Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Painters and poets alike have always had license to dare anything.

Horace


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

7

This deal came to me from a reader, Scott Nason of Dallas, who remarked on his partner’s presumptuousness in driving to a slam missing two keycards – and then some. But he also accepted full responsibility for failing to bring home the optimistic contract. Could you have done better?

When Scott’s LHO led the heart seven Scott rose with the ace, feeling confident that this particular West would not have led small from the doubleton king. The king fell from East, so the first hurdle had been crossed. But don’t relax; you need to plan the rest of the play.

Without any bidding from the opponents, the best line would probably be to play a spade toward hand, and put in the jack if RHO plays small. (If East is good enough to duck dummy’s singleton while holding the ace, you should pay off to him.) If the jack fetches the ace, the plan is to pitch a club on the king, and take the diamond finesse for the 12th trick.

But, since West had actually made a one-spade overcall, I think the best line is to play a heart to hand and put the diamond queen on the table. It is covered by the king, so you win the ace, and play a diamond to the jack. Now lead a heart to the board, and cash the diamond ten, pitching the spade jack. Then, ruff the last diamond and exit with the spade king to endplay your LHO.

If Scott had done all of that, he would have had a deal to remember.


Even if you play one spade as encouraging but not forcing – reasonable enough, though I am happy to play new suits as forcing – you should not pass now. Best is to rebid two diamonds, which is a more complete description of your hand than rebidding your hearts.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 5
 A Q 9 8 6 3
 A 10 5 3
♣ 9 3
South West North East
      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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

O! What authority and show of truth Can cunning sin cover itself withal.

William Shakespeare


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

3

South’s opening bid of one no-trump makes it easy for North to bid game. If North’s five-card suit were a major, he might transfer, but since it is a minor, he should raise to game in no-trump.

South is relieved to see a heart opening lead, since the defense has not gone after his weak point, spades. Nonetheless, declarer has to plan what might happen if the defenders get on lead early in the deal. South will win just four club tricks if the club finesse loses; if that is the case, he will need to make something out of the diamonds to bring home his contract.

If South tackles clubs at once, East may work out to win and shift to spades. Then when South goes after diamonds, East will win and cash out the spades.

One possible way to avoid this revolting development is for declarer to win the first trick in dummy and go after diamonds immediately. If East has the diamond ace, he may well play low on the first round of the suit – even if he shouldn’t.

What is more, if East does fly up with the diamond ace, he may continue the attack on hearts, since the play so far is entirely consistent with declarer having king-third of hearts.

As it happens, when East ducks the first diamond, South can safely switch to clubs. The rest is easy. The general principle is that it pays to steal the ninth trick early. The opponents are less likely to let you get away with it later on, when they have had a chance to work out what is going on.


Though your honors are strong, I would advocate responding two diamonds rather than three clubs here. The problem is that you have only a five- card suit, and you run the risk of pre-empting partner out of his natural sequence if you bid three clubs. You should be able to show your hand later (though club suits are problematic because three clubs often serves as a second negative).

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 7 3 2
 Q 7
 5 3 2
♣ A Q J 6 3
South West North East
  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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 31st, 2017

There lives more faith in honest doubt Believe me, than in half the creeds.

Lord Tennyson


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

2

When West opened one heart, North and East passed, leaving South to reopen with two spades, an intermediate jump. Even if you play pre-emptive jump overcalls in most positions, this is one where it is clearly advantageous to play intermediate jumps — 1216 points and a good six card suit. With less, one can bid one spade, with more you can start by doubling, then bid your suit.

The two spade call let North jump to game, and put West on lead with no really attractive option. When West opted for a passive diamond, declarer won in dummy with the king and took the spade finesse. West won his king and decided to go all out to set the game; he shifted to a low heart, and the defenders cashed out for down one.

That was astutely defended, but South should have worked out two things. One, East had to have a top heart (or West would have led one), and therefore West had ALL the other key cards — so the spade finesse was a broken reed.

Declarer should have cashed the spade ace at trick two. If the spade king had not dropped, South could have taken the club finesse at once to get rid of a heart loser. If the spade king dropped, declarer might take the club finesse at pairs, but at teams he might settle for trying to ruff out the club king in West, making 11 tricks if it fell in three rounds, and making 10 if it did not.


My last choice would be a diamond – the likelihood that I’m giving declarer a trick we won’t get back is too high. I can see a case for any of the other three suits; a heart is the most aggressive, but most likely to cost a trick, so I’d settle for the club sequence narrowly in front of the spade lead (the seven for choice).

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 7 5 2
 Q 8 4
 A Q 9 2
♣ 10 9 4
South West North East
      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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, July 30th, 2017

I held: ♠ Q-J,  A-10-7-5-4,  A-Q-9-4, ♣ 10-8 and responded one heart to my partner’s one club opener. After a one spade overcall I balanced with two diamonds, and heard two spades to my left, passed back to me. Do you like a call of two no-trump now, my choice? This was not a success, losing the first six spade tricks. Double was the winning call, since careful defense beats that contract one trick.

RuPaul, U.C. Davis, Calif.

Without sounding unduly negative, it is important to understand that your two diamond call fundamentally misrepresented your hand. That call is natural but non-forcing; it might easily be 4-5 in the reds. Almost any good hand starts with a cuebid, or in this case a double for take out. Now after two spades comes back to you, you can double again, planning to raise no-trump or bid three diamonds over three clubs. A second double is NOT penalty; just a good hand, with extras.

My partner opened one club and heard me respond one heart, over which she jumped to three hearts. I bid Keycard Blackwood and followed up with five no-trump over her five spade response, which showed two keycards and the trump queen. What should you do now with her hand, holding: ♠ 7-3,  Q-5-4-3,  A-5, ♣ A-K-Q-8-4?

Peter Peck, Grand Junction, Colo.

Despite holding a minimum you must bid seven hearts now. Your source of tricks should mean that partner will be able to develop the clubs to take care of his spade or diamond losers. With the same hand, but the spade queen not club queen, I would just bid six clubs, showing my specific king.

I held ♠ K-Q-9-8,  Q,  A-Q-4, ♣ A-7-5-4-2, and would be interested on hearing your opinion about whether to bid game, splinter, or bid three spades after opening one club and hearing partner respond one spade in an uncontested auction. Would it matter if partner were a passed hand? In response to a jump to three spades would you bid game with ace-fifth of spades and queenthird of clubs?

Zig-Zag Zelda, Boise, Idaho

Facing a passed hand I would just bid four spades and not worry about slam. I don’t think the hand is worth a splinter (whereas if the heart queen was the club queen you’d be full value for the jump to four hearts) whether partner is a passed hand or not. You could sell me on a four spade bid facing an unpassed hand, but it is close to a three-spade bid. And yes, partner should raise three spades to four, facing likely club length. He has two working honors and five trumps.

Can you tell me what is the best place to read bridge hands online? I’m interested not only in bridge columns but a general discussion of news and views.

Storm Chaser, Lakeland, Fla.

My column can be found at bridgeblogging.com, where it runs two weeks after it appears in the papers. But if you want news and views try bridgewinners.com, and to follow live bridge at the top level go to bridgebase.com.

I just played online with a partner who said Michaels was off with interference. If you define interference as the opponents being in the bidding, then surely you can’t have Michaels without interference?

Mikey Likes It, Danville, Ill.

To clarify when you can use a Michaels Cuebid: they apply in both second and (in some cases) in fourth seat. After the opponents open, a direct cuebid shows a two-suiter. After they open and respond in a new suit, it is customary in North America to play that bidding either opponent’s suit is natural. However, play Michaels after the opponents open one of a suit and respond one no-trump. If you pass and later bid an opponent’s suit, facing a passing partner, it is natural.


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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, July 29th, 2017

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

Albert Einstein


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

*Minors.

8

Chris Willenken brought home a difficult contract in the Round of 64 of last year’s Spingold Trophy from Washington. Against four spades, reached on a somewhat unusual but very revealing auction, West led the diamond eight, covered by the king and ace, and East returned a trump.

The trump return and the auction had suggested that West would have a natural trump trick. Declarer could see nine tricks in the form of one club, one diamond, two ruffs, and five trump winners. But where would trick 10 come from?

Willenken decided that his best shot – assuming his view of the enemy distribution was correct — was to endplay West into leading a heart in the endgame, so he won the trump switch, ruffed a heart in dummy, ruffed a low club in his hand and ruffed another heart. When East followed with the heart king, Willenken was sure West had started with a 3=6=2=2 pattern.

So Willenken ruffed another club in hand, cashed the trump king and crossed to the diamond queen. In the five-card ending West was down to four hearts and the trump queen.

On the club ace, declarer pitched a heart, and the ending Willenken envisaged had materialized. West, realizing that ruffing the club ace would leave him endplayed, discarded a heart. Willenken then ruffed a club in hand (West again discarding a heart) and exited with his now bare spade jack to West’s queen, ensuring he would collect the gamegoing heart trick at the end.


Anyone who only raises to three diamonds, go to the back of the class! This hand is far too strong for that action, and you have two ways to show the extras. One is to bid the impossible two spades (you have denied length there already) as a way to show a maximum raise for partner. The other is to jump to three spades, a splinter bid agreeing diamonds.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 5
 K 5
 A J 6 5 3
♣ Q 10 8 6 2
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 NT Pass 2 Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 28th, 2017

Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.

Boris Pasternak


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

*Strong heart preempt

♣K

Fans of Dave Barry’s sidesplitting column will no doubt be familiar with his use of a submission coming from ‘an alert reader’ — which usually precedes a tall but true tale.

In this case, our reporter is Ira Herman, who gave this splendid take on an old theme, but one with a surprising tweak. After North opens four clubs to show a strong heart preempt, you declare four hearts on the lead of the club king. Plan the play.

At the table, South did what the majority of declarers would surely have done, escaping punishment thanks to a careless defense. South pitched a diamond on the club ace, then led a heart towards dummy’s honors.

All East had to do was win the heart ace and play the diamond king and a diamond to West’s ace for a third diamond to promote East’s heart 10. West, however, failed to find the killing play and declarer emerged relatively unscathed, with only his pride damaged. How should he have done better?

Declarer should have played a second club at trick two to pitch a diamond. This might, I admit, expose you to a ruff against a 5-1 diamond break, but the actual danger from the 4-2 diamond break is surely far higher?

Once you pitch a diamond from dummy, the defenders’ communications are irreparably cut. You cannot be prevented from crossing to hand with the spade king to lead a heart up in due course, and from that point onward you can be assured of making 10 tricks.


You can make a simple and good case for redoubling, but the problem comes when opponents bid and raise hearts. How do you describe your hand now? Bidding spades would overstate the suit, but passing might lose it altogether. I’d settle for a simple one spade call, planning to double a heart bid (for take-out, since this is an agreed suit) if the opponents make one.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 10 6 2
 8 3
 Q J 7 2
♣ A 6 4
South West North East
Pass Pass 1 ♣ 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Every man is the maker of his own fortune.

Richard Steele


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

*Precision

**Shortness

♣4

It is always hard to retain concentration when it comes to the very final deal of a match where you are eager to rush out and score up. However Ulf Nilsson, playing with Drew Cannell, in the Spingold last summer, provided this deal, the last board in Eric Leong’s team’s upset win over the Meltzer squad. Nilsson worked out the percentages, but decided to follow his own path.

In the auction shown, Cannell’s four club call was a serious slam try (he had already limited his hand to 13 HCP, so he had a maximum with great controls). That let Nilsson drive to slam.

He won the club lead, ruffed a club, drew trump in one round, ruffed a club and led a second trump up. West discarded a spade, East a diamond. Then came the third club ruff, at which point Nilsson found they were 4-4. When he led the diamond jack toward dummy’s king, West played a high spot card to suggest an odd number in that suit.

At this point, after cashing the diamond ace, the percentage play in spades in abstract is to lead to the queen and back to the 10. But Nilsson could sensibly reconstruct the West hand to be 5-1-3-4.

If East had only two spades, Nilsson could ignore the percentages and play the spade ace and another spade. He could put up the queen, not caring whether it would win or lose since East would be endplayed if he won.

At the other table, declarer followed the 75 percent line in spades and went down.


I would not double one spade, despite having decent values and the unbid major, since the risk partner will bid diamonds is too high. If the club opening were short I’d think more about the possibility – but even so, I believe pass is more discreet.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 8 4
 K J 8 4
 K 6
♣ A 9 8 5
South West North East
  1 ♣ 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.

William Henley


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

*Transfer to hearts

♣K

On this deal from the first qualifying session of the von Zedtwitz Life Master Pairs in Washington last summer, South led the club king against four hearts. The best play might be for declarer to take diamond ruffs early, but declarer got understandably greedy and played three rounds of spades at once, pitching dummy’s club.

When East ruffed in, it looked obvious to play a club. Declarer ruffed in dummy and led a trump, the fatal error, for now the defenders could win and kill the discard with a fourth spade. Declarer had to ruff high, then play three rounds of diamonds, ruffing in hand. Whatever declarer did next, East could ruff high and return a trump, killing declarer’s ruff and leaving him with a diamond loser.

For the record, Brad Coles as declarer did make the contract by playing on diamonds at trick six. He ruffed the third diamond with the eight, over-ruffed by the king. Back came a spade and Coles ruffed high in dummy East pitching a diamond.

Coles now had a complete count of the West hand as 5=1=2=5, so he ruffed a diamond low. When this could not be over-ruffed, he gave up just one trump, to claim his contract.

Have you noticed the slip on defense? East should have played back a low trump at trick five to his partner’s king, to let him lead a fourth spade. East can later over-ruff a black suit, then play back a trump to kill the second diamond ruff.


If playing transfers over a two no-trump opener you must map out a plan of campaign. Transfer first; but then sign off in game, try for slam or drive to slam? My view is that the heart intermediates make it worth a slam try. So transfer to hearts then bid diamonds, which is a natural slam try. A reasonable alternative would be to transfer then jump to four no-trump, quantitative, not Blackwood.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 3
 Q J 10 3 2
 K J 7 4
♣ 10 3
South West North East
    2 NT Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

I despise people who go to the gutter on either the right or the left and hurl rocks at those in the center.

Dwight D. Eisenhower


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

*limit raise with four trump

6

This deal from the second final session of the von Zedtwitz Life Master Pairs in Washington last summer was played by Rock Shin Yan. Yan was playing with Yichao Chen, whose jump to three clubs was a Bergen raise, showing four trump and limit-raise values. Strictly speaking it was not really up to him to redouble on an auction of this sort, since he had no obvious extras. However, he wanted to show that he had complete trust in his partner’s declarer play, and Yan rewarded that trust.

The opening lead of the heart six went to the king. Declarer knew that trumps would not be breaking, so it was important not to play on that suit. Instead he followed up by advancing the diamond 10, to the ace, king, and five. East exited with a heart to dummy’s ace and Yan now played the club queen to East’s ace. Yan won the club continuation with the king, ruffed a heart, ruffed a diamond and cashed the club jack.

He had reduced to a five-card ending where he had four trumps and a losing club in hand, while dummy had three trumps and a doubleton diamond. Meanwhile West had his four spades and a small diamond.

At this point South led his low spade from hand and West put in the eight to force the jack. Declarer won in dummy, ruffed a diamond low in hand, and exited with his club, to force West to ruff in with the 10 and lead into declarer’s trump tenace. That resulted in 10 tricks and +880 for declarer.


Although you have only four cards in partner’s suits, I’d prefer (I think) to give preference to hearts, not bid no-trump. It is admittedly tempting to bid three hearts, assuming all your values are pulling more than their weight. I would settle for two hearts, though, expecting partner to move if he has a king more than an opener. If that is not so, game rates to be delicate at best.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 7 6 5
 A K
 10 9 8 7 2
♣ Q 9
South West North East
  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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 24th, 2017

Four be the things I’d been better without: Love, curiosity, freckles and doubt.

Dorothy Parker


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

6

It is a cliché (and not an especially accurate one) that rules are made to be broken. What is more to the point is knowing when to apply a rule and when external events should persuade you to vary from a principle.

Today’s deal comes from last Summer’s Nationals in Washington. Everyone knows that missing four cards to the queen (or a lower honor), it is right to play for the drop. This is based on the phrase ‘Eight ever, nine never’. But this statement about what to do when missing four trumps is only true in a vacuum. The concept is based on the vacant space principle, which gives you very slight odds of playing for the drop. However, when you get a count of a side suit, it may affect your decision one way or the other, and this hand exemplifies that theme.

When the field played four spades by South, West obediently led a diamond, in response to his partner’s overcall. This would have been a splendid moment to find the false-card of leading the five, but in real life everyone would lead the six, top of a doubleton. East cashed his three red-suit winners, and led a third diamond.

Without the clues from the auction the way forward for declarer would not be clear. As it is, though, the auction strongly suggests that declarer should ruff high, cash the other high spade and play a spade to the 10. This is because the 6-2 diamond break makes West rather more likely to have three trumps than two.


You should expect that declarer will have an unbalanced hand with about 15 HCP, dummy four hearts and 6-8 points. It feels wrong to play for diamond ruffs to me; instead maybe try to set up tricks in a black suit. This hand is a toss-up, but I’d go for clubs rather than spades, since partner didn’t raise the overcall.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ K J 6 5 3
 A 10 2
 Q
♣ 10 7 3 2
South West North East
      1
1 ♠ Dbl. 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 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

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