West put in the eight, declarer tried the queen, and East won his king to play back a low diamond to the 10, jack and ace. Now came the diamond seven, and this time East was forced to cover with the nine, and declarer discarded a spade from hand.

East was now on play, and whether he returned a spade into the tenace or exited with a diamond or heart for the ruff-sluff, declarer would have the rest. Declarer’s line of play virtually ensured the contract unless the diamond spot-cards were extremely unfavorably located from his perspective. And at the very worst South could always have fallen back on the spade finesse.


When you hold a balanced 18-count with a stopper in the opponents’ suit, overcalling one no-trump is always an option. Doubling is possible too, and that might be appropriate if either your hand has been improved by the suit opened to your right or your stopper looks delicate. But here the simple no-trump overcall looks right. You are at the top of the range, I agree, but that is still legal in 35 states.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A Q 8
 Q J 4
 A Q 7
♣ K 9 6 4
South West North East
    Pass 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: Friday, November 11th, 2016

Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes,
And pause a while from learning to be wise.

Samuel Johnson


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

♠4

Today’s hand, from the Dyspeptics Club, failed because declarer did not pause for sufficient thought at trick one.

South picked up his usual powerhouse and found himself in three no-trump a moment later. West led the spade four, to the six, seven and nine. Declarer followed up with the heart king, then continued the suit. When the jack failed to drop, he could see no serious alternatives to pressing on with developing that suit. A fourth heart let East in, and the spade through declarer’s tenace saw the game consigned to the dustbin.

After the event North was less than impressed: can you see why? As North commented, South should have risen with dummy’s spade 10 at trick one. If it holds, you are in the hand you need to be in to try for a safety play in hearts. Since declarer needs only four heart tricks for his contract, and overtricks are essentially unimportant at this form of scoring, making the contract is the paramount consideration.

When dummy’s 10 holds, South knows that West holds the missing spade honors, so East is the danger hand and needs to be kept off lead. At trick two, best is to play a low heart from dummy, and if East follows low, insert the eight. West wins, but no return from that side of the table can harm him.

South can win the return in hand, cash the heart king, and when both defenders follow, enter dummy in diamonds to enjoy the heart suit.


In general, there is a simple rule as to how to invite game with a balanced 10-count facing a 12-14 hand. This is akin to (the humorous magazine) Punch’s advice to a young man about to get married. “Don’t!”. One could similarly argue that no balanced 10-count is really worth an invitation. With a maximum of 24 HCP and no great source of tricks, passing is the disciplined action here.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 10 8 6
 A Q 10 6 2
 A 5 3
♣ 5 2
South West North East
  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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 10th, 2016

A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.

Confucius


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

10

Today’s deal saw North-South stretch to slam, when North felt obliged to show his ace. South subsequently felt entitled to expect to find his partner with some values in the minors, since he clearly had no honors in trump. But dummy’s 3-3 pattern in the minors meant declarer had considerable work to do.

After a top diamond lead, how would you set about trying to develop 12 tricks? The key is to take three tricks from the clubs, which requires the finesse to work. Imagine a simple line such as winning the spade and finessing clubs. You might now draw trump and rely on clubs breaking, or play ace and another club, or even draw two rounds of trump and then either play ace and another club, or duck a club. As the cards lie, none of these lines work. Equally, if you draw two rounds of trump too early, East can win the club and a play a third trump, preventing the ruff in dummy.

You might justly consider yourself just a little unlucky. But it would not be that unlucky, since you would have missed your best line for the slam. That involves the somewhat counterintuitive line of ducking the first club. You win the return, draw precisely two rounds of trump, then lead to the diamond queen and finesse the club queen.

When it holds, you play the club ace and ruff a club, exploiting the fact that the hand with four clubs has the long trump. This lets you ruff the fourth club safely in dummy.


One of the subjects I am frequently preaching is that two-level overcalls should be kept up to strength. So in responding to such an overcall, one should trust partner to have what he has promised. This does not feel like a four diamond raise, so I would simply bid three diamonds and would like more shape than this for a jump raise. Had partner overcalled in clubs I might jump to four clubs, though.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

←Older