Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: North-South

North

5 3

K 9 2

A Q 10 6

J 9 8 6

West

8

Q J 10

K 9 4

A Q 7 4 3 2

East

J 6 4 2

A 6 4

8 5 2

K 10 5

South

A K Q 10 9 7

8 7 5 3

J 7 3

 

South West North East
1 2 Pass Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
4 All Pass    

Opening Lead: Heart Queen

“Everything must be like something, so what is this like?”


– E.M. Forster

In this spade game from a pairs contest at the Orlando Nationals, Jeff Aker demonstrated that he could cope with his partner’s overbidding. The deal features a trump coup, a way to take a finesse in the trump suit, even though one of the hands has no trump left. Does that sound illogical? Read on.

 

One point about the auction is worth noting: South did not reopen with a negative double at his second turn to speak. With such limited defense, he would have pulled a penalty double from his partner, so he did not want to give his partner a chance to defend.

 

Perhaps North should simply have raised two spades to three, but he thought his lack of club honors facing likely shortage would mean that his honors would come in useful.

 

The defenders led three rounds of hearts and shifted to a club. Aker ruffed, cashed the spade ace and king to find the bad news, then led a diamond to the 10, ruffed a second club, and went back to the diamond queen.

 

At this point in the deal, declarer was all set up for the trump coup. He was down to two trumps and one card in each red suit, with dummy having the doubleton diamond ace and two small clubs. Aker cashed the diamond ace, then the diamond six to pitch his good heart, and remained in dummy for the trump coup at trick 12.


BID WITH THE ACES

South Holds:

5 3
K 9 2
A Q 10 6
J 9 8 6

 

South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 1 Pass
?      
       
ANSWER: You could settle for a slightly cautious call of one no-trump. If not, you are somewhere between a simple preference to two clubs or an invitational jump to three clubs. I prefer the more aggressive position because of the possibility of spade ruffs in your hand. Your partner’s rebid of one spade should show at least 4-4 in the black suits; with a balanced hand, he should rebid one no-trump.

 


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Dealer: West

Vul: Both

North

K 9 5

8 7 5 3

K 6 5

A Q J

West

Q J 4

A J 6

Q J 10 7

7 6 5

East

10 8 7 6 3

Q 9 4

3

9 8 3 2

South

A 2

K 10 2

A 9 8 4 2

K 10 4

 

South West North East
  Pass 1 * Pass
2 ** Pass 2 Pass
3 NT All Pass    
       
*Precision
**Forcing

Opening Lead: Spade Queen

“Nothing, I am sure, calls forth the faculties so much as the being obliged to struggle with the world.”


– Mary Wollstonecraft

In their Senior Teams semifinal match in Orlando last fall, Kyle Larsen of the Rose Meltzer team made a fine play in a losing cause.

 

Larsen, West, started with the spade queen, hitting his partner’s suit. Declarer took the spade ace in hand and played a low diamond to dummy’s king, followed by a low diamond from the board. He ducked the trick to West when Meltzer pitched a low club.

 

Larsen continued with the spade jack, ducked by declarer, and then made the killing play — the heart jack! Now the defenders had to score five tricks. Larsen could continue diamonds if the heart jack held the trick, or take two hearts if declarer won and continued diamonds himself.

 

The heart switch is necessary, but on a low heart play, declarer covers with the 10 and can then set up a heart with impunity because East can’t successfully attack spades and has no diamond.

 

Dan Gerstman as West at another table found himself in the same position. He too shifted to the heart jack after declarer had ducked the spade jack, and his declarer put up the king and played back a heart. Gerstman overtook his partner’s nine to play a third spade, each of these plays being the only card in his hand to set the contract.

 

Just for the record, declarer should have ducked the first diamond. That puts him a tempo ahead, since the defenders cannot get the diamonds going, and if they switch to hearts, declarer can build a second heart trick.


BID WITH THE ACES

South Holds:

10 8 7 6 3
Q 9 4
3
9 8 3 2

 

South West North East
  1 1 1
Pass 2 Dbl. Pass
?      
       
ANSWER: Does this sound like a penalty double? It isn’t, despite your short diamonds. When your partner overcalls and doubles, he is simply showing extras ([perhaps a minimum of a 15-count and 5-4 in hearts and clubs). You should simply bid three hearts; the only issue is whether to compete to three hearts over three diamonds.

 


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 21st, 2011

Dealer: North

Vul: East-West

North

K 9 8 7 6

A 10 7 3

Q 4 2

3

West

Q 4 3

6 5 2

K 10 6

8 7 5 2

East

10

Q

A J 9 7 5 3

A K Q J 10

South

A J 5 2

K J 9 8 4

8

9 6 4

 

South West North East
    Pass 1
1 Pass 3 * 4
Pass 5 Pass Pass
5 Dbl. All Pass  
*6-9, four trumps

Opening Lead: Club Eight

“Striving to no winning?

Let the world be Zero’s!”


– Richard Hovey

This week’s deals mark the fact that the Fall Nationals are taking place right now in Seattle. They all come from last year’s championships in Orlando.

 

Robb Gordon, one of the few experts who plays with his wife in most of the major championships, read the cards beautifully on this deal from the second final session of the Mitchell Open Board-a-Match Teams. At Board-a-Match the scoring is closer to that of pairs — all that matters is that you beat your opponents’ result against your teammates. How much you beat them by is irrelevant.

 

Gordon was South, and when the opponents bid and raised clubs, Gordon placed his partner with a singleton, so bid on to five hearts. After the club lead, he ruffed the second round of diamonds and successfully handled the trumps by leading the king. When the queen appeared, no finesse was necessary. Then he played the spade ace and was delighted to see the 10 fall. Next he led a spade to the nine for an impressive plus 650. What a waste!

 

The reason is that Gordon’s teammates had “sacrificed” in six clubs, and when the defenders did not take both aces, but instead tried to cash two spades, declarer could draw trump and negotiate the diamond queen to pitch all three of dummy’s heart losers. Now he could take a ruff in dummy for the 12th trick. Plus 1540 and plus 650 were the top score in each direction.


LEAD WITH THE ACES

South Holds:

9 4
K J 9 3 2
8 7 6
7 6 5

 

South West North East
  1 Pass 1
Pass 1 Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 NT Pass 3 NT
Pass Pass Dbl. All Pass
ANSWER: The double is not a demand for a club lead, but suggests North has clubs under control and is happy to see you lead one if nothing else looks better. Only a strong sequence in another suit would make you feel different and you do not have that. The club five looks right — giving count may be more important than showing honors.

 


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Dear Mr. Wolff:

My partner was holding SPADES K-J-7-4, HEARTS 8-6, DIAMONDS A-9-3, CLUBS Q-10-5-4 when I opened one no-trump. He used Stayman, the next hand doubled, and I passed this around to him. What should he have done next?

–  Short-Changed, Duluth, Minn.

ANSWER: Much depends on how you play your pass of the double. I play it as denying a club stop, and now redouble is more Stayman. I would follow that route, planning to rebid three no-trump at my next turn. I see no reason not to play a 4-4 spade fit if we have one, since even facing a high-club honor in your hand, the spade game may benefit from taking ruffs in the strong hand after drawing trump.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

According to the bridge books, after a strong two-bid, one is obligated to reach a game contract. Recently a player in our friendly game said that no one can make a player bid anything. We don’t carry guns to our bridge parties, so I guess she is right, but all I could quote was tradition. Can you help me for next time? (We don’t bid weak-two openers, but with her thinking, we could if we wanted to.)

–  Pistol-Packing Mama, Durango, Colo.

ANSWER: Demand twos force a response, but after a negative response (a bid of two no-trump to a two-bid in diamonds, hearts or spades), a repeat of the opener’s suit is traditionally not forcing though highly encouraging. After a strong and artificial two-club opening, a rebid of two no-trump by opener over a negative two-diamond call can also be passed, since the bid shows 23-24 or so, balanced.

  Dear Mr. Wolff:

What is the name of this “famous” bridge hand: SPADES A-K-Q, HEARTS A-K-Q-J, DIAMONDS A-K, CLUBS K-J-9-7

–  Name That Monster, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

ANSWER: This is the Duke of Cumberland’s hand from a famously rigged deal. With small variations you can find details on the internet under that name. When the deal came up at whist with clubs as trump, the player led a trump and did not take a trick!

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I’ve sometimes seen obscure references in bridge columns to ace-asking bids other than Blackwood and Gerber. Do you play any such gadgets?

–  Aces and Spaces, Richmond, Va.

ANSWER: As a matter of fact after our side pre-empts at the two- or three-level, I DO play a bid of four clubs (or four diamonds over three clubs) as a key-card ask. The trump king counts as the fifth ace; responses are zero, one, one plus the trump queen, two, two plus the trump queen.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

In a recent bidding feature, you proffered the following hand: SPADES K-7-6, HEARTS K-9-7-6, DIAMONDS A-Q, CLUBS 10-9-6-3. You asked what you would rebid after opening one club and getting a response of one spade. I myself would bid one no-trump rather than raise to two spades.

–  Christmas Carol, Jackson, Miss.

ANSWER: I feel torn between the two actions. I can say I would definitely bid two spades if the diamond queen were the spade queen, or if I had ace-queen-fourth in one red suit and a doubleton in the other. On the actual hand it might depend on whether partner plays better than I do!

 


If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, e-mail him at bobbywolff@mindspring.com. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2011.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Dealer: North

Vul: North-South

North

9 7 5 4

A Q 10 7

K 5

10 8 2

West

3

K J 9 4

A 10 8 6 2

9 7 4

East

Q 10 6 2

3 2

Q 9 4 3

A K 3

South

A K J 8

8 6 5

J 7

Q J 6 5

 

South West North East
    Pass Pass
1 Pass 2 Pass
Pass Dbl. Rdbl. 3
Pass Pass 3 All Pass

Opening Lead: Club Four

“The essence of lying is in deception, not in words.”


– John Ruskin

In today’s deal from a recent Invitational Teams event, John Mohan protected in the West seat after the opponents’ bidding had died in two spades. The three-club call found by his partner Zia Mahmood might not have been the majority choice, but it created a bit of excitement.

 

Looking at a dead minimum hand, Victor Silverstone as South elected, perhaps unwisely, not to double, so Zia never got to demonstrate that his three clubs had been merely lead-directional.

 

Mohan obediently led a club against three spades. Left to his own devices, Silverstone would almost certainly have made the contract, playing East for the spade queen and West for the outstanding red honors. Indeed, there is little else he can do, and both Vladimir Isporski and David Horton made nine tricks in spades on just that line of play. However, Zia won with the king and switched to the heart two. From Silverstone’s point of view, this was clearly a singleton, so he rejected the spade finesse and cashed the ace and king, getting the bad news. He exited with a club to the ace and Zia played the heart three, a real singleton this time!

 

Silverstone won in dummy and led a spade. Zia went up with the queen, played a diamond to his partner’s ace, and Mohan had no difficulty giving Zia his heart ruff. Thus three spades went down a trick — a small swing to Zia’s team but also a big psychological victory for East-West.


BID WITH THE ACES

South Holds:

A K J 8
8 6 5
J 7
Q J 6 5

 

South West North East
  1 Pass 1
?      
       
       
ANSWER: Do you feel lucky today? The normal action would be to pass now, but if you feel you can’t stand to pass, backing into your opponents’ auction with a one-spade overcall might work well. You are supposed to have five spades for that action of course, but doesn’t this suit look like a five-carder? Additionally, you really don’t want to see partner lead a heart against a no-trump game, do you?

 


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 18th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: Both

North

A K 7

10 9 8 2

5

A 9 7 6 2

West

10 6 5 4 2

K

K 10 8 3

8 5 3

East

Q J 9

6 5 3

J 9 7 6 4 2

K

South

8 3

A Q J 7 4

A Q

Q J 10 4

 

South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 3 Pass
4 Pass 6 All Pass
       

Opening Lead: Club Three

“In thy breast are the stars of thy fate.”


– Johann von Schiller

As the story goes, the famous French player Roger Trezel was sitting South, playing in a tournament against an exceedingly pretty lady in the West seat who was wearing a very low-cut dress. This was the first of the two boards.

 

Trezel, who had reached a delicate slam, was treated to a low club lead. Fearing it was a singleton, he went up with the club ace, intending to rely on the heart finesse to make the slam. Lo and behold, when he played the ace, the singleton club king fell from East! So Trezel had gotten it right, up to a point. Somebody did indeed have a singleton club.

 

But now Trezel realized there was no need to risk the heart finesse, since there was a great danger that if the finesse lost, the lady would give her partner a club ruff. But there was no need to take any risk here. Trezel simply played the heart ace, expecting to knock out the heart king and surrender just one trick in due course. Much to his surprise, and certainly his pleasure, the singleton heart king fell from West!

 

So Trezel wrapped up 13 tricks, losing to neither singleton king! Later, however, he overheard his right-hand opponent, shaken from losing both kings, discussing the hand. “From the moment we sat down at the table, that young man was craning his neck, looking unashamedly into my partner’s cards. No wonder we didn’t make either king.”


BID WITH THE ACES

South Holds:

8 3
A Q J 7 4
A Q
Q J 10 4

 

South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
?      
ANSWER: Your two-club call created a game force, but your partner’s hand is undefined as to range. He rates to have a minimum balanced hand, but you don’t have to decide for him. Raise to three hearts, suggesting that you are interested in slam and letting him cue-bid if he has anything in reserve.

 


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Dealer: East

Vul: Both

North

A Q 10

J 7

J 5 4

K J 10 7 3

West

9 8 7 2

A 4

A K 9 8 3

Q 4

East

K J 6 4

8 5 2

6 2

9 6 5 2

South

5 3

K Q 10 9 6 3

Q 10 7

A 8

 

South West North East
      Pass
1 Dbl. Rdbl. 1
2 Pass 3 All Pass
       

Opening Lead: Diamond King

“There’s nothing of so infinite vexation

As man’s own thoughts.”


– John Webster

Most defenders in today’s deal would unthinkingly lead out three rounds of diamonds to get their ruff, then sit back and collect their trump ace, but nothing else. Three hearts would make nine tricks, and I suspect most pairs who had conceded the contract would move on without realizing that they could have done better.

 

West’s defense was entirely rational (partner wants a ruff, so I will give it to him), but he should realize that circumstances alter cases. On this deal there was certain to be no urgency to take the ruff; East was sure to have two or more hearts, and West had the trump ace. So a spade shift before giving partner the ruff would give the defenders their best chance of collecting a spade trick before declarer’s spade losers vanished on dummy’s clubs.

 

Note that there are two issues West has to bear in mind; the first is Will declarer discard any losers on the clubs before tackling trump? The answer is no. If declarer rises with the spade ace and plays three rounds of clubs, discarding a spade, West ruffs with the heart four, gives East a diamond ruff, and later makes the heart ace. Secondly, might declarer have the doubleton spade king instead of the club ace? If so, he could indeed discard a diamond on the spades and then guess clubs for his contract. This hand is less likely than his actual hand, though. He might well have opened a weak two-bid if he had that hand.


BID WITH THE ACES

South Holds:

A Q 10
J 7
J 5 4
K J 10 7 3

 

South West North East
    1 Pass
2 Pass 2 NT Pass
3 NT Pass 4 NT Pass
?      
ANSWER: This apparently illogical sequence is the way for your partner to show 18-19. The two-no-trump rebid suggested 12-14 or very strong, with an immediate jump to three no-trump showing a semibalanced 15-17. Here, your partner rates to have a completely balanced hand with only a doubleton club, or he might have produced a delayed club raise, so I would guess to pass the invitation.

 


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Dealer: South

Vul: Neither

North

Q 9 8 7 6 3

K 3

K 8 2

A 2

West

4 2

9 8 6 2

6 5 4

10 6 4 3

East

10 7 5 4

Q J 7 3

K Q 8 7 5

South

A K J 10 5

A Q J

A 10 9

J 9

 

South West North East
1 Pass 2 NT* Pass
3 NT Pass 4 Pass
4 Pass 4 NT Pass
5 ** Pass 5 NT Pass
6 All Pass    
*Game-forcing raise of spades
**One or four aces, counting the spade king as an ace

Opening Lead: Heart Nine

“Again I took the intellectual eye

For my instructor, studious more to see Great truths

Than touch and handle little ones.”


– William Wordsworth

In today’s deal you reach a comfortable small slam, and if playing teams or rubber bridge, you would probably claim 12 tricks and move on to the next deal. However, since you are playing matchpointed pairs, the overtrick might turn out to be of critical importance.

 

At pairs what matters is whether you beat the other pairs on any deal, not by how much you beat them. So if you play six spades and make it with an overtrick, you score a matchpoint at the expense of everyone who failed to make that overtrick and, equally, one matchpoint from everyone who missed slam or went down in a grand slam — no more, no less. The quantum of difference is irrelevant.

 

Here you have 12 top winners. You can arrange to ruff a club in dummy, but that is with the long trump, which does not generate an extra trick; so you must try something else.

 

Win the heart lead with the king and run six rounds of trump at once, pitching the diamond nine on the last. Then take the two heart winners, pitching a club from dummy, and cash the club ace. If the club jack is high, cash it. If not, lead to your diamond ace, cash the diamond king, and hope the diamond eight will be high.

 

If you look at the full deal, you will see that after the major-suit winners were cashed, East had to unguard one of the minors, so your squeeze would work.


BID WITH THE ACES

South Holds:

Q 9 8 7 6 3
K 3
K 8 2
A 2

 

South West North East
1 Dbl. 2 3
?      
       
       
ANSWER: In competitive auctions of this sort, you must compete with extra trumps or side-suit shape, regardless of whether you are minimum in high cards or have a little to spare. Here, you know you have nine trumps between you and must therefore bid on to three spades. Your target is not so much to make three spades every time you bid it, as to make your opponents’ lives tougher — they’d do the same for you!

 


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Dealer: East

Vul: North-South

North

Q J 7 3

6 4 3

9 6 5

A Q 10

West

6 4

J

Q 8 7 4

J 9 8 6 5 3

East

K 8

A K Q 10 9 8 7

3 2

7 2

South

A 10 9 5 2

5 2

A K J 10

K 4

 

South West North East
      4 *
Pass 4 Pass Pass
4 All Pass    
       
*Better than a four-heart opener

Opening Lead: Heart Jack

“Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion.”


– Charlotte Bronte

Before you read the analysis of today’s deal, you might want to put yourself in the South seat in four spades. If the defenders lead three rounds of hearts, you will ruff with the spade 10. Assuming no overruff, you plan to cross to dummy with a club finesse and take the spade finesse, then rely on the minor suits behaving thereafter.

 

Let’s go back to the beginning. How would you play four spades on a heart lead followed by a second top heart and a club shift at trick three? If you win the club in dummy and take the spade finesse, West may give his partner a club ruff. Maybe it is better to play ace and another spade to avoid the club ruff. You will still survive if the diamond finesse works.

 

Was that what you decided to do? Well, time to look at the full hand. When the deal originally occurred in New Zealand, that was what Patrick Carter as East hoped declarer would think when he overtook the heart jack lead and cashed a second heart.

 

At trick three, he led the club two into dummy’s tenace. South had never seen a more obvious singleton and so elected to play the spade ace and a second spade, using the reasoning described above. Needless to say, Patrick had just turned 10 tricks into nine for the declarer. Most declarers found no difficulty on this hand once they had taken the trump finesse … but Patrick had not been at their table!


BID WITH THE ACES

South Holds:

A 10 9 5 2
5 2
A K J 10
K 4

 

South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 2 Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass
?      
ANSWER: The preference to two spades is consistent with a doubleton honor in spades and a hand with no heart stop. Even though four spades rates to be the best game, you would like to explore further with a call of three clubs — but only if you are playing with a partner whom you could trust to know that this call was forcing. Are you?

 


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 14th, 2011

Dealer: East

Vul: East-West

North

Q J 5 3

K 9 6 4

J 10 9 6 4

West

K J 10 7

9 7 2

10 7 5 3

Q 2

East

A 3 2

A 10 6 4

A

A K 7 5 3

South

Q 9 8 6 5 4

K 8

Q J 8 2

8

 

South West North East
      1
2 Pass Pass Dbl.
All Pass      
       

Opening Lead: Club Queen

“Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much;

Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.”


– William Cowper

Weak jump overcalls, especially when nonvulnerable, are all the rage these days. They gobble up vast tracts of bidding space, making detailed hand description difficult for opponents. But players, having developed weaponry with which to cope, are biting back.

 

Today’s hand arose in Canada, where internationals Eric Murray and John Carruthers show what can be done in defense, in spite of the adverse vulnerability.

 

East, Murray, opened one club, Darren Wolpert made a weak jump overcall of two spades, and since a double would have been negative, Carruthers passed. Murray reopened with a takeout double, which Carruthers turned into penalties by passing yet again.

 

In response to his partner’s opening bid, West led the club queen, on which Murray played the three, a request for a diamond switch, which he duly received.

 

On winning the diamond ace, Murray continued with the club ace, ruffed by South. Declarer’s heart king was allowed to hold, but East captured the heart continuation with the ace to return the club king, ruffed and overruffed. East ruffed West’s diamond switch, and South discarded a diamond on the club that came back. Carruthers ruffed, gave Murray another diamond ruff, trumped the fifth club, and that let East ruff West’s fourth diamond with the spade ace.

 

With the spade king still to come, East and West had made all seven of their trumps separately, as well as a trick in each other suit. Yes, 600 was available for East-West in three no-trump, but the 1100 gained on defense was surely far more satisfying.


LEAD WITH THE ACES

South Holds:

4 3
K 6
10 7 6 3 2
10 8 5 4

 

South West North East
  1 Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 6
All Pass      
       
ANSWER: Declarer’s jump to slam without using Blackwood suggests he may have a lot of shape, perhaps with a diamond void. If that is so, maybe a club lead will let you get in with the heart king to give your partner a club ruff. There may be other leads that work, but the club lead is surely consistent with the evidence.

 


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.