Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 14th, 2015

Nothing is more imminent than the impossible… what we must always foresee is the unforeseen.

Victor Hugo


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

Q

One simple law for declarer is that you should win a trick if you fear a shift. Still, there is always an exception. Walid El Ahmady and Tarek Sadek of Egypt are both highly resourceful declarers, and on this deal from the Cavendish pairs Sadek was able to bring home an impossible game by breaking the rules.

Three no-trump appears to be hopeless here for North-South except on a spade lead. Sadek received the lead of the heart queen.

If declarer wins the first heart for fear of a club shift, then runs six diamonds, East keeps his top clubs and two spades, and has an exit-card in the form of a low heart.

Better is to duck the first heart, win the next, and run diamonds. But in the five-card ending the defense can still just prevail so long as West keeps four clubs, and East discards all his hearts to keep two spades and three clubs.

Sadek went one step better; he ducked both the heart queen and the jack! Now he won the third heart, pitching a spade from dummy, and ran the diamonds. On the last diamond East was down to two spades and three clubs, and had no escape. If he kept two spades and the top clubs he would be thrown in with a club. If he bared his spade king, declarer would have the ninth trick in that suit, and if he discarded a top club, ace and another spade would endplay him to concede the ninth trick in clubs. Very nicely (and bravely) done.


The right response to a major-suit opener with 10 points and three trump is sometimes unclear. I prefer a simple constructive raise here rather than the limit raise. This hand has three positives, the aces, five-card suit and decent spots. But the doubleton queen is a negative; I’d settle for the simple raise to two hearts. Give me queen-third of spades and a doubleton club and I go the other way.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 7
 A 10 5
 A 9 6 4 3
♣ 10 7 2
South West North East
    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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Oh! Let us never, never doubt
What nobody is sure about!

Hilaire Belloc


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

♣K

This deal involves a nice point of technique. When it came up in a French pairs event, the best play was not always found. The reporter of the deal was one of the unlucky Easts, as the declarer at his table knew what he was doing. Still, at least he had the consolation of a good story!

Our reporter’s partner led the club king, and after winning with the ace perforce, declarer drew trump. You can see what happens (as it did at several tables) if declarer goes all out for the overtrick and hopes that the spade jack will fall in three rounds. It does not fall, and South ends up by losing two diamond tricks when that suit also fails to behave.

Instead, judging that he was in a good contract, and one that would not be reached by the majority of the field, South looked for the safest line for 12 tricks and decided not to worry unduly about the overtrick.

At trick five South advanced the spade nine and covered with dummy’s 10. If East had taken this, declarer could have claimed 12 tricks immediately. However, after some reflection East avoided that trap and ducked. It did not help: next came a diamond finesse, losing to the queen.

The club return was ruffed and the spade queen overtaken in dummy to allow a diamond to be discarded on the third top spade. When the spade jack did not fall, the lead was on the table for a second, and successful, diamond finesse.


There is a temptation to insist on playing spades here, but you should appreciate that the advantages of playing in one no-trump are that you are a level lower and partner’s tenaces are protected on opening lead. Unless the opponents have a five-card suit ready to run, seven tricks in no-trump look easier than eight in spades.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A K 10 8 7
 6 4
 7 6 3
♣ 10 5 2
South West North East
    1 ♣ Pass
1 ♠ Pass 1 NT Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing, through the overtaking and possessing of a wish discovers the folly of the chase.

William Congreve


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

♣10

In today’s auction South’s three no-trump rebid showed a balanced hand and 25-27 points. North’s four clubs was Stayman (similar to three clubs over a two no-trump rebid) and his subsequent raise of four hearts to five invited a slam, suggesting nothing to cuebid, thus good trumps. South should perhaps have passed, with his minimum 25-count, since slam could hardly be better than the spade finesse. But how would you play six hearts when West leads the club 10 to East’s ace and a club is returned?

Declarer saw that he would need the spade finesse to be right. Not only that, if East held four spades to the king, declarer would need to take the spade finesse three times. He cashed the king of trump and continued with the jack of trump. When West followed suit it was safe to overtake with dummy’s ace.

Do you see the point of this play? Declarer was trying to set up the maximum number of entries to dummy in the trump suit. East showed out on the second round of trump and declarer took his first spade finesse, pleased to see West follow with a low card. The four of trumps to dummy’s nine provided a second entry to dummy, and a second spade finesse followed. A trump to dummy’s queen returned the lead to dummy, and now declarer finessed for a third time in spades.

This same overtaking play would have been possible had dummy held the heart eight instead of the nine, so long as East has a singleton heart nine or 10.


I come down firmly in favor of one spade rather than one diamond here —partly because of the suit quality issue. But one can also lose spades after an auction that begins with North bidding clubs and hearts. After that start would a one spade call show spades – and would it promise a better hand than this? Better to bid the suit at once, planning to give preference to clubs over a one no-trump rebid.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 8 7 5
 2
 8 6 5 3
♣ A J 7 3
South West North East
    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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Showing up every day isn’t enough. There are a lot of guys who show up every day who shouldn’t have showed up at all.

James Caan


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

*Three controls, counting two for an ace, one for a king

♠10

Often the application of good declarer technique produces no positive result, because the lie of the cards means that there is no advantage to be gained from superior play. However, that was not the case with today’s deal. Take your place in the South seat and plan the play in your grand slam.

Superficially, it looks as if the contract depends on either the diamond finesse or a 3-3 heart split. If declarer simply plays out his top two hearts from hand then crosses to the heart ace, he can pitch his losing heart on the spade king and take the diamond finesse. That line combines your chances; but can you do better?

Better technique would be to cash all the black-suit winners followed by the heart king and queen before crossing to dummy with the heart ace at trick 10. As before, if the 13th heart is good, then the diamond queen is discarded on the spade ace, otherwise the heart can be discarded and the diamond finesse taken.

However, consider what happens when it is East who holds the long hearts. In the two-card end position, declarer leads a diamond from the dummy, holding the ace and queen in his hand. When East plays low, declarer knows that his last card is a heart; therefore West must hold the diamond king. There is no point in finessing, so declarer rises with the ace — and down comes the king.

Thus the show-up squeeze also lets you make the slam whenever West started with the bare diamond king and short hearts.


Without the overcall of one no-trump you would surely have jumped instinctively to four spades as a sort of two-way shot. Here there is a warning that spades are not breaking; but I would still bid four spades now, albeit a little less happily, and let the opponents sort out what to do next.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 6 5 3
 A 4 2
 8 7 6 5 4 2
♣ —
South West North East
  1 1 ♠ 1 NT
?      

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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, August 10th, 2015

Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.

Cardinal Newman


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

*6-9 HCP

♠3

When South upgrade his hand out of his strong no-trump range of 14 to 17, North treated his hand as worth a club raise. This combination of actions led to NorthSouth stretching to a thin, though not hopeless game.

When West led a low spade to the first trick, declarer could see that he was very short of entries to dummy to play hearts. So he carefully put in dummy’s spade nine to the first trick. East won his ace as South unblocked the 10, and had one chance to defeat the game — though it would have required great defensive cooperation. He must shift to a diamond to let West win and go back to spades. Instead, though, he made the more normal play of continuing the attack on spades. West ducked the second spade, so declarer won dummy’s queen and led a low heart to the jack and West’s queen (ducking does not help today). That player cashed his spades as South pitched diamonds from both hands. When West exited with a diamond, declarer won in hand and cashed off the four club winners to discard his last diamond.

Now declarer could run the heart nine from dummy and repeat the finesse when East ducked, to score three hearts, four clubs, and one trick in each of the other suits.

Curiously, if declarer does not have the heart seven (switch the heart five and seven, for example) he cannot play the heart suit for three tricks on best defense, because of the entry problems to dummy.


West’s double was for take-out, so your opponents rate to be in a 4-4 fit, and I’d expect declarer to want to take diamond ruffs in dummy. A trump lead might cut down on that option for declarer and rates to be relatively passive. A diamond lead would be the second choice of course, but might easily help set up a discard for declarer or solve a guess.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 8 2
 10 6 3
 Q 6 4 3
♣ K 10 9
South West North East
    1 1 NT
2 Dbl. Pass 2
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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 9th, 2015

Holding: ♠ 9-2, 10-9-6-5-2, J-2, ♣ K-7-4-3 how would you respond to a two no-trump opening bid? Would you pass, or settle for partscore in hearts, or drive to game – and if so which?

Level Best, Cartersville, Ga.

I think it would be trying to land on the head of a pin to pass two no-trump or to transfer to hearts and stop in three. I think one should transfer to hearts and bid three no-trump. Partner can pick which game he wants to play in. Although you have a little extra shape, you cannot insist on playing hearts unless partner produces a fit. Let him make the call.

I was faced with an auction recently where my partner heard me double one heart. The next hand redoubled, and my partner jumped to three clubs, telling me later that he meant this as weak rather than based on high cards. Is this a normal approach – since the call would surely have been invitational without the redouble?

Upping the Ante, Westhampton, N.Y.

You can certainly argue that if the first three hands all show approximately opening values, the fourth hand cannot be strong. So while a jump by fourth hand would indeed be invitational over everything but third hand’s redouble, it is reasonable to play than in this one sequence the jump should be based more on shape than high cards. I might have a five- or six-card suit and 5-8 points, perhaps.

I read your column online and have a question. I held ♠ A-3, A-Q-9-7-4-2, K-J-3, ♣ A-7. My partner dealt and opened one club and rebid two clubs over my one heart response. What is the right way to create a forcing auction now? At the table I bid two spades, my partner raised, and a convoluted auction ended in four no-trump, making seven.

Strong-arm Tactics, Frankfurt, Germany

A plausible auction would see you bid two diamonds over two clubs, and when your partner jumps to three no-trump you might close your eyes and bid six no-trump. A new suit by you is forcing for one round at your second turn, and two diamonds saves space while encouraging partner to support you economically. Incidentally, I can’t imagine on what hand your partner would raise spades at his third turn if he couldn’t bid them at his second turn!

Holding: ♠ Q-7-2, Q-4, A-J-9-3-2, ♣ K-4-3 I opened one diamond and heard my partner respond one spade. The next hand bid two hearts; is it right for me to pass or bid two spades now?

Raiser’s Edge, Waterbury, Conn.

With a minimum hand and only three trumps, particularly where your heart holding sounds to have gotten worse from the auction, pass is the discreet action, though bidding two spades is not terrible. But surely if you can make anything, your partner will have enough to bid again. Incidentally, support doubles (which show a three-card raise here) are becoming more and more popular. If you play this style, then you would have no good reason not to double.

I’m interested in your views as to when shape trumps high cards. Holding: ♠ J-6 Q-2, A-K-10-8-7-4, ♣ 1-0-9-3 do you consider this a one diamond opening? If you don’t open one diamond would you pass rather than showing a weak hand with a two diamond preempt?

Princess Pushy, Twin Falls, Idaho

Wolff’s first laws of preempting: Never pass a hand with a good suit. Open one, two, or three, but don’t pass. Here I’d open two diamonds anywhere except in first seat non-vulnerable — where I might consider opening one diamond. Make the club 10 the jack and I open one diamond, in all seats, except in second seat vulnerable.


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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 8th, 2015

Logic and sermons never convince.

Walt Whitman


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

10

Good sense dictates how this minor suit game should be handled. It also helps to remember as declarer that if only you need to take 11 tricks, you can afford to lose two.

To reach five diamonds, North judged well in the auction. South would no doubt have been expecting more from him in the way of honor points for his initial response, but North could see that as South was almost certainly marked with a singleton or void club by his rebid of three no-trump, the club suit was unlikely to be easy to develop in a no-trump contract.

West led a diamond, since nothing else looked attractive, and South took stock. The most realistic chance for 11 tricks is to set up dummy’s clubs; so with this in mind, declarer cashed the trump king and queen, then led a club to the ace.

The ensuing club ruff passed off peacefully. Next came the heart ace for a spade discard from dummy, followed by a diamond to the ace, extracting the last defensive trump in the process. Declarer then simply gave up a club. All that was now left for the defense was one spade trick, there being a trump left in dummy as access to the set-up clubs.

Declarer had planned the play with care from trick one, appreciating that two tricks could be lost. If declarer had ruffed two clubs in the South hand, the timing goes awry. Trump control is lost, and with that, the established club winners.


You have a good hand, one that has been improved by the opponents bidding your short suit. Try two diamonds now, planning to compete in spades at your next turn. If you play support doubles to show three-card support you can do that, but you should plan to bid past the two-level at your next turn by introducing your diamonds.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 10 4
 A Q 10 4 3
 K Q 8 4
♣ 7
South West North East
1 Pass 1 ♠ 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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 7th, 2015

For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.

Aristotle


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

♠2

Today’s deal comes from an expert player, who was practicing online at www.Bridgebase.com. (This is the best place both to play and practice online that I know.) He reported the deal anonymously, remarking that it was a pity his non-expert partner had not been the declarer here, since it would have given him a chance to demonstrate his technique, or at least to learn a valuable lesson if he failed to do so.

North-South were in danger of getting too high here and South thought he had judged well not to press on to six clubs. Singleton honors are often difficult to evaluate, and North had perhaps been a little over-enthusiastic.

When West led a spade, declarer had to decide how to play for 11 tricks. One line was simply to draw trump from the top and, if there was a loser there, to guess diamonds. However, South spotted that provided hearts were 4-3 he had a better line.

So he won the spade king, played the heart ace and led a heart to hand, cashed the spade ace pitching a heart, and ruffed a spade. Now he played a club to his king and cashed the heart queen. When this stood up, he simply played a club to the jack. As it turned out, East showed out and declarer could draw the last trump and claim. However, if East had won his doubleton trump queen, he would have been endplayed either to play a diamond or concede a ruff and discard.


Your partner’s second double is card-showing not penalty. You have implicitly denied four cards in either major or you would have acted over the first double. That being said, a 4-3 heart fit looks quite playable, and your clubs are not worth bidding at the three-level. So bid two hearts.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 5 4
 K Q 2
 8 3
♣ K 8 4 3 2
South West North East
1 ♣ 1 Dbl. 2
Pass Pass 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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, August 6th, 2015

You can go where you please, you can skid up the trees,
But you don’t get away from the guns!

Rudyard Kipling


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

5

Sometimes it is better to go quietly when you are outgunned. In this deal North knew his partner was short in diamonds and gambled a second double. His partner took him seriously and jumped to game with his meager two-count, and found himself in a parlous contract. Even though the opponents’ cards lay extremely well, finding the winning line in five clubs was not entirely obvious.

As West holds the doubleton club ace, the heart king, and spade queen, declarer is in with a shout after West’s normal diamond lead. (Yes a spade lead lets the defenders organize a spade ruff).

Declarer ruffs the second diamond and plays a club to the king, the ducks a club on the way back. West wins his bare club ace and shifts to the heart jack. Declarer finesses the queen, cashes the heart ace and ruffs a diamond, then draws the last trump, pitching the small heart from dummy. Now declarer finesses in spades, cashes the spade ace and ruffs a diamond back to hand with his last trump.

After 11 tricks (two spades, two hearts, three trumps and four diamonds) he has reduced to a two-card ending with the heart 10 and a spade in hand and the K-3 of spades in dummy. To protect against the spade menace West must pitch his master heart, hoping his partner can guard the suit, but South triumphantly cashes the heart 10 at trick 12.


In this sequence you have more than enough to bid two hearts; and you would definitely want to bid hearts rather than diamonds, since partner’s double is more about majors than unbid minors. Yes, if you were defending to clubs you would hope for a diamond not a heart lead — but there again, if your side can make game, it is far more likely to be in hearts than in diamonds.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 7
 8 7 6 5
 A Q 7 4
♣ J 10 5
South West North East
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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.

William Shakespeare


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

♣5

North could hardly believe his good fortune when he saw South open the bidding with a strong no-trump. Yet there turned out to be a sting in the tail…

At any other vulnerability North might have been suspicious, but as it was, with a combined minimum of 37 HCP, North saw no point in hanging about and closed the auction with a majestic leap to seven no-trump.

West led the club 10, captured with dummy’s ace. Hardly pausing for breath, South cashed dummy’s diamond ace then played a diamond to the king, being brought up short when West showed out. He could now count on only twelve tricks, but there were still other chances for a thirteenth – a 3-3 heart break or a red-suit squeeze. But when those failed to materialize, he had to settle for one down – and a disgruntled partner.

As the only thing that can go wrong is an inconvenient diamond break, it is surely worth embarking on a voyage of discovery, to see if you can get a better feel for the distribution.

Cash the diamond ace to start with – if either defender shows out, you can safely finesse for the jack. Then cash all three top hearts, followed by the clubs. Finally, take the spade ace then king. Today this will reveal West’s exact distribution as 2-4-1-6, so East is known to have started with jack-fourth of diamonds. The diamond nine can now be safely finessed, the king cashed, and the spade queen is the entry for the diamond queen.


With a 22-count it is possible to go high or low, that is to say by treating the hand as a balanced 20-22 or a balanced 22-24. Here the quality of your honors and your chunky five-card minor, solidified by the 10 – not an irrelevant spot-card – should persuade you to go high. Open two clubs and rebid two no-trump at your next turn.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K Q 4
 A Q 2
 A Q 10 8 3
♣ A J
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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.