Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 15th, 2014

Fortune is full of fresh variety:
Constant in nothing but inconstancy.

Richard Barnfield


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

*Inverted raise

10

Today's deal saw North-South fall on their feet after misusing a common convention. When playing Standard American it is now popular to use the simple raise of a minor by an unpassed hand as forcing for one round, guaranteeing at least invitational values. A jump raise to three of a minor becomes preemptive (somewhere between weak and invitational, depending on vulnerability).

When North stretched to produce an inverted raise, and then raised hearts he had suggested a far better hand than he actually held. That partly (if not entirely) explains South’s precipitous jump to slam.

Needing either two finesses, or one finesse and an even break in hearts, South took care to explore the possibilities for an endplay. After the trump lead declarer won in hand, and cashed the spade ace, then a second high trump. Next came the heart king, the heart jack was finessed, a spade ruffed, and dummy re-entered with the heart ace for another spade ruff.

At this point South was down to one heart, one trump and three clubs, while dummy had two trumps and three clubs. It might have looked easy to ruff the heart and play on clubs, but had he done so, South’s luck would have run out. Instead South advanced the fourth heart. When West produced the queen, a club discard from dummy left the defender on lead. West now had to lead into declarer’s club tenace or furnish a ruff and discard — and either way, North’s second club loser had vanished.


You could argue that leading from the four-card suit is less likely to cost a trick than anything else, but I strongly believe that the heart lead is more likely to set the game. The point is that just finding partner with four spades may not be enough, while finding partner with a heart suit might be sufficient. The weaker your hand, the more likely it is that you need to hit partner's suit.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

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

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, September 14th, 2014

I was recently faced with a problem when I had a flat two-count with just the queen of diamonds, and my partner opened two clubs. My RHO overcalled two spades, a suit in which I had just three small cards. Should I pass, double, or try something else? And if I pass, what should I do over a double from my partner?

Jungle George, Tupelo, Miss.

Many play that responder's double here would be weak, with any hand in the 0-4 range, say. Pass would show some values but nothing to say, while new suits are natural though not necessarily full positive values. If opener doubles, the world is divided into those who play it as takeout, and those who believe it should be penalties — either the suit, or strong balanced with a moderate holding in the key suit. Put my vote in the takeout camp.

I was delighted to read in a recent letter that you plan to write more for the broader audience of us who are social bridge players and bridge students and are open to suggestions. That is very encouraging. So would you please explain how to transfer into a minor over one no-trump.

House of Windsor, Fremont, Calif.

A simple scheme (not necessarily best, but simplest) is to use two spades to show clubs and three clubs to show diamonds, with two no-trump remaining natural. After a transfer into a minor, new suits should be shortage, not length. With a minor and a four-card major, plus the values to go to game, start with Stayman. Then bid the minor, if partner does not come through with a fit for you.

How should I decide whether to play in a 5-3 fit or in no-trump? My partner and I had the Jacoby Transfer sequence: 1 NT – 2  – 2  – 2 NT, and I had to decide what to do next. I held ♠ A-J-5,  Q-6-4,  A-J-10-3-2, ♣ K-10. I elected to pass, thinking I had a minimum, and that turned out to be the wrong thing to do!

Linked In, Raleigh, N.C.

You may have only a minimum in high cards, but your quick tricks and excellent five-card suit suggest you are closer to jumping to four hearts, than signing off in three. I would always play in a 5-3 fit unless my trumps were uninspiring, and I had a real source of tricks in a side-suit. (In the given hand, switch the heart queen and diamond three, for example.)

I held ♠ A-K-9-8,  A-Q-6-2,  K-Q-9-7-3, ♣ —. I opened one diamond and my partner responded one spade. Now what should I have done? At the table I felt I was too strong to splinter, and my high cards seemed prime. So I reversed to two hearts, planning to support spades next, probably with a jump. Subsequently I read about the difference between a jump to three hearts and a jump to four — but I'm not sure what is standard practice here.

Feeling Jumpy, Elmira. N.Y.

With two hearts natural and forcing, jumps in hearts would both show shortage — perhaps the former a singleton, the latter a void. But where the shortage is clubs, a jump to three clubs would be natural, so a call of four clubs is either a singleton or void. With your actual hand I would be a little worried about just bidding four clubs and giving up over a sign-off in four spades. But on balance that must be right.

When partner opens with one club, which could be short, and an opponent bids one diamond, am I required to bid with no high-card points but with a five-card suit?

Shorty, Danville, Ind.

A possibly short club is rarely, if ever, played as forcing. So with zero points you can always pass. There are quite a few hands in the range of 3-5 high-card points where I would respond to one club to try to improve the contract despite my overall weakness, but where I won't bid if the opponents overcall.


For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Real hope combined with real action has always pulled me through difficult times. Real hope combined with doing nothing has never pulled me through.

Jenni Schaefer


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

5

In today's deal declarer finds a way to compress his four losers into three.

West’s two-heart opening was in the modern aggressive style, showing five hearts and a four-card minor.

South should no doubt have passed his partner in three no-trump, but he corrected to four spades because of his singleton club. It looked as if he had done the wrong thing when four spades appeared to have four certain losers, while three no-trump had much better chances. But declarer made up for his bidding with a neat play.

West led his singleton diamond, which went to the nine and ace. Declarer played off the spade ace and king, then a third spade (discarding one card from each side-suit) to East’s 10. East cashed the spade queen, dummy throwing another diamond, and played a low diamond to dummy’s now-bare king.

Declarer won, thoughtfully cashed the club ace, then led the club 10, without cashing the club king, which would have been fatal. When East covered, South ruffed in hand. In the five-card ending, he had two hearts, two diamonds, and a trump in his hand, while dummy had the K-9 of clubs and K-9-7 of hearts. When declarer cashed his last trump, West had to come down to either two hearts (when declarer would pitch a club from dummy and play the heart queen from hand to set up hearts) or else to just one club, when declarer would pitch a heart from dummy and lead to the heart king.


There is a temptation to open one diamond here, to plan your rebid, but I find that this approach rarely works for me. All too often my partner totally misreads my minor-suit pattern, and we end up in an inferior strain. Meanwhile, if you open one club, maybe the opponents (not your partner) will bid spades, when you will be happy to have started by bidding your long suit first.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ —
 K 9 7 6
 K J 7 6
♣ A K 10 9 3
South West North East
?      

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, September 12th, 2014

There is a wisdom of the head, and … a wisdom of the heart.

Charles Dickens


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

K

I am grateful to Ron Klinger for this hand — a co-winner of the Brilliancy Prize at the Australian Summer Festival of Bridge. The declarer was Terry Brown.

South won the lead of the diamond king and made an excellent start when he played a small heart from hand to West’s ace. West exited with a small club, taken by South’s ace. When his play of the spade ace dropped the jack, and the queen was won by West’s king, West returned a second club and Brown now had a count of West’s distribution from both the bidding and the play thus far, and, more importantly, of East’s. Since East still held Q-10-8 in trumps, there appeared to be two inevitable trump losers. Therefore, for the contact to succeed, declarer had to play to reduce his trump length to that of East.

So Brown finessed the club jack and ruffed a diamond to hand. Dummy was re-entered with the spade 10, and another diamond trumped back to hand. Having now reduced his trumps to the required length, Brown played a trump to dummy’s jack and East’s queen.

In the three-card ending, East could do no better than exit with his club (a trump would be no better) to dummy’s king, South discarding his fourth spade. Now, whichever card Brown led from dummy could be ruffed by East and overruffed by South; a perfect example of a trump coup.


With all your side-values in partner's second suit, you want to encourage him to bid on at the five-level over five hearts. (Imagine your partner with five solid spades and five clubs to the ace-queen, when your fourth trump and club honors may not win many tricks on defense.) So bid four spades now and let him know you are equipped for offense.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 10 7 5 3
 J 7
 J 10 6 4
♣ K J 6
South West North East
Pass 1♠ 2
2♠ 3 4♣ 4
?      

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, September 11th, 2014

Weapons speak to the wise; but in general they need interpreters.

Pindar


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

♠5

Sometimes you can see that if you play your hand in a certain way, your opponent is bound to succeed. In such an instance the only option may then be to do something different and hope that he or she will go wrong.

Look at the defense of the following hand from East’s point of view, covering up the West and South hands for the moment.

Against four hearts, West led a spade (yes, a club would have been better, but one can hardly criticize his actual choice). East won with the ace and switched to the club king, won by declarer, who cashed the spade king to discard a club before playing a diamond to dummy’s queen. It was clear to East that if he won the diamond king, declarer would be certain to succeed, since on the bidding he was marked with the heart ace. So East ducked the diamond queen smoothly, and declarer now played a heart to his jack, won by West’s queen.

West next played the spade queen, which declarer ruffed in the dummy. It is easy to see that declarer could now succeed by cashing the diamond ace and ruffing a diamond high before drawing trump ending in dummy and claiming the remainder of the tricks. However, declarer was convinced that West held the diamond king, so instead he drew trump first, and then took another diamond finesse. East won, and the defenders cashed the rest for three down.


In third seat all bets are off as to the best way to describe this hand constructively. At any vulnerability your objective is to make life miserable for the opponents, and the best way to do that seems to be to open three diamonds. They don't know what you have (and neither does partner), but you have ratcheted the stakes up a couple of levels and made them guess at very little risk.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 2
 K 10 4 2
 A Q J 10 3 2
♣ 4 2
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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Profit is sweet, even if it comes from deception.

Sophocles


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

♠4

Against your contract of three no-trump, West leads the spade four and East plays the 10. What is your best chance?

At the table South saw no reason to do anything but play on hearts. He led a heart to his king and West’s ace. That player cleared spades, and declarer tested diamonds. When they didn’t break, he had only seven top winners. So he knocked out the club ace, and West cashed his spade winners for down one.

Declarer had taken an overly simplistic approach to the hand. A better way to consider the deal is to realize that if diamonds break 3-3, you can succeed by knocking out the club ace, but if they are 4-2, you need to sneak a trick through in hearts first.

Win the opening lead and cross to a diamond (better to play to the ace rather than the queen) to play a heart toward the dummy. An expert defender might possibly work out to fly up with his ace, but not everyone is an expert. If your heart queen holds the trick, you are home. You switch your attention to clubs and can insure three tricks in each minor to go with the guaranteed three major-suit winners. That makes nine tricks.

Meanwhile, if West wins his heart ace at trick three, you are no worse off than before. You will win the spade return, and with three heart tricks in the bag, you just need the diamond break to make your game.


When you have a hand that was going to compete to the two-level, you can overbid by a level in competition — though you do not have to do so. Here, with the diamond ace-queen working overtime, you can compete to three hearts, conscious that this is a slight overbid. But if you pass, the terrorists win.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 8 2
 K J 9 3
 A Q 7
♣ K 10 3
South West North East
1♣ Pass 1 3
?      

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, September 9th, 2014

Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves.

Jean Jacques Rousseau


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

♣4

Today's deal comes from a Swiss Team event earlier this year. For the winning team, the North-South pair bid to four hearts, and West led the spade three to dummy's queen. In desperation, declarer played a low diamond toward his jack, and that went to West's ace when East did not put up his queen. After a club to the king and ace, East returned a spade. When the diamond king dropped East's queen, South turned to trumps and made his contract, losing only one heart, one diamond and one club.

In the other room, on the given auction, North underbid slightly with his three-heart call, ending the auction. Jeff Aker as West inferred that his partner had to have values, but had not overcalled at the one-level (which he might have done with spade values) so he made the first good move for the defenders when he led a low club.

Victor King (East) won with his ace and thoughtfully led back a low club. Declarer naturally put in the nine, and ruffed West’s 10. Then he played dummy’s heart queen, and when it held, he led a low diamond from the dummy. King put up his queen, knowing declarer couldn’t have the ace, then cashed the heart ace and played another heart to dummy’s jack.

When declarer ran dummy’s diamond king, discarding a club from his hand, West won with his ace and led a club to his partner’s queen for down one. Plus 620 and plus 100 gave the winners a huge swing on the board.


I'm torn in two directions here. The simple action is to bid two hearts; the more complex plan is to bid two clubs, planning to compete to two hearts when the opponents rebid diamonds. In abstract I prefer the second plan though partner might imagine I had only three hearts for this route, I suppose. Still, I prefer the route that gets both suits in efficiently.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 7 2
 K 7 6 3
 J
♣ J 9 8 3 2
South West North East
1
Pass 1 NT Dbl. Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 8th, 2014

As often as a study is cultivated by narrow minds, they will draw from it narrow conclusions.

John Stuart Mill


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

J

A few years ago Andrew Robson published a thoughtful bridge tip to the effect that if a player who has pre-empted leads his own suit against a trump contract, you should consider playing him to have a singleton trump.

Joey Silver produced an interesting line of play following through on that line of thought. In four spades he saw East overtake the lead of the heart jack with the queen. Now it seems natural to cash the spade queen, then play a second spade toward dummy, and hope to guess well. The odds seem very close between the drop and the finesse. At the other table declarer played to dummy’s ace and went one down.

Silver did better when he ducked the first trick, leaving East on play. He knew this particular East would not have seven hearts, and hoped that East would reveal a little more about his side-suit shape.

Had East shifted to a club, for example, it would have been a fair bet that he had a singleton, and thus not a singleton trump. East might also have been tempted to shift to a diamond if he had a doubleton, allowing Silver to build up a count on the hand. When East actually continued with a second heart, Silver correctly inferred that East had at least three diamonds and at least two clubs. The spade finesse had become the indicated play, so Silver duly played the spade king and a spade to dummy’s 10, scoring up his game.


It may be easier to rule out what you shouldn't lead here. I can't imagine leading a red suit. (A trump is highly dangerous, while a diamond could backfire equally easily.) With a choice of black suits, I'd settle for a club simply because partner didn't overcall — which he might have done, had a spade lead been best.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ J 9 4
 J 8 6
 K 5 4
♣ 10 6 4 2
South West North East
1 Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 4
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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, September 7th, 2014

Can you comment on the use of screens in major events? Doesn't it make it hard to work out what cards are played — and doesn't it detract from the idea that bridge is a social game?

Hidden Depths, Mason City, Iowa

Screens are put in place to prevent accidental (or deliberate) conveying of information from one partner to another. As we saw in a recent world championship, determined cheaters may still break the rules. But it makes the game more relaxed when you cannot see your partner, or vice versa. I like screens for the top-level competitions, if not elsewhere.

What about the role of computers in bridge? Have they become more relevant recently, and would you recommend I get one to help me practice?

Square Eyes, Hartford, Conn.

These days one aspect of bridge on computers has become indispensable. BBO is the site that lets you play, practice and watch Vugraph — for free. Thanks to Fred Gitelman, everyone can watch, learn and play the game. Handheld computer games work pretty well, but I'm not sure they measure up to competing against real people. And I've been enjoying vubridge recently, where some challenging deals are posted.

Could you clarify for me what is best practice as to when to overcall and when to bid a moderate five-card suit on a limited hand? I held: ♠ K-10-4-3-2,  9-6-5,  A-Q-5-3, ♣ 3, and was not sure what to do over an opening call of one club on my right. Would it matter if the opening bid was one heart instead of one club?

White Collar, Doylestown, Pa.

Typically, with minimum values and a five-card major, I would take the opportunity to overcall at the one-level, not to double, whatever the opening bid. Just for the record: With five diamonds and 4-3 in the other unbid suits, I would normally double. However, suit quality does play a part in the calculation, and since overcalls are typically lead-directing, I try not to overcall in an honorless suit.

In Bid With the Aces, you recently stated that as responder after the unopposed sequence: one spade – one no-trump – three diamonds, you should cue-bid four hearts. That bid of course bypasses a four club cue-bid, which I thought would therefore imply that responder lacked both the ace and king of clubs. If responder cue-bids four clubs, then over four diamonds, he could next cue-bid four hearts. What am I missing?

Fruit Loops, Galveston, Texas

I'm not sure whether four clubs might not be natural in this sequence, since the one-no-trump response could conceal a club suit. Yes, partner has shown long diamonds, but mightn't you have equally long, or longer, clubs? By contrast, the four-heart call is unequivocally agreeing diamonds, and I don't think it denies a club control. I do see your point, though.

What is the experts' current treatment of the double of a splinter-bid? Should it be lead-directing, looking for a sacrifice — or something else altogether? And does the vulnerability matter in this situation?

Strawberry Fields, Kenosha, Wis.

The normal position is to play the double as lead-directing, prepared to sacrifice if the vulnerability looks favorable. However, some people play a convention invented by George Rosenkranz, whereby the double calls for a lead of a suit below the one you double. Of course, without a specific agreement, that treatment would be highly unusual.


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, September 6th, 2014

Neither situations nor people can be altered by the interference of an outsider. If they are to be altered, that alteration must come from within.

Phyllis Bottome


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

*Spades

♣Q

Accurate declarer play and sharp defense brought a well-deserved vulnerable game swing for one team here.

In one room, against four spades, on the auction shown, West led the club queen, overtaken by the ace, and East returned the heart queen, covered and ruffed. West’s club jack went to declarer’s king, who now played a trump to dummy’s ace and a spade to his king. Then he cashed the heart ace, ruffed a heart, returned to hand with a diamond, ruffed a heart, led another diamond to the king, and ruffed his last heart with dummy’s last trump. Now a diamond from dummy finished East, the defense coming to just one more trick.

In the other room East opened a weak two hearts and South jumped to the final contract of three no-trump. West led the club queen, taken by East’s ace.The club 10 was returned, ducked by South and overtaken by West who cleared the suit.

Declarer was home if he could make four spade tricks. At trick four he advanced the spade seven, intending to duck this to East, the safe hand. But West astutely rose with the queen, which forced declarer to win in dummy, thereby blocking the run of the spade suit. Although declarer could now finesse East for the jack, that would still only give him eight tricks. So South’s only realistic chance was to hope West had begun with the doubleton Q-J of spades, so South played a spade to his king. It wasn’t his lucky day — two down.


Your three-heart response to the two-no-trump opening is a Jacoby transfer, showing five or more spades. You have enough points to force to game (you may not make it, but that is not the point) and best now is to offer a choice of games with a call of three no-trump. Let partner pick which game to play; he knows your basic hand-type.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 10 8 6 4
 9 4
 J 8 6 3
♣ 5 3
South West North East
Pass 2 NT Pass
3 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.