Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Minorities… are almost always in the right.

Revd. Sydney Smith


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

K

The NEC trophy normally held in February, took place last year in April, so that the international field could then play a week later in the Yeh Bros tournament at the same venue.

In the final of the NEC event, Mikhail Krasnosselski for the winners made a very nice play here. He reached five clubs doubled, and after the lead of the heart king, he knew that diamonds rated to be 7-0.

One reasonable plan now would be to cash two rounds of clubs ending in dummy, and take the spade ace to discard a heart loser. Then he would lead a diamond to the nine, and hope the defenders could not engineer a diamond ruff. This line works today, but would fail if South were 6-4-0-3, perhaps somewhat more likely than his actual hand, given the auction. Krasnosselski found a better solution: He won the heart ace, ran five trumps, then led a diamond to the queen and ace. That forced East to win and return a diamond or spade to dummy, letting declarer discard one heart loser and then take the diamond finesse.

In the other room four spades had gone down one, when North did not raise clubs and South could not bid on to the five-level on his own, so Russia gained 10 IMPs. Credit Sjoert Brink, North, for his three-club call here; raising two-level overcalls encourages partner when he has bid with a good suit (and will teach him to have one next time if he has come in with an insufficient excuse).


In this sequence the two-club call should be forcing, suggesting some kind of real extra values though not necessarily a heart fit. Whatever partner has, you can show your hand by jumping to three diamonds, suggesting a real fit for diamonds, together with extras in the context of being a passed hand, and leave the rest to him.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 8 7
 9 8 7 6 5
 Q 10 2
♣ A 7
South West North East
Pass 1♣ 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, April 14th, 2014

I waited and waited, and when no message came, I knew it must have been from you.

Ashleigh Brilliant


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

♣7

The NEC tournament in Yokohama is now one of the strongest and best established invitational team events in the world. After an initial Swiss format, the top eight teams go through to a knockout phase. Today's deal (and indeed all this week's deals) comes from the later stages of last April's event.

Both Wests in our featured match led a club against three no-trump. David Bakhshi led the seven, and East won cheaply and continued the suit. Declarer won in dummy perforce (Bakhshi helpfully following with the eight to suggest spade values whereas his opposite number was not so generous). Both declarers now led a low diamond to the jack and a diamond back to the queen.

The unsuccessful defender — East — now shifted to a heart (perhaps playing partner for the spade ace and heart king) and declarer claimed 600, while Bakhshi’s partner ,David Gold, unblocked his club honor, on which his partner played his highest missing club spot, then shifted to spades for three down.

Gold’s defense was right in theory as well as in practice, but Bakhshi’s suit-preference signal at trick two had made his partner’s life far easier. The general rule is that when a defender has a choice of irrelevant small cards or when he knows that his partner knows exactly what his holding is, he should try to give his partner a suit-preference signal, as here. In virtually every deal the defenders have a chance to signal suit-preference — even if in practice they rarely do so.


Your hand does not suggest the opponents will have a source of tricks in a side suit, but there may well be some merit in stopping a crossruff, since that is surely the opponents' most likely source of tricks. Lead a trump, on the assumption that your partner is very unlikely to have a finessible trump honor.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ J 7 6 5
 Q 10 2
 7
♣ Q 9 8 7 3
South West North East
1
Pass 3 Dbl. Pass
3♠ Pass 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, April 13th, 2014

I'm weighing up several choices of leading styles. What is your view on leading from three, four or five small — and do circumstances alter cases as to what to lead?

Mini-Max, Riverside, Calif.

I believe that one should lead low from three or four small if partner might read you for a doubleton, but top if you have bid the suit or shown support for partner in that suit. I am not a fan of leading second-highest against suit contracts, though I might do that at no-trump if I had a second suit which partner might want to shift to. From almost any five-card suit I would lead fourth highest, unless my partner knows my length already.

As dealer I passed with ♠ K-6-5-2,  4-3,  K-7-6-5, ♣ K-Q-4. My LHO also passed, and my partner opened the bidding with one heart. I responded one no-trump. My partner passed and I made 11 tricks when my partner came down with five solid hearts, the spade ace and four diamonds to the queen. She said I should have bid more, but I do not know what I could have bid. Any thoughts?

At a Loss, Durango, Colo.

Every call was right up to a point. Your pass and partner’s one-heart call look right. Two no-trump by you would maybe now have been artificial, so your call of one no-trump is clearly right. But now your partner should bid two diamonds, and when you raise, she can rebid three no-trump. One should only pass one no-trump with a balanced 12-14 and no side four-card suit.

I would like your views on how I should have described my hand here. I held ♠ A-K-Q-5-2,  10-3,  —, ♣ A-K-Q-10-8-4. Is it right to open one club or two clubs — or even one spade? My partner held a 1-5-6-1 pattern with six hearts to the K-Q-J and five diamonds to the jack, with the singleton club jack. How should we get to the best contract (and what is it?).

None But the Brave, Ketchikan, Alaska.

Put me down firmly as a one-club bidder. I get to jump to two spades next (one club never gets passed out) and can then show my full hand when I rebid spades. As to the best contract; six clubs is down on a trump lead, while in six hearts the defenders do best to lead a trump and duck it — maybe not so easy to do.

I've been told that the best way to deal with intervention over my partner's one-no-trump opening is to use Mirror Doubles. Do you recommend them, or are they just a fad? And is there a better treatment you could suggest?

Grace Notes, Doylestown, Pa.

When opponents intervene over one no-trump with a natural or artificial call, then if you play transfers, a Mirror Double conventionally means that you would have made the call that they just did. All other transfers remain in place. This approach gives up on being able to play negative doubles over intervention. I prefer to use negative doubles (without transfers) of all intervention of two diamonds or higher, though you can play that transfers do apply after an overcall of two clubs.

I was involved in a highly competitive auction where we ended up playing five hearts doubled and making. One opponent remarked that I had been walking the dog — and I did not know if this was a compliment or an insult. Please let me know if I should have thanked him or slapped him!

Peke Condition, Willoughby, Ohio

Walking the dog is a lot easier to describe after the event than to recognize at the time. When one player realizes that his side has a big fit but wants to buy the contract as low as possible, he can occasionally make a deliberate underbid at his first turn, then try to buy the auction by bidding up the auction slowly. If you can do it, it is always very satisfying.


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, April 12th, 2014

People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.

Logan Pearsall Smith


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

*Balanced spade raise.

Q

By reading, and by learning from other people's mistakes, the expert can sometimes get the play right in a position he has not actually encountered before. Today's deal provides such an example, which comes from the final of the 1986 Australian Interstate Championships. Against four spades West led the heart queen, and declarer took it with dummy's ace to try to camouflage the position as best he could, while East discouraged. Now declarer came to hand, drawing just one round of trumps, then led a diamond. Put yourself in West's shoes: Would you win the diamond ace, or would you duck?

When you’ve made your decision, compare what happened at the table. West knew that his side had no tricks coming in the majors, and that he needed his partner to have the diamond jack — on the bidding there was no chance that he could hold the club king. So on the first round of diamonds West contributed the queen and dummy the king. On the diamond continuation, East rose with the jack and put the club 10 on the table. Curtains for declarer!

As you can see, if West ducks the first diamond, he can subsequently be endplayed in diamonds to lead clubs. And if he goes up with the ace, he can later be thrown in with a heart (declarer pitching a club from dummy on the third heart) to lead clubs, again after the trumps and diamonds have been stripped off.


Your partner's jump to four hearts is a splinter bid, agreeing spades and showing short hearts. You would like to bid Blackwood — but how do you know partner has a club control? Best now is to jump to five spades, which focuses on control in the danger suit, clubs. Partner will bid slam with second-round control or better, and pass without a control.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K J 10 8 4
 A 3
 K 10 4
♣ 9 6 3
South West North East
Pass 1 Pass
1♠ 2♣ 4 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: Friday, April 11th, 2014

In faith and hope the world will disagree,
But all mankind’s concern is charity.

Alexander Pope


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

♣8

Today's deal comes from the Arthur Loeb charity game, set up to provide funding for Lennox House in Manhattan by means of a pro-am event. At the table declarer followed the normal enough approach of going after diamonds, leaving herself with one diamond and three hearts to lose.

But how should you play four spades on the lead of the club eight? If the club finesse is wrong, then every other significant card is with West, and you are doomed. You need the club finesse and one diamond honor onside — so you will surely not find the hearts favorably located.

Curiously, you must take the practice finesse in clubs at trick one, then lead a low diamond to your jack. When West wins the trick, he can defeat the contract only by the unlikely shift to the heart king. In practice you will win the likely trump return in hand and cross to dummy’s trump nine to pass the diamond 10. Whether or not East covers, you will be able to win this diamond trick or the next in dummy, then lead the club ace while pitching a heart. Now you ruff the last club, strip off the diamonds if necessary, and exit with a low heart from hand.

With the hearts lying as they do, the defenders cannot unscramble their three winners in the suit. If West flies up with the king and exits in hearts, your queen is good. If West ducks, the heart blockage means West will eventually give you a ruff-sluff, and the heart loser goes away.


On this sort of auction, I would always rather give preference to partner with a call of two clubs than bid one no-trump. In my book, my partner does not have to introduce spades with a 4-3-3-3 pattern; he can instead rebid one no-trump. We might miss the best partscore, but the limiting rebid will help us reach the best game or slam. At pairs, though, I might be tempted to respond one no-trump.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

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

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Only those who have patience to do simple things perfectly ever acquire the skill to do difficult things easily.

James J. Corbett


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

4

Where you have eight tricks in three no-trump, there is usually a way to find a ninth. Today's deal was well-played by Nevena Senior in the round of 16 knockout match against Singapore in the World Mind Sports Games a few years ago. Cover up the East and West hands and give it a try yourself before reading on.

Not surprisingly, the heart four was led at both tables. The Singaporean declarer did not really make much of an attempt to make her game. She won the heart king, crossed to hand with a club, and led the spade jack. When West covered with the king, she ducked, but now the defenders were not hard-pressed to know what to do next.

By contrast, Senior won the heart lead in hand and immediately played the spade jack. When West covered with the king, she won dummy’s ace and ran her club winners. West discarded a diamond easily, but on the last club had to discard a spade. Nevena now cashed the spade queen and exited with a heart. West cashed her four heart tricks, but then had to lead a diamond and it was easy for Senior to guess the position.

In the same position the player sitting West for the U.S. produced a sparkling defensive resource. On the last club he discarded down to the bare diamond king. Now when declarer cashed the spade queen and threw him in with a heart, he had a spade winner to cash.


Although you have no more than two likely tricks on defense, you have a hand where the opponents should not be making overtricks, and you would certainly not expect five spades to have any chance to make. So double, expecting that this will end the auction.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A Q 7 5 3
 K 2
 Q 6 5
♣ J 8 7
South West North East
Pass Pass 1
1♠ 4 4♠ 5
?      

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, April 9th, 2014

You're a mouse studying to be a rat.

Wilson Mizner


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

6

Before falling prey to the knee-jerk reaction of taking your trump tricks when you can "before the rats get at them," stop to consider the implications.

At the table West naturally led a heart against four spades, and East cashed two of his top hearts, then continued with a third. West was quick to ruff in with the queen in front of dummy. Declarer took the diamond return on the table, and with dummy’s two trumps still intact, he was able to run the nine successfully. South continued by finessing the 10, and with the ace dropping East’s king on the third round of the suit, he was able to claim 10 tricks.

See the difference if West elects to discard on the third heart, rather than ruff. Declarer ruffs in dummy, yes, but the consequence of this is that dummy is now reduced to one trump. This means that only one trump finesse can be taken. Declarer duly takes it, and West wins with the queen and returns a diamond.

With no trumps left in dummy, and lacking the ability to reduce his trumps in hand sufficiently to effect a trump coup, South will continue with the spade ace, hoping that East had started with a doubleton spade king. But this eventuality will not come to pass, and declarer ends with just nine tricks, having to concede a second trump to the spade king.


There are some (not I) who would have opened this hand a strong no-trump. And equally, there are others who would now reverse into two diamonds at their second turn. I prefer to rebid clubs because I feel that a reverse — which would force club preference at the three-level — requires at least another working queen.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 4
 7 2
 A Q 10 7
♣ A K Q 8 6
South West North East
1♣ Pass 1♠ Pass
?      

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

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

The dwarf sees farther than the giant, when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge


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

♠K

In every major tournament there is always at least one instance of David defeating Goliath. At the Olympiad in Beijing in 2008, the giant was Italy and they were beaten 16-14 by Albania, playing international bridge for the first time. This was one of Albania's triumphs.

The Italian South found himself in three no-trump, against which West led the unbid suit, hearts. Declarer won in hand with the queen and played a heart back to dummy’s nine. He now played a diamond. East went up with the ace and continued hearts. Declarer misjudged now when he ran the heart around to dummy’s king, and played a club to his 10. When this lost to West’s jack, South was doomed.

The Albanians bid to the delicate contract of four hearts. West led a top spade and switched to a club. Declarer won in dummy and played a diamond, and East won and continued clubs. Declarer won in dummy again and played a spade. The defenders won and played a third club. When no-one ruffed this, declarer had three clubs and crossruffed seven trump tricks to make his game.

Even a trump lead would not have hurt declarer. Suppose West leads a trump at trick one. Dummy wins, plays a diamond, and East plays another trump. Declarer wins in hand, ruffs a diamond, crosses to hand with the club queen, draws the last trump, and plays a top diamond. This establishes two more winners in the suit, allowing South to make five trumps, two diamonds and four clubs.


Your partner's double shows a maximum pass, and suggests a heart suit that is not good enough to bid, together with diamond tolerance. With four-card heart support, you should jump to three hearts, not so much because you think your side can make game but to take away bidding space from your opponents.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 7
 A Q 8 5
 Q J 9 6 3
♣ Q 10 7
South West North East
Pass 1♣
1 1♠ 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, April 7th, 2014

It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.

John Wooden


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

*Spades and hearts

**Diamonds, GF

♠A

The swing that arose in today's deal resulted from one team's aggression in both rooms. At one table South opened two no-trump with very little excuse, and North bounced to six diamonds. East closed his eyes and guessed to lead a spade, giving declarer a discard for his heart loser. But when he played the trump suit in normal fashion, he had to go down a trick.

In the other room West stretched to show his two-suiter, and got his opponents to slam the correct way up. Worse was to follow from his perspective since he had a horrible lead problem. It is rarely correct to lead an ace against six no-trump. But eventually West started with ace and another spade, which turned out to do no serious harm, declarer winning in hand as East gave count.

West’s two-suited bid had given declarer a very good idea of his general shape. He knew 10 of that player’s cards, but what was his minor-suit pattern? Declarer set out to find out more, cashing two rounds of clubs ending in dummy. When West followed suit, declarer knew 12 of West’s 13 cards, and it was now a 4-1 shot that he had a singleton small diamond rather than the bare jack. Accordingly, declarer ran the diamond 10 next. When it held, he unblocked the diamonds, crossed to the club king, and ran the diamond suit. He took tricks 12 and 13 with his heart and club winners.


With the cards apparently lying badly for declarer, you might elect to go passive here with a club lead. I am not convinced about this. My instincts are to try to set up or cash diamond winners for our side before they go away on the clubs, one way or another.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ K 7
 Q 10 3
 K 9 6 4
♣ 10 9 6 4
South West North East
1♠
Pass 1 NT Pass 3
Pass 3♠ 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, April 6th, 2014

My partner has suggested I play revolving discards (where a high card in one suit calls for the suit above, a low one for the suit below). Do you think that this system is compatible with suit-preference signals as played in the normal fashion?

Busy Lizzy, Rockford, Ill.

Your signaling method and your discarding method are not necessarily mutually exclusive — they do not have to be the same. I'm happy to play any system of discarding where I can call for one suit by discarding in one of the other suits; I find I throw fewer winners away as a consequence of that.

I was fourth to speak with ♠ Q,  J-3,  A-J-9-5-3-2, ♣ A-K-10-2, and opened one diamond. After partner responded one no-trump, it did not feel right to pass. But I felt I had too many choices, with bids at various levels in either minor. Even the possibility of raising no-trump did not seem outlandish.

Pick Six, Wausau, Wis.

Passing certainly does not seem right — the hand has potential for game in either minor, but even one one no-trump might go down on a bad day! I'd recommend a simple call of two clubs, intending to rebid three diamonds whether partner reverts to two diamonds, or raises to three clubs. Both sequences would sound like 6-4 in the minors with extra values.

I teach bridge, and I tell my students to respond in their longest suit if they can afford it. In your column you told players to respond one spade with the following hand if their partner opened one diamond: ♠ K-8-6-5,  Q-4,  K-5, ♣ K-9-6-5-4. If you are not playing two-over-one, I feel you can afford a two-club response, and whatever partner bids next, you should have no problems. What are your thoughts?

Lumberjack, Spokane, Wash.

You make a fair point. I think with one-bid hands you should bid a major if you can. What you do on game-forcing hands is normally to bid the long suits. It is with the in-between hands where you have to make a judgment call. If the major is weak, you might opt to introduce a longer minor first.

Why do you prefer the lead of the king from king-queen as well as from the ace-king? Does it not create some ambiguity when you have certain holdings that include the jack?

Justice League, San Antonio, Texas

I am someone who leads his fair share of unsupported aces and wants to know what partner's attitude is when he knows the king is missing. I admit that when you hold jack-third in response to a king lead and dummy has a relatively short holding without the queen or ace, you might not know how to signal. I will take that downside in exchange for more clarity elsewhere.

Say your LHO opened one diamond, and partner made a three-club overcall. What would you bid after your RHO made a negative double and you held ♠ 10-5,  A-Q-9-4-3,  10-6-5, ♣ Q-4-3? The deal comes from a matchpoint pair event with your side at favorable vulnerability and with a cheap save in five clubs over four spades.

Nosey Parker, Spartanburg, S.C.

I would not bounce to five clubs immediately, but I would not necessarily recommend my solution to you until you had discussed this with your partner. I'd suggest that you bid three hearts, with the understanding that a new suit in response to a pre-emptive overcall is fit-showing in competition. It shows a hand with club tolerance or better and a desire for a heart lead. That should help partner decide whether to save and what to lead.


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.