Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Does bidding in the balancing seat show less than in direct seat? I've seen reference to this — but can you still have full values when you balance over an opening bid?

Rate Adjuster, Houston, Texas

In general, most actions in the balancing seat have a lower minimum threshold, say about a king less, than the same action in direct seat. So with a maximum overcall you have the option of starting with a double and then bidding your suit, as opposed to introducing the suit at once. And a balancing no-trump call shows 11-15 points, not a strong no-trump.

When opener, facing a passed hand, doubles the opponents at his second turn, is that for takeout? I opened one heart with ♠ 10-2,  A-K-J-10-3,  A-Q, ♣ K-10-3-2. If my opponents bid and raise spades, what should I do next?

Lola Granola, Chester, Ill.

With the above hand I might bid three clubs rather than double — my diamonds look too feeble. But any time you have a 5-4-3-1 pattern, a double is surely best. Let partner pick his long suit — in which case three-card support should be enough for him.

I was confused with a recent aside you produced in an answer in Bid With the Aces. After hearing a one-heart response to one diamond, you said, "to rebid the diamonds here virtually guarantees a six-card suit." Are you ever allowed to rebid a five-card suit?

Limbo Dancer, Fredericksburg, Va.

When you open a minor and hear partner respond one heart, it is almost never necessary to repeat a five-card suit. Occasionally, after a response of one spade to a minor, you may be forced to repeat a good five-card suit when holding four hearts and no stopper in the other minor. By contrast, after partner responds at the two-level, repeating a decent five-carder is often the least lie.

I'm very confused about when a redouble should be to play, when it is SOS, and when it is just a good hand. Can you give me some general rules here?

Walter Wall, Tucson, Ariz.

Generalizing is hard, but a simple rule is that if you have been doubled for penalty and are in the pass-out seat, redouble is for rescue. If you are facing an overcall or opening and the double is NOT penalty, any redouble shows a good hand or extras. Where no fit has been found by your side, such doubles generally look like defensively oriented hands.

An unopposed sequence went 1  – 2 ♣ – 2 ♠. Some say that opener's second bid of two spades is really a sort of reverse (guaranteeing some extras). Is there such a thing? Is there any difference in the value of the two-spade call depending on whether you are playing Standard American or two-over-one game forcing?

Upsy Daisy, Charleston, S.C.

The answer here does indeed depend on whether the two-club call guarantees a rebid. If two clubs is a game force, then the two-spade bid just describes opener's hand pattern and does not guarantee extra values. If the two-club bid is not a game-force, then the reverse to two spades shows enough extras to force to game — say at least a good 14 count with fit.


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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Inspiration is one thing and you can't control it, but hard work is what keeps the ship moving. Good luck means, work hard. Keep up the good work.

Kevin Eubanks


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

6

Today's deal saw North and South conduct an intelligent auction to the best game. As a passed hand South was able to bid a natural and nonforcing two clubs in response to the one-spade opening. (The partnership did not play Drury — whereby the call would show a spade fit and a maximum pass.) Thereafter both players bid naturally, and North (who had already denied four hearts) eventually felt able to raise hearts, assuming his partner would not introduce a four-card suit at his second turn and should thus hold a 5-6 distribution.

Against four hearts the defenders did well to lead and continue diamonds. South ruffed the third round and correctly played on clubs before drawing trump. He led to the club ace and back to his king as East sensibly discarded a spade. Now came the heart ace, dropping West’s nine, followed by a club ruff with the heart king, East discarding another spade.

Declarer next played ace, king and a third spade, ruffing low in hand, and had now taken eight of the first 10 tricks. He was down to the Q-7 of trumps and one club, while dummy had two spades and the trump eight. It looked to declarer as if East was down to just trumps, so he led his last club and ruffed with dummy’s heart eight. East overruffed and returned his low trump, but declarer could put in the heart seven with some confidence and claim the last two tricks.

Just for the record, a club shift at trick three sets the game.


You have a hand with some slam potential, but the overcall has somewhat dampened your ardor. Nonetheless, jump to three spades to set up a force and hope that your partner can cue-bid in support of your spades. If not, settle for game.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A K 8 7 3
 K 8 6
 10 7 2
♣ A 7
South West North East
1 NT 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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, September 13th, 2013

Love those things that will never be seen twice.

Alfred de Vigny


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

*Three key-cards, counting the trump king as a key-card

♠K

In today's deal when South heard his partner force to game with the two-club call, then raise hearts, he cue-bid the spade ace, then opted for simplicity by using Blackwood at his next turn, driving to the grand slam in hearts.

The hand was easier to bid than to play. After a spade lead South should win the spade ace and decide which bad breaks he can cope with. The best path looks to be to cash the diamond ace, then the heart king and queen, followed by the diamond king and queen. If diamonds are 3-3, declarer has the rest by drawing the last trump and running the diamonds.

By playing on diamonds before drawing the last trump, declarer can come home when one defender has three trumps and four diamonds. Declarer ruffs the fourth diamond in dummy, then comes to hand with a trump and runs the diamonds before taking the club finesse at trick 12.

It might also succeed when the cards lie as in the diagram, where West has three trumps and two diamonds. Assuming West ruffs in on the third diamond, declarer overruffs, plays ace and another club, dropping the king, and ruffs out the diamonds, pitches his spade loser on the club queen, and his hand is high. But note that if West does not ruff the third diamond, declarer might easily go wrong. Might he not simply ruff the fourth diamond, draw the last trump ending in hand, and eventually take the club finesse?


With a hand this strong you are relatively safe to double in the pass-out seat, expecting to bid diamonds when one of the other three players bids spades. You won't necessarily be showing that you have hearts as well as diamonds, but that must be a live possibility, and partner will be able to explore for the fit if necessary.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 3
 A Q 7 4
 K Q 9 7 6 4
♣ J
South West North East
1♣ 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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, September 12th, 2013

How I did respect you when you dared to speak the truth to me!

Anthony Trollope


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

♣3

Earlier this year, the final of the Dutch team championships was played between the two top Dutch teams, both sponsored by Onstein. Today's deal comes from that encounter.

Against Ton Bakkeren’s three-no-trump contract, Bauke Muller led the club three to the jack and queen. Declarer played a diamond to dummy’s queen, and Simon de Wijs won the ace and returned the club two. When declarer put in the 10, Muller won his king. If Muller had pressed on in clubs, all declarer would have to do was concede the diamond king to West, and the defenders would have taken no more than four tricks in the minor suits, while declarer would have had nine.

However, on winning the club jack, Muller switched to hearts, and all of a sudden declarer was in trouble. At the table Bakkeren won his heart ace at once, but when Muller came in with the diamond king, another heart did the job. The defense made two hearts, two diamonds and the club king.

Note that if declarer had won his club ace on the second round of the suit and had driven out the diamond king, he would be home. The lead of the club three and the return of the club two could (or perhaps should) have given him a clear picture of the club position. When East returned his low club, it strongly argued that the suit was initially 4-4. That in turn argues that East might deceptively have returned the five, not the two, at trick three.


This is a little-understood auction by those playing negative doubles. North's failure to bid two hearts at his first turn means he does not have enough to invite game. He rates to have six hearts and be in the range of 6-9 HCP. So you should pass rather than try for game and hope your partner can make his contract.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A J 7
 9 2
 J 10 9 8 7
♣ A Q 10
South West North East
1 1♠ Dbl. Pass
1 NT 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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

For still the craft of genius is
To mask a king in weeds.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


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

J

One of the great players from an earlier time was Waldemar Von Zedwitz, whose achievements in the game included winning a world title while legally blind. He was one of the 10 original life masters, a partner of Harold Vanderbilt, the creator of contract bridge, and also the man who prevented the breakup of the American Contract Bridge League during one of its many periods of civil war in the early days of the game. He is credited with defending today's hand.

Against four spades Von Zedtwitz led the diamond jack, taken by South with the ace. Declarer cashed the spade ace, then erred by continuing with the spade king. Not surprisingly, there was now no reprieve against a defender of Von Zedtwitz’s skill. When South led a low club toward the dummy, West played the queen, allowing East to gain the lead on the second round of clubs so that West could escape the endplay that would otherwise have forced him to open up the heart suit for declarer’s benefit.

After East discarded on the spade ace, South should lead a club to the queen and king. He now plays the diamond queen, a diamond to dummy’s king, then leads a fourth diamond, throwing his remaining club away. West can win and play a low club, but South ruffs, and endplays West by playing the king and another trump, forcing West to broach the hearts.


This is close to the minimum for a raise to two hearts in competition. Weighing in against bidding are the minimum hand, the three bad trumps, and the defensive values in the opponents' suit. If the opponents had overcalled one spade or two clubs, it would be far clearer to raise. I suppose I would grudgingly bid two hearts, but give me a 3-3-4-3 hand pattern and I might consider passing.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 10 8 7 3
 6 5 4
 K 8 7 6
♣ K 2
South West North East
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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.

Jane Austen


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

*Second negative (0-4 HCP)

♣Q

When missing five trumps, you will find they break 4-1 more than one quarter of the time. So planning against that is generally not a waste of effort.

In today’s deal, had North’s spade 10 been the queen, a small slam in spades would have been a reasonable contract. However, even four spades was not laydown when West led the club queen and continued with the jack. South ruffed, then laid down the spade ace and king, discovering the 4-1 break. Belatedly, declarer started on hearts, but West ruffed the first round with the trump jack and cashed the queen, which removed South’s last trump, with the club 10 representing one down.

Unless you have total trump control — and sometimes even then — it is more often right than not to establish your second suit before drawing too many trumps. If at trick four, having drawn just one round of trumps, declarer had played the heart ace, West’s ruff would not have fazed him. South trumps the club return, cashes the trump king, then continues with hearts from the top. West can trump in with the master spade, but that is the last trick for the defense. A club return is ruffed with dummy’s penultimate trump, and the diamond entries allow declarer to ruff out hearts, then come back to hand to run the suit.

Even if hearts were not 4-0, this would be the best line — either a defender would ruff in, leaving declarer with trump control, or dummy’s third club could be discarded on the hearts.


It looks natural to invite game with a cue-bid raise of two spades. But my preference as a passed hand would be to jump to three clubs, a fit-showing jump to indicate my source of tricks and to help my partner work out how far to compete against the opponents' spade bids. Incidentally, this hand is not worth a splinter bid in spades facing a third-in-hand opening.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 4
 J 7 3 2
 J 9 5
♣ A K 6 4 3
South West North East
Pass Pass 1 1♠
?      

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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 9th, 2013

Let's find out what everyone is doing,
And then stop everyone from doing it.

A.P. Herbert


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

♠6

The trump ace gives the defenders a sure entry and frequently allows them to control the drawing of trump — frequently the single most important part of any deal played in a suit contract.

However, the singleton trump ace frequently acts as a millstone around one’s neck. Not only do you rarely take down as much with it as you would like, but it occasionally gives you the lead at a moment in the deal when you would rather not have it.

This was the theme in today’s match between Great Britain and Austria played in Salt Lake City in 2002. when the World Bridge Federation organized a Grand Prix event to coincide with the Winter Olympics. Both North-Souths reached five hearts, the British turning up their noses at the 500 or 800 penalty available from four spades doubled, while the Austrians were (typically) trying for slam under their own steam.

The opening lead was a spade at both tables, East’s ace taking the first trick. Where Doris Fischer as North was declarer, East shifted to a club, and declarer stripped off both black suits before exiting with a trump. West won perforce and had to play a diamond, letting declarer guess to put in the 10 and avoid a diamond loser altogether. In the other room Sylvie Terraneo as East found the excellent trump shift at trick two – letting her partner take the ace and exit with a club, leaving declarer an inevitable diamond loser at the end.


Your partner is almost guaranteed to have real club length here since he did not raise diamonds and can't have too many spades either. Lead a low club rather than your weak diamond sequence since you certainly won't be able to prevent the opponents from organizing a club ruff if they want to take one.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

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

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Playing two-over-one game forcing, I opened one spade and my partner responded at the two-level in a suit (say diamonds) for which I had four-card support. When should I make a simple raise to three diamonds, and when should I bid four diamonds?

Rumble Fish, Edmonton, Calgary

Many people would do more than make a simple raise when they have strong slam potential. The more sophisticated bidders play a jump in a new suit as a splinter — showing extras, with real support for partner and a singleton or void in the bid suit. If you play that way, a jump raise shows extras but denies side-suit shortage.

My RHO opened two hearts and I had ♠ K,  A-3,  A-Q-10-5-4, ♣ Q-7-6-3-2. I bid three no-trump, intending it as unusual. My partner assumed I had a strong hand and jumped to six no-trump, which I managed to hold to down three. He opined that I could have doubled for takeout and forced a bid. I responded that since I did NOT do that, the bid must show something else. What do you think?

Robert the Bruce, Durango, Colo.

A three no-trump response shows more than 18HCP, balanced, but is also consistent with a hand with a long suit. Doubling then bidding three no-trump is natural, but is a hand that is prepared to hear partner remove to a major. Note that no-trump calls by a passed hand might be minors, and a jump to four no-trump is always for the minors. With your hand I'd bid three diamonds, followed by a call in clubs if I got the chance.

When in a slam-going auction, does a jump in a major to the five-level ask for something specific? My partner told me it always asks for good trumps. Is that right?

Bacon Burger, Lakeland, Fla.

A jump to the five-level often asks for good trumps. However if you are in a cue-bidding auction when there is one suit (or an opponent's suit) which has not been cue-bid, the jump would ask for a first- or second-round control in that suit. And, rarely, the jump shows good trumps and nothing to cue-bid. Responder's hand will normally tell him which.

Should I pre-empt, pass, or open at the one-level with 10 or 11 points and a six-card suit? I know about using Marty Bergen's Rule of 20. But Bergen says even if you can count to 20 (the length of the two longest suits plus your HCP), you should still have a couple of quick tricks. Can you clarify this for me?

The Wonder Horse, Augusta, Ga.

There are no cast-iron rules here, but when you have a good suit, open either one or two, but do not pass the hand — you can never catch up. I try not to open at the one-level with marginal values and fewer controls than an ace and king. The vulnerability and position also affect the calculation. In second seat or vulnerable, your openings should be sounder than elsewhere.

What is the minimum shape on which you should make a takeout double of an opening minor suit? Can you do it on a completely balanced hand?

Slightly Unbalanced, Rockford, Ill.

With a full opener but not enough for a one-no-trump overcall, it is just fine to double with a 4-3-3-3 hand, or even a hand 4-4 in the majors and a doubleton in the other minor. It will occasionally lead to a huge penalty, but will generally let your side into the auction cheaply and safely — and you cannot ask for more than that.


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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.

Pablo Picasso


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

♠10

Recently I have shown you some deals originally written up in Dutch IMP magazine, which were played by the GIB computer, developed by Matthew Ginsberg.

Here GIB correctly tackles a set hand prepared by the master teacher Fred Gitelman. South plays six no-trump after a three-heart pre-empt by West, who leads the spade 10. How should declarer develop the diamonds and hearts to get an extra trick from each suit?

After taking two clubs to get the count in that suit, declarer leads the diamond jack from dummy. East can see that if he takes the ace and continues diamonds, declarer will cash his clubs and spades, ending in dummy, and West will be subjected to a simple squeeze in the red suits.

So East ducks the diamond, but South has no realistic chance except to rise with the king, and rattle off his black-suit winners, first the clubs, pitching hearts from dummy, then the spades.

After the last spade, dummy has one heart and two diamonds, while declarer has his two hearts and a small diamond. Since West has to keep two hearts, he must come down to the bare diamond queen. East has three diamonds to the ace left; when a diamond is led from dummy, what does he do?

If East rises with the ace, he crashes his partner’s queen and sets up dummy’s diamond for the 12th trick. So East ducks, and West is thrown in, forced to lead a heart into South’s tenace. Contract made!


Every partnership should have an agreement as to which passes of redoubles are to play, and which ask partner to bid, simply indicating "nothing to say." Partner's second pass ought to be for penalties; the opponents have not announced a fit and your partner must surely have a four-card suit to bid. So if he chooses to pass, he must have clubs, and you should be happy to defend.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A K Q J
 5 4 3 2
 J 10 9
♣ Q J
South West North East
1♣ Pass Pass
Dbl. Rdbl. 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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, September 6th, 2013

From the east to western Ind,
No jewel is like Rosalind.

William Shakespeare


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

♠K

Today's deal came up during one local segment of the Pakistan Bridge Federation's trials, held in Karachi a few years ago.

We all know that pre-emptive bids are designed to be obstructive by stealing bidding space from opponents, but they can backfire spectacularly, as here.

Against six diamonds West led the spade king. Declarer surveyed dummy and saw that life would have been easier had his diamond spots been just one jot stronger and North’s one weaker. He would then have had no problem in ridding dummy of its losing spades if he held the diamond eight and dummy the seven.

But given what he had to work with, he had little choice. Declarer quickly formed a plan that relied upon East’s cooperation. For the plan to work, East had to have at least two diamonds, one of them being the queen.

South took the lead in dummy, then smoothly cashed the diamond ace, hoping that he would catch East playing by rote. It would have taken great imagination on the part of East to divine South’s hand and jettison his diamond queen under the ace. After the diamond ace drew the two and three, declarer proceeded to cash dummy’s top cards in the rounded suits, then played a low diamond. In with the queen, East had no option but to give declarer access to hand with a club or heart, and the slam came home.


The opponents are surely about to bid or jump in spades. Do you want to encourage them or partner to do more bidding? While you are not overloaded with high cards, you can offer partner some ruffs. I'd guess it was right to raise clubs. If nonvulnerable, I'd make a pre-emptive raise to four clubs. Vulnerable, I'd simply raise to three clubs, or pass if my partner is an aggressive bidder.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9
 9 8 7 6 5 2
 Q 3
♣ 9 8 7 6
South West North East
1
Pass 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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.