Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 16th, 2012

And even the ranks of Tuscany
Could scarce forbear to cheer.

Lord Macaulay


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

Q

Every year at the beginning of March, the English Bridge Union runs their ranked master pairs' events. Whatever your ranking in the EBU's masterpoint scheme, there is a pairs event for you. The highest ranking of these is the Grand Masters Pairs. Today's hand is from that event and shows that sometimes even the least promising suits can be set up to advantage.

With a singleton spade, South had little choice but to overcall two clubs rather than doubling, and now North’s good distribution persuaded him to raise pre-emptively to the five-level.

Apparently several pairs went down in five clubs after a diamond lead, failing to see the possibilities in the spade suit. The correct line of play is to duck the diamond and win the continuation. Now you must play a trump to hand and discard the diamond losers on the heart ace and king. But what next? It is important to see that you need to ruff two hearts and a diamond in the dummy, but do not have the communications to do so without giving up the lead. When you do this, the opponents will surely play another trump, and now you will be a trick short.

After discarding your diamonds, you must play a spade and duck it in dummy. Win the trump return in the dummy, ruff a spade, ruff a heart, and ruff a spade. When the ace and king come tumbling down, you can ruff another heart and cash your spade winners for 11 tricks.


The hearts can wait. Your priority here is to lead trumps to prevent declarer from ruffing his spades in dummy. The typical dummy will contain a small spade or two, and the best defense will consist of keeping declarer from setting up the spades successfully. Whenever declarer plays in his second suit, you should think about a trump lead.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ A 10 4 2
 9 6 4
 10 7 6
♣ Q 8 4
South West North East
1 1♠
2 Pass 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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, July 15th, 2012

How do you decide between opening a very strong hand at the one-level as opposed to opening two clubs and then bidding your suit? Does your decision depend on whether you have a one- two- or even three-suiter?

Rock-Crusher, Nashville, Tenn.

Opening two clubs on marginal hands with long minors and a second suit works badly; you pre-empt yourself out of two levels of the auction and often lose the ability to define of your hand. Equally, true three-suiters in the range of 21-23 may be best handled by opening a minor. Somebody else normally bids!

Say you open one club with the following hand: ♠ K-7-3,  K-10-6-2,  Q-7-2, ♣ A-J-4. Your partner responds one spade, and the next hand doubles. Should you rebid one no-trump, raise spades, or pass?

Options, Bellingham, Wash.

One no-trump is acceptable, but another conventional action that might (by partnership agreement) be available is to redouble. Some people play this to show three trumps, so a call of one no-trump would deny three trumps. A raise to two spades would show four trumps, whatever your methods, and passing would be a balanced or semibalanced hand unsuitable for a call of one no-trump.

I will be playing in my first pair game next week, having only played rubber bridge and team games till now. Please explain how the scoring works.

Tyro-Maniac, Kenosha, Wis.

Pairs is all about beating the other pairs sitting the same way as you, holding your cards. (The margin by which you beat them is irrelevant.) Imagine 10 results on a single deal. Nine matchpoints are available, one fewer than the number of pairs. Five pairs bid a small slam making exactly, one makes the grand slam, one goes down in it, three make the overtrick. As one of those three pairs, you score a point for beating the five pairs who made 12 tricks in slam, and the pair who went down in slam, and get half a point for each of the pairs who made 13 tricks in the small slam. So you get 7 matchpoints out of 9.

How do you judge what level to pre-empt to when your partner opens two spades and the next hand doubles? With nobody vulnerable you hold ♠ K-9-8-5-4,  10-2,  Q-7-2, ♣ Q-10-6. Is this a hand where you want to force the opponents to bid a slam, or do you want to time the auction to keep them out of slam?

Levelheaded Louis, Elkhart, Ind.

I'd guess our side will lose six tricks in a spade contract so four spades should be high enough for our side as a sacrifice. But can we beat our opponents' slam? Even facing a hand with no side-cards, I'd guess we have more than a 50 percent chance of scoring a trick in each minor or one trick from the minors and a spade. So bidding four spades will give the opponents enough rope to hang themselves. We may go down 500, but it is still worth the effort to make the opponents' life harder.

I use Rosenkranz doubles and redoubles with my partners, these actions showing a high trump for partner, typically in a two- or three-card holding. We have never discussed whether it applies when partner makes a simple overcall of a weak two-bid. What are your views on an auction such as a two-diamond opening on my left, a two-heart overcall from partner and a three-diamond bid on my right?

Zen and Now, West Palm Beach, Fla.

I really don't like the double to mean support for partner. It is more important to get the unbid suits in, in other words, values and no clear call. Here a bid of three hearts would buy the hand (the opponents won't bid four diamonds), so there is no need for a Rosenkranz double, which is most useful in auctions where you rate to be defending.


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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, July 14th, 2012

I would that we were, my beloved, white birds on the foam of the sea:
We tire of the flame of the meteor, before it can pass by and flee….

W.B. Yeats


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

K

Today's deal comes from a collection of bridge tips by David Bird, who is best known for his humorous collections of stories about the Abbot and many others.

Against your contract of four spades West leads the diamond ace and switches to the spade five. Plan the play, and if you want to cover up the East and West cards to make your task harder, feel free to do so!

The obvious source of extra tricks is the clubs, but to establish additional winners in that suit, you have to surrender a trick. If you simply draw trump and duck a club, East will win and play a diamond through. You might try to lead a club to the king and duck the return, but if East flies up with the queen on the second round (or West unblocks his jack on the first round), the defenders will have the upper hand.

Is there any way that you can establish clubs without letting East on lead? Yes and no. What you have to do is find a way to get rid of that club loser, while losing the lead to West, not East. Instead of playing three rounds of clubs, win the spade shift from West in dummy (while taking care to preserve your spade two in hand), and play the heart king, pitching a club. Later you will be able to ruff the clubs good without surrendering the lead, and you can then cross to dummy with the spade four to cash them.


With your extra side-suit shape and your values concentrated in your long suits, you should compete to three hearts. You should not bid three diamonds, though — that should be a game-try with approximately this pattern. Change the heart jack to the heart king or even perhaps the queen, and you would have a sound minimum for that action.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 5
 A J 8 7 3
 A K J 5
♣ J 7
South West North East
1 1♠ 2 2♠
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 13th, 2012

One can relish the varied idiocy of human action during a panic to the full, for, while it is a time of great tragedy, nothing is being lost but money.

J.K. Galbraith


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

*Strong

**Majors or minors

4

We have all seen hands where you are declarer in three no-trump, and you need to hold up your ace for at least one round to cut the defenders' communications.

Then there are some more-advanced hands where you have K-J-x and the lead is a small card to the queen. You may have to duck to sever opponents’ communications (when the suit breaks 5-2 and you need to lose the lead to your right-hand opponent). Today’s deal takes that principle a step further.

Against three no-trump doubled, West led the heart four to the jack and queen. When declarer discovered the bad diamond break, he played a club, but East rose with the ace and played a second heart for one down.

Declarer felt that he had been unlucky not only with the diamond break, but also that West had not led spades, and even that East had a second heart to play. However, a careful look at the spot-card led at trick one would have told him East had two hearts. If the heart jack was singleton, then West’s initial holding would have been A-K-9-7-4-3, from which he would have led the seven.

So hearts are 5-2, East must have the club ace, and diamonds strongly rate to be breaking badly, given the final double. Declarer should have ducked the heart at trick one. Now nothing can beat him if he leads a club to the jack after finding the bad diamond break.


In a competitive auction like this, your partner would normally raise to two hearts with four trumps — if he had them. But as he has guaranteed three-plus hearts by his double, you should nonetheless compete to two hearts yourself. You know you can, if necessary, ruff diamonds in dummy, so you should be protected from a force.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 8
 Q 10 8 6
 9 4 2
♣ K J 5 2
South West North East
1 Dbl. Pass
1 2 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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 12th, 2012

True nobility is exempt from fear:
More can I bear than you dare execute.

William Shakespeare


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

3

Curiously, the way to beat three spades here is by leading dummy's short suit. However, although Tom Hanlon and Hugh McGann of Ireland did not find this lead when representing Europe in the 2008 Buffett Bridge Cup against the USA, they still found an ingenious way to defeat the partscore.

Against three spades Hanlon led a low heart to the two and king — McGann couldn’t be certain that South did not hold the singleton jack. At trick two, McGann found the fine switch to a low diamond, which declarer elected to win in hand. Had he taken with dummy’s ace instead, he would have been better placed.

Then came the trump king. If West wins this, then whether he returns a trump or a diamond, declarer can duck a club and later have two clubs available for diamond discards. But Hanlon withheld his ace, and now South could not chance playing another trump, as the defenders could then remove dummy’s trump and knock out the diamond ace before the clubs were set up.

Declarer therefore continued with three rounds of clubs, East pitching a diamond on the third. In with the club queen, Hanlon essentially returned a diamond. Since it was still unsafe to lead another trump, declarer continued with a fourth round of clubs. On this, McGann, to deter his partner from returning a heart, discarded the heart ace! Hanlon duly trumped the club and returned a diamond for East to overruff dummy. The trump ace was the defenders’ fifth trick.


You should use three diamonds, the fourth suit, as a temporizing bid here. Rebidding spades would show a sixth spade or a much better five-card suit, while bidding three no-trump prevents partner from producing secondary support for your spades. Your plan would be to bid three no-trump next if partner repeats his hearts.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K Q 6 4 2
 4
 K 9 6 4
♣ 8 6 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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Anon


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

Q

After seeing dummy, on the auction shown, would you think your next move might be critical? If not, give the problem a couple of extra seconds' thought!

The hand is from the Individual at the 1st World Mind Sports Games, held in Beijing, where Pairs scoring was in use.

First, let’s see the action at the table where Gay Keaveney of Ireland was partnering Bob Hamman of the USA. Hamman had no easy way to get his values across, but decided to treat his hand as invitational, banking on his three black honors to be working overtime, and treating his spades as a three-card suit. Had this been teams, Keaveney would have bid the spade game, but at matchpoints he preferred to be circumspect and try to insure a plus score.

Against three spades West led the diamond queen; East rose with the ace and returned a diamond. Keaveney played his king, cashed the club ace and king and got off play with a third club. The trump return from East came too late. South could not now be prevented from ruffing his fourth club in dummy and coming to 10 tricks, losing just two diamonds and a club.

It was Patrick Huang of Chinese Taipei who found the defense to beat four spades. On winning the first trick with the diamond ace, he recognized the danger and switched to a trump, and continued with a second trump when in with a club. That killed the club ruff and set the game.


Your partner's two-club call shows spade support and at least the values for a raise to three spades (perhaps starting at a good 10-count with three trumps). Your nice trumps and extra shape coupled with good controls suggest you have enough for a try for game. A bid of three clubs should show your side-suit and get partner to evaluate his club length.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q J 10 9 3
 A
 K 10 2
♣ A 7 5 3
South West North East
1♣
1♠ Dbl. 2♣ 2
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

The world abounds with laws and teems with crimes.

Anonymous


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

♣J

This month on Tuesdays I shall be running deals from a new book, by Robert Ewen and Jeff Rubens, editor of the Bridge World, the monthly publication that is generally acknowledged to be the world's most interesting bridge magazine.

The new book is called “It’s All in the Game,” a mixture of humorous and informative deals, together with a fair selection of mind-bending problems. Quite a few of the latter demonstrate that bridge and reality have only a small overlap. I can guarantee that all my readers will find something to enjoy.

Here is Ewen at work as South in a chapter mischievously trying to prove that one can take certain dictums at bridge too far — such as “second hand low.” Against four spades West stumbled upon a club lead; East topped the king with the ace and shifted to a trump. Ewen won and led out the three top hearts. “Second hand low!” chortled West, as he carefully ruffed with the lower of his two remaining trumps, the seven. Declarer would have made the contract had West discarded (he would pitch a diamond from dummy and score his 10th trick with a diamond ruff), or if had he ruffed with the spade nine (he would then use the spade eight as an entry to run the clubs), but West’s actual play left him without recourse.

Ewen overruffed and led the club queen for a diamond discard, but West ruffed, then cashed the two top diamonds for a one-trick set.

Check out The Bridge World on the net for details about the book.


When the opponents pre-empt in this sequence, they leave your side short of descriptive actions. A double here shows a good hand and is optional. In fact, it may be closer to takeout than penalties in the modern style, so you should simply bid three hearts. A rebid of three clubs would show weakness, but would not get the extra heart length across.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 5 4
 J 10 9 8 4 2
 10 9
♣ A 9 8
South West North East
1♣ Pass
1 2♠ 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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 9th, 2012

No woman can be a beauty without a fortune.

George Farquhar


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

Q

In today's deal North's jump to five hearts showed good trumps and nothing else to say — just what South needed to hear. Declarer was lucky enough to receive a diamond lead against his slam, and therefore was in a position almost to ensure his contract.

South took the diamond queen lead with his king, drew trumps in three rounds ending in dummy, then cashed the ace and king of spades. Bad news: the 5-1 break meant that he could no longer take more than 11 tricks.

If declarer had received a club lead against his contract of six hearts, playing spades from the top would have been fine, since the defenders had established a winner and would be in a position to cash it as soon as they obtained the lead. So declarer would have needed to get the spades going without losing a trick to make his slam. (Declarer cannot afford spades to break worse than 4-2 — unless the jack is singleton — because two club discards are needed in dummy so that South’s second club can be ruffed.)

But after the diamond lead, once trumps are found to be 3-2, there is a cast-iron play for the slam. Win the third round of trumps in dummy, then run the spade 10. The spade jack is the only trick lost. Declarer can win the return, unblock spades, then run spades. Now dummy’s club losers vanish on the spades, and a club can then be ruffed in dummy.


On this sort of auction declarer still has not guaranteed real clubs — he might have four hearts in a square hand, for example. Lead a club as your best chance to set up a suit for your side. You could guess by trying a red suit, but it is easier to lead what is front of your face.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 10 6
 Q 6 2
 Q 7 5
♣ K 9 6 4 2
South West North East
1♣
Pass 1♠ Pass 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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, July 8th, 2012

What is the right way to signal on declarer's lead? I assume attitude is rarely relevant, but when should one signal at all?

Signal Corps, Wichita Falls, Texas

Never signal attitude on declarer's lead. Partner never needs to be told declarer is playing a suit he should not have tackled. Only give count if you think partner needs to know (because his subsequent play may depend on how many cards you or declarer have in that suit). Conversely, when following from a selection of equivalent cards, where your play in the suit cannot affect the number of tricks your side takes, consider showing suit preference.

My wife did not like my action yesterday, when I held ♠ K-J-4,  K-10,  A-K-Q-7-2, ♣ 9-4-2. My RHO opened one heart. I overcalled one no-trump and sat it out after being doubled. My LHO had six club winners and I also lost the two major-suit aces for a disastrous result. She claimed I should have overcalled two diamonds or run to two diamonds.

Shoulda-Woulda, Corpus Christi, Texas

Oh dear. Much as I hate to spread dissension between spouses, I strongly agree with your one-no-trump bid and suspect that I too would have sat out the double and duplicated your result. Maybe it's just a guy thing.

I understand the next world championships are going to be in Cardiff, Wales. Will you be going?

Anchors Away, Charleston, S.C.

Actually, the event has been moved at short notice to take place next month in Lille, France. The playing venues were not suitable for all the Mind Sports Games, but Lille housed the 1998 World Championships and has a large Palace which will be ideal. I just hope the weather is better than it was 14 years ago. As of now, I do not expect to be there.

What should I open in first seat with this hand: ♠ 10-9,  A-K-9-8-2,  —, ♣ K-Q-9-8-7-2? What about other 5-6 patterns where you have length in the minor and a five-card major?

5-6, Pick Up Sticks, Portland, Ore.

I would open one club, planning to reverse to two hearts over a one-spade response. My experience with concentrated 5-6 hands is that finding the right trump suit by bidding the suits in the correct order is the best way to win out in competitive auctions. Give me five hearts and six diamonds and I might go the other way – but that's because with touching suits I KNOW I'll have a rebid problem if I open one diamond.

If a pair plays transfers and a partner refuses the transfer and rebids no-trump instead, does he/she still have to announce "transfer"? My partner was told that she should not accept a transfer with less than three-card support. I didn't think there was any option other than super support with support of four or more cards. Do you agree?

Special Ed, Bella Vista, Ariz.

Transfers are not optional, since you, as the no-trump opener, can't know whether partner has five or six in the major, but you have passed captaincy by your opening. Yes, the bid must be announced as transfer even if you don't intend to honor it. Whoever told this player that completing the transfer shows three cards is both wrong and apparently convincing — a dangerous combination!


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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Victory comes late,
And is held low to freezing lips
Too rapt with frost
To take it.

Emily Dickinson


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

K

The final deal from last year's European Open Championships was played by Vitas Vainikonis in four hearts. Consider it first as a single-dummy problem. You sit South, and no doubt when dummy comes down, you regret not doubling four diamonds. But you have to make the best of the spot you are in.

The good news is that when the defenders lead three rounds of diamonds, West has six and East can only ruff in with the heart six, not the jack. You overruff and draw the remaining trumps in two rounds. Now what?

You know that West has six diamonds and two hearts together with very short spades. The auction strongly suggests that he has five clubs, given East’s revealing pre-empt. So East has only two clubs, making the club finesse unnecessary — if East has the club queen, it is dropping.

Therefore, you cash the club ace and king, then lead a spade to the jack; East must duck his ace or it falls on empty air. Next you lead a spade to the king, and East must duck a second time, since if he wins he is immediately endplayed. With only spades left, he will have to play into the tenace.

But now you exit with a club. When West wins the club queen, he must give you a ruff and discard with the lead of one minor or the other, and your last spade goes away. Contract made!


It looks natural to bid two hearts now, but bear in mind that your partner should have shape and an opening bid at least. You should instead compete to three hearts immediately (only a fractional overbid). Your initial pass limited your high cards, and the fact that you are jumping (rather than cue-bidding ) means that your partner should work out your hand-type as shapely rather than based on high cards.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 6 2
 10 9 8 7 5
 6 5
♣ A J 3
South West North East
1
Pass 1♠ Dbl. 2
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.