Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 8th, 2018

Drop the question of what tomorrow may bring, and count as profit every day that Fate allows you.

Horace


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

♠3

Today’s deal sees a very neat defense against a three-no-trump contract from a pairs event at the end of the most recent NEC tournament in Yokohama last year.

Dawei Chen, playing with Takahiko Hirata, found the natural lead of a low spade to his partner’s king and declarer’s ace. South led a diamond toward the ace, and Chen played the jack. Declarer took the ace and led a diamond back to the nine and Chen’s 10 (probably an error in theory as well as in practice, since your best chance of playing diamonds for one loser is the actual layout). That gave the defenders a slim chance of success, and Chen was quick to take advantage of it.

He sensibly inferred that for declarer to be playing on diamonds rather than clubs, he rated to have a singleton club. So he shifted to a low club, and Hirata did extremely well to play low. The bare club ace was forced to take the trick, and declarer played a third diamond, letting Hirata win and unblock his club jack as South pitched a spade. Now East advanced a heart honor, which was ducked all around.

Hirata now exited with his second top heart to lock declarer either out of his hand or dummy. The best move for declarer would have been to win the third heart in hand with his nine, but he would then have had to concede trick 13. Declarer ran the hearts from the top and finished two down, representing a top for North-South.


Do you bid two spades or three spades? (Go to the back of the class if you did more.) Your partner normally has a balanced 12-14, relatively short in hearts, so your honors in that suit won’t be working. On that basis, it seems clear that you should make a simple raise to two spades. Anytime partner has extras, he will be unbalanced and will bid on, so you ought to be able to reach game whenever it is making.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 9 7 2
 Q J 7 5
 K 8 6
♣ J 3
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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, September 7th, 2018

Knowledge may give weight, but accomplishments give luster, and many more people see than weigh.

Lord Chesterton


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

*Texas for spades

♠2

After North’s Texas transfer response followed by Roman Key-card Blackwood, West knew to go passive on opening lead, so he put a trump on the table. Declarer counted 11 top tricks and saw that if trumps broke, he could arrange an elimination play. He would draw trumps, cash the hearts and play a diamond to the queen; if that lost, West would be endplayed.

South won the lead and drew a second round, realizing his hypothetical elimination play would now not work. So he drew the last trump and was about to go after diamonds when he realized that he might as well cash his hearts first. He took the three top hearts, then led a diamond to the queen.

West won his king but had no heart to lead. Since declarer was marked with the club queen, he could do no better than exit with the diamond jack, hoping his partner would produce the 10. But declarer could win his ace and throw a club on his good diamond 10: He ended up with six trumps, three hearts, two diamonds and a club to make his contract.

Notice that if declarer had failed to cash the hearts, the contract would have failed, since West would then have had a safe exit in hearts. As the play actually went, if West had had the fourth heart to lead after winning his diamond trick, declarer would ruff, then play the diamond ace and ruff a diamond. If the diamond jack had not fallen, he would have taken the club finesse as his last chance.


You don’t want to pass and hear partner run to one spade, which he might do with, for example, a 4-3-3-3 shape; so it seems right to bid either one diamond or one heart. I would start by bidding one diamond, and if the opponents doubled enthusiastically, I’d run to one heart.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 3
 9 5 4 3
 7 5 4 2
♣ 10 9 4 2
South West North East
  1 ♣ Dbl. Rdbl.
?      

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: Thursday, September 6th, 2018

If Little Timmy had just had more meatloaf, he might not have grown up to fill chest freezers with Cub Scout parts.

Anthony Bourdain


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

*Constructive

♠K

The best conventions are those that come up relatively frequently, are easy to remember and don’t require you to sacrifice a useful natural call to implement. Well, as Meat Loaf said in discussing Lebensohl, “Two out of three ain’t bad.” Lebensohl is an eminently forgettable concept, but once you have it in place after intervention to one no-trump, you can also use it in other relatively common sequences. Today’s auction is a case in point: South would have bid two no-trump, a puppet to three clubs, to show a weak hand with his own suit. His direct three hearts is encouraging, but not forcing (7-10 high-card points with either four or five hearts), and North has an easy raise to game.

The defenders cash two top spades, then shift to the club two. While this could be a singleton, East’s initial pass makes this somewhat unlikely. You win with the ace, ruff a spade in hand and lead a club to the king. When West follows up the line, you ruff dummy’s last club with the heart 10.

Having found West with six spades and three or more clubs, you cash the diamond king and lead a diamond toward the ace. You know that if West were to trump in, he would be ruffing a loser, and you would have the rest. When West follows twice, you know 11 of his cards. So, next play the heart ace and lead a heart to your nine. If it loses, West must give you a ruff-sluff; if it wins, draw the last trump and concede a diamond trick.


At matchpoints, you might consider playing hearts rather than diamonds. But at IMPs, you simply want to go plus by making your natural call: raise diamonds. If the opponents compete in a black suit, you can bid on to three diamonds, which will most likely end the auction.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 4
 K J 10 3 2
 K J 6 5
♣ 8 6
South West North East
    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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

We think so because other people all think so,
Or because — or because — after all we do think so,
Or because we were told so.

Henry Sidgwick


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

4

In today’s deal, South has too much to pass his partner’s rebid of two spades. But since no-trump could easily be the right final resting place, he explores first with three clubs, then cue-bids the opponent’s suit, suggesting half a heart stopper. North looks with favor on his good controls and drives to four spades.

Now the spotlight turns to East, who must abandon traditional thinking. When West leads the heart four, the partnership methods are to play third and lowest. What that means is that West leads low from an odd number, top of a doubleton, but third highest from a four- or six-card suit.

After winning two heart tricks, East can infer that because West led his lowest heart, he has precisely three cards in the suit. (This inference is one not always available when playing fourth-highest leads.) What should he do now?

East has two potential club tricks with which to defeat the game, but will not make both if South establishes dummy’s diamonds for club discards. If declarer has the diamond queen, the defenders are helpless. But East must hope that is not so. To forestall the chance that dummy’s third trump might constitute dummy’s late re-entry, he must force dummy to ruff the third heart.

Should declarer then play to establish diamonds via a third-round ruff, East must save his club ace to take down the king. He must not capture the queen if South leads it out of his hand to tempt him.


If North were an unpassed hand, his one-heart call would be forcing. You would bid one no-trump now, both to try to improve the strain and to avoid missing out on game. Facing a passed partner, I might pass one heart if the call guaranteed a five-card suit, but I’m not sure it does. I’d still bid one no-trump here, though less happily.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 7 5
 J 3
 A K 7 6 5
♣ K 4 3
South West North East
    Pass 1 ♣
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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

Zeus does not bring all men’s plans to fulfilment.

Homer


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

♠K

South’s balancing double of one spade followed by the two-heart call suggests a good hand, but not necessarily a great one. He rates to be in the 15-18 range with five or more hearts, so he certainly has enough in hand to accept North’s invitation to game.

When West starts with three rounds of spades against four hearts, South ruffs the third and must make a plan. Since East has produced the spade queen, declarer knows he is unlikely to have much else in the way of high cards.

Declarer’s task is to limit his minor-suit losses to one trick. If he could count on the diamond finesse to win, he could simply concede a club. But the diamond king is almost certainly in the West hand.

The better plan is therefore to try to develop two diamond tricks in dummy for the discard of South’s two low clubs. At trick four, South should lead the diamond three from hand. If West wins his king, declarer is almost home. He unblocks diamonds, then draws trumps ending in dummy to cash two more rounds of diamonds and pitch his clubs.

If West can steel himself to duck his diamond king, which would be the best defense today, declarer must still reckon with the possible two club losers. He should cash the club ace and king and lead a third round of clubs.

If the clubs break 3-3, declarer is home free. If the clubs split 4-2, declarer can arrange to ruff his fourth club high in dummy.


This is basically the same auction as in today’s deal; however, the take-out doubler is in direct seat, not balancing seat, so his call guarantees a better hand than in that auction. (A balancing double starts a king lower in protective seat than in direct seat.) So you should drive to game now; either cue-bid two spades or just jump to four hearts.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 9 5
 K 10 4
 Q J 8 7
♣ 10 8 4
South West North East
  1 ♠ Dbl. 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.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 3rd, 2018

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Helen Keller


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

♠J

Over North’s quantitative sequence, South might accept the slam try by bidding six clubs (a 5-3 fit could easily be best here). However, when he bids six no-trump, he finds himself in an excellent spot; now all he has to do is make it.

After the lead of the spade jack, declarer counts two spades, three hearts and three diamond tricks, which adds up to eight tricks. The key to the deal therefore is that the he needs to take four club tricks, not five; declarer can afford to give up a trick in clubs as insurance to bring home his contract.

This is sometimes referred to as a safety play, though that term is rather misleading. A safety play should be a maneuver to avoid losing an unnecessary trick. Today’s deal is closer to a gambit, where a trick is potentially invested for the greater good of the contract.

In positions like this, if South had weaker club spots, the best play might be to cash the club ace. Here, though, declarer starts by leading a low club to the queen. If it loses, cash the club ace and finesse against East should West shows. This play loses only to a singleton king in East.

However, when the queen holds, do not cash the ace; that fails whenever West has K-10-fourth. Instead, come back to hand with the diamond ace and lead the club nine next, intending to run it if West follows with the six. Of course, if West discards on the second club, you rise with the ace, then finesse against East’s K-10.


With a choice of majors, it seems logical to lead your better suit, since you need less from your partner this way. It is not as if the spade lead is exactly safe either. The other attraction of the heart lead is that your partner is slightly more likely to have hearts and not overcall than he is to have spades.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 10 4 2
 J 8 7
 A 10 8 4 2
♣ K 5
South West North East
  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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

Holding ♠ K-J-8-2,  7-6-3-2,  J-9-2, ♣ A-9, I heard my partner open one club. I responded one heart, and my partner bid two no-trump. What is the best way to explore for a major-suit fit by showing my spades without promising five hearts?

Giving Me Fits, Rockford, Ill.

There are many ways, varying from simple to complex. The simplest is to play that all bids force to game, and either three clubs or the other minor as looking for three-card support or the other major. Some play transfers here, in which case you can transfer to hearts, then bid spades to show 5-4. Thus a direct transfer to spades to shows 4-4 in the majors.

I’ve been having problems with Blackwood when we have a minor suit as trump. What are your thoughts on using the Minorwood convention, where four of a known minor agrees that suit and asks for aces?

Anna in the Ark, Naples, Fla.

I can’t say I’m a huge fan (I vote for simple over complex), but I can say this: If you have set a minor as trump, I think it is much better to use one over the trump suit as ace-asking — Redwood, not Minorwood. This allows you to choose between temporizing by bidding the trump suit and taking control with an ace ask, whereas Minorwood forces you to take a positive action as opposed to making a neutral call.

I play rubber bridge with my friends and am sometimes surprised to see you recommend treatments relating to duplicate — pre-emptive raises and so forth. Given that we are playing for real money, would you suggest we learn this approach too? I’m not afraid to use these bids, but I’m not sure they will pay off in the long run.

Easy Street, Kennebunkport, Maine.

Speaking as someone who has taken his fair share of sacrifices at rubber bridge, yes, I would say that bidding as high as you can with a fit is a good idea. While sacrificing at rubber is not as much fun as at pairs, bidding to the maximum with a fit does not always result in minus scores.

Please comment on the quality of a suit required for a direct overcall at the one-level, and contrast that with what is required for a two-level overcall.

Mumblety-Peg, Nashville, Tenn.

With a good hand and a five-card suit, you should not be constrained in acting at the one-level just because your five-card suit is weak. Of course, on some hands that include a weak suit, you might prefer to double when you are relatively short in the opponents’ suit. With a two-level overcall, you guarantee a good suit. If you have only five, you must have extra values or extra sidesuit shape. A minimum opening bid with an average five-card suit emphatically does not qualify for this action.

I am not a fan of Flannery, but I came to understand how useful it can be when I opened one heart with ♠ K-9-7-4,  Q-8-4-3-2,  A-9, ♣ K-4, and heard my partner respond with a forcing no-trump. What is the least lie now?

Stuck Firm, Sioux Falls, S.D.

I prefer to play the no-trump as non-forcing, even when playing two-over-one. In that scenario, I can pass one no-trump happily enough. But if you change the heart queen into the ace, so that there is a risk we might miss game facing a balanced 11-count or so, then I invent a two-club call and hope to survive this round of the bidding.


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, September 1st, 2018

Let us consider the reason of the case. For nothing is not law that is not reason.

Sir John Powell


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

*Asking for the spade queen

♣K

At Yokohama last year, this deal pitted Jack Zhao of China against one of his former partners. Zhao, North, reached three no-trump after opening one heart then jumping to three clubs. You can hardly blame Fu Zhong for leading a diamond rather than a club, but that meant 12 tricks for Zhao — a near-top.

However, David Bakhshi and Kazuko Tsumori bid to six spades by North on the deal, and they also received a diamond lead. When Tsumori ran that to her hand, she had 12 tricks … and an even better score.

Six spades by South seems to have too much work to be done on a club lead, but an astute declarer can find his way home even then. Win the club ace, play a low heart to your ace, and trust the defenders’ count signal in hearts. Take just one top spade, then cash two top hearts, pitching clubs from hand. Now ruff a club, go back to the spade king and face the critical decision.

The fall of the spade honors makes it more likely that East holds the spade queen than that West began with precisely Q-J-10 of trumps. It would be right to cash hearts now if East began with a 3=4=4=2 pattern, but if you believe the carding, you should play East for only three hearts. The point is that if you play the fourth heart at once, East can ruff and exit in clubs; instead, ruff the third club and exit with a spade.

In the four-card ending, East must lead diamonds and allow your queen and ace to score.


It looks straightforward to bid three no-trump here, but your partner might have a singleton spade, in which case slam in clubs might make while three no-trump goes down. Temporize with three diamonds and find out more about your partner’s hand.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 6 4 3 2
 A
 Q 9 7 2
♣ 8 7 3
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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 31st, 2018

War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.

Ambrose Bierce


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

K

This board from the quarterfinals of the World Championships in Lyon turned out to be a fine battle between declarer and the defense.

Against four spades, Jacek Pszczola (Pepsi) cashed two top diamonds and wisely did not play a third, as declarer Mikael Rimstedt would have set up his clubs. Instead, he switched to the spade 10. Rimstedt covered this with dummy’s jack, drawing the king and ace. West now held the sole guards in both spades and clubs.

Next, declarer played the king and queen of trump, ruffed his diamond loser with the heart ace and ran the remaining trumps. To retain his club honors, West had to reduce to just one spade. If he kept his spade nine, he would be thrown in with a spade to lead away from the club king. If he discarded his high spade, South’s spade eight would be good. Either way, declarer had his 10 tricks.

After two rounds of diamonds, West needed to switch specifically to the spade queen, so that East would be able to guard the suit with his king.

In the other room, Frederick Nystrom led the diamond ace and, realizing that he would have to open up spades sooner or later, found the necessary switch to a spade intermediate at trick two.

When declarer Joe Grue allowed this to win, West cashed the diamond queen, then played the spade six to the seven and ace. Declarer eventually had to surrender a club and a spade trick for one down, and Sweden had a well-earned game swing.


A simple raise to four hearts looks right here, given your weak spades, but a four-club call as a cue-bid agreeing one of partner’s suits is not unreasonable. If partner is interested in slam, he can always ask for aces.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 4 3
 A 9 6 4
 9 8
♣ A 9 7 5
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♠ Pass
2 ♠ 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, August 30th, 2018

When we last gathered roses in the garden,
I found my wits; but truly you lost yours.

John Ford


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

K

This was a deal from the quarter-finals at the world championships in Lyon last August. When South declared four spades, West generally led a top diamond.

The New Zealand West then played a second diamond, and the Dutch declarer ruffed and guessed to take the club finesse, a simple and seductive line. But when it lost, a heart back settled his hash immediately for down one.

By contrast, after the same first two tricks, the New Zealand declarer ruffed and led a low spade toward dummy at trick three. West correctly played low — which would have been necessary if his partner had the spade ace rather than the club king. The spade queen won, and declarer played a low spade back to his ace, dropping the king, then took the club finesse and was home against any defense.

A far tougher defense would have been for West to switch to a club at trick two. If declarer finesses, East wins and can switch to a heart. However, declarer can (in theory) riposte by going up with dummy’s club ace and then playing a spade to the ace and a spade.

At yet another table, the Bulgarian West cashed just one top diamond, then led a low heart away from his doubleton king! Declarer won the queen and led a low spade, West taking his king and continuing with a top diamond. Declarer ruffed, cashed dummy’s spade honors and now should have led a club to his 10. Instead, he played a heart to his jack and lost both a club and a heart trick.


One of the areas in which I may find myself at odds with my readers and other experts is that I believe, with hands like this, it is best to raise to two spades directly, not rebid clubs. Three trumps plus ruffing values constitutes enough support for my partner; and if we have a game, it rates to be in spades, not clubs.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q J 3
 7 2
 J 6
♣ A Q J 9 5 3
South West North East
1 ♣ Pass 1 ♠ Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

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