Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.

Benjamin Franklin


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

*Clubs, weak or strong

K

In today's deal from last year's Yeh Brothers Cup, the point was made that one should not pull a takeout double from fear alone. Particularly if both sides are vulnerable, the benefit of going plus may almost equal the cost of letting a doubled partscore make. If a few doubled contracts do not make, you probably are not doubling enough.

That said, the pain when you double the opponents into game and don’t defend accurately may be the critical factor that suggests caution in this area. And the following deal exhibits that theme nicely.

After Huub Bertens’ double of three clubs, Jack Zhao judged well not to run to three hearts. At this vulnerability he must have figured that he had every chance of a decent penalty. Right he was … in a sense.

The defenders cashed two spades and two diamonds, leaving West on play. At this point West was tempted to lead a high diamond to let East discard, but that turned out to be fatal. Either major suit would work to disrupt declarer’s entries and to prevent declarer from shortening himself.

On West’s top diamond play, East threw a spade, and declarer, Frankie Karwur, ruffed in hand, overtook a heart to run the club jack and 10 as East ducked. Then he ruffed another diamond to hand and went back to a top heart. With the lead in dummy he could score his club ace and queen, whatever the defense did.


You cannot bid no-trump without a heart stop, and a negative double almost guarantees four spades, so should be your choice only if nothing else seems attractive. I'd guess to bid two clubs, assuming partner will be able to bid no-trump, repeat diamonds, or raise clubs, any of which wouldn't disturb me.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 10 6
 7 6 4 3
 A 9
♣ K 7 4 2
South West North East
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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, April 23rd, 2012

The sober comfort, all the peace which springs
From the large aggregate of little things.

Hannah More


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

3

After you have been knocked out of the main event, will a Swiss Teams offer any consolation? Maybe yes, if the right deal comes along. Put yourself in East's seat, defending against six spades, which was played in last year's Yeh Brothers Cup.

When dummy comes down on partner’s lead of the diamond three, it would be easy to relax after winning the diamond ace and returning a low diamond.

Declarer ruffs high and starts to run six of his seven remaining trumps. Your partner, who began with hearts solid from the king down, discards one at every turn, while dummy discards diamonds, as do you.

In the six-card ending, you have kept two hearts, a diamond and three clubs to match dummy. On the penultimate trump, when dummy throws a club, what will you discard?

At the table Subhash Gupta’s opponent discarded a heart — and that was fatal. If you pitch a heart you leave partner controlling the hearts, so dummy’s second heart becomes a threat. Therefore when declarer cashes the heart ace and leads his last trump, West must keep one heart and thus come down to two clubs. Dummy pitches its last heart and you are squeezed between diamonds and clubs. If you had pitched a club earlier and kept your heart guard, your partner could have kept his clubs and pitched his hearts, leaving the suit to you. On the last trump, dummy must relinquish a guard in front of you, and you come under no further pressure.


There is a case that could be made for just about every lead. You could choose either red ace, hoping to find partner with a singleton in that suit, or go somewhat more passive with either black-suit lead. Of course, neither lead is exactly safe, so the question is whether a trump lead can accomplish anything except perhaps clear up a guess… I'd say no and would opt for a club instead.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 6
 A J 8 4 3
 A 9 4 3
♣ Q 10 3
South West North East
1
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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

We're taught to decide whether an unbalanced hand is worth a two-club opening if the hand is within a trick of game. This suggests that a minor-suit hand should be one trick stronger in playing strength than a major-suit hand. Does this make sense? Should we require a bit more with unbalanced minor-suit hands?

Wrong Number, Clarksburg, Ontario

I do tend to open a minor on some single-suited strong hands — but if you have no rebid over any of the expected one-level responses, open two clubs and hope to get by. Also, with 4-5 or 4-6 in diamonds and a major, you can (by agreement) open two clubs and then jump in your major to show this hand. If you have clubs and a major, responder has three diamonds available as a second negative bid, so you don't need an artificial sequence.

My partner opened one no-trump in second chair with ♠ Q-9-5,  A-4,  K-Q-8, ♣ K-J-5-3-2. When the next hand overcalled two hearts, I doubled. Should this be penalty or takeout? If it is a question of agreement, what do you recommend?

Human Error, Staten Island, N.Y.

I suggest that for exactly the same reason that you play negative doubles when an opponent intervenes over a suit, you also play takeout doubles from both sides when your one no-trump is overcalled. The reason is simply that you will be short in their suit far more often than you will have length. That said, a call of three clubs looks normal here.

I understand that the purpose of shuffling is to achieve a new arrangement of the cards; hence, a new game problem. One thorough shuffle would do that. I would recommend no less than two. Where do the experts stand?

Lucky Larry, Novato, Calif.

Many authorities say that given how inefficiently people shuffle, the MINIMUM acceptable number might be as high as seven. Apparently eight perfect shuffles return the cards to their original state — but who can shuffle perfectly?

My partner opened one heart, and I was third to speak with ♠ J-6-2,  J-10-4,  A-J-5, ♣ K-8-6-4. What are the merits of a making a simple raise, as opposed to going directly to three hearts or offering jump support via a forcing no-trump?

Eager Beaver, Nashville, Tenn.

This is maximum for a raise to two hearts, but I'd have no problem with the simple raise without the heart 10, where the scattered values and unsupported jacks aren't really pulling their full weight. As it is, I could live with the jump raise via the forcing no-trump, but would still settle for the more pessimistic route.

Recently you ran this unopposed auction: one spade – two diamonds – two hearts – three clubs – four hearts. Since responder never supported either of opener's suits during the bidding, how will opener know which suit would be trumps if responder uses Blackwood?

Name That Trump Suit, Lorain, Ohio

Hearts (the last-bid suit) will be trump here. Curiously, it does seem hard for responder to set spades as trump, but he would have been able to set spades as trump in a game-forcing manner (if playing two-over-one) at his previous turn.


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, April 21st, 2012

All good things which exist are the fruits of originality.

John Stuart Mill


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

♣A

Today's declarer in six spades was entitled to claim he was unlucky. He ruffed the opening lead of a club and led a high trump from hand. The 5-0 trump break made him open his eyes wide. He switched his attention to diamonds, hoping three rounds might stand up if East had the length. No luck there: East ruffed the third diamond and exited with a heart. Declarer still thought he might come close to making his contract if the heart finesse succeeded, but when it lost, he was struggling to escape for down one.

The swing on this deal was especially expensive since his opponents had stayed out of slam in the other room. Can you see what declarer might have done, even against the foul trump break?

It is a lot easier to see when you are looking at all four hands, but if your objective is to take 12 tricks rather than 13, surely the only thing you have to worry about is a bad trump break. It then makes a lot of sense to duck the first trick, discarding a heart from hand rather than ruffing in.

West does best to shift to a diamond, which you win in hand to lead a spade to the board. Now when West discards, you lead a spade back to the 10, cross to a top diamond, and play a spade to the nine. After drawing trump, you have 12 tricks: a club, a heart and five winners in each of the other suits.


When playing negative doubles, you typically reopen when short in the opponents' suit, hoping that partner can make a penalty double — here, against clubs. Given your club length, you know partner is weak, typically without diamond support. Accordingly, you must pass and hope the opponents are in the wrong spot.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 3 2
 8 4
 A K J 9 7
♣ K 7 6
South West North East
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: Friday, April 20th, 2012

What quiverings in the distance of what light
May not have lured him with high promises,
And then gone down?

Edwin Arlington Robinson


East 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
Pass
1♣ 1 1♠ Pass
1 NT* Pass 3 NT All pass

*15-17

4

When Poland defeated the U.S, squad in the Mindsports Olympiad four years ago, this was one of the bright spots for America.

In one room Jeff Meckstroth played three no-trump after opening one no-trump, hearing a transfer to spades, and then being offered a choice of games.

Meckstroth put up dummy’s heart king on the low-heart lead, played a club to hand and a spade to the queen, which held. He then cashed the clubs, noting the discard of a spade and a diamond from West. Then came the spade ace, the king dropping from West, who was next thrown in with a heart to be endplayed in diamonds. In the two-card ending, Meckstroth put up the diamond queen when West led the suit and made his game.

In the closed room the auction went as shown, with West’s overcall having indicated at least five hearts.

The attack was a low heart, which declarer, Krzysztof Martens, won in hand and continued with all four club tricks. Bob Hamman, appreciating what would happen in the endgame, made the thoughtful discards of two low diamonds, baring his king. Martens continued with the spade jack, covered by the king and ace. Next came the spade queen, and Martens, like Meckstroth, exited with a heart, expecting that Hamman would then be endplayed in diamonds. But after cashing his hearts, Hamman produced the spade nine: one down.


With a marginal hand over a pre-empt, you should tend to act with shortness and pass with length. While you would overcall one spade over one club, I'm not sure I would bid two spades over a weak two diamonds, and for sure I feel I'm a spade or a top honor short of bidding over a three-club pre-empt in direct seat. I might balance with this hand — but that's another story!

BID WITH THE ACES

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

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, April 19th, 2012

And I am right,
And you are right,
And all is right as right can be!

W.S. Gilbert


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

♠3

In today's deal you could argue that West might have bid four spades over four hearts, but West was not sure at this vulnerability what the size of the penalty might be. As it was, he passed, and North bid five hearts as a general try, focusing on spades more than anything else. South looked at his quick tricks and accepted the invitation. In this position one should pass with no control, and cue-bid five spades with the ace and anything but a dead minimum. You can use your discretion with a second-round control, typically bidding slam unless you are otherwise unsuitable.

Against six hearts, when the spade three was led to the jack and 10, East insulted declarer by trying to cash the spade ace, perhaps not seeing the downside of this move.

South was quick to put him right. He ruffed the second spade high, and now it was an easy matter to cross to dummy with a trump and lead the spade queen to pin the nine and establish the eight for a discard.

Of course if the spade nine had not fallen, declarer would have been reduced to taking the club finesse for his contract, and today would not have been his lucky day.

Had the spade nine and eight been switched, declarer could have husbanded the entries to dummy and have brought about this position for himself without any help from the defenders after the opening lead.


You are by no means minimum for the auction and your singleton diamond suggests that your partner will find four hearts easier than three no-trump. So up and bid the heart game and don't hang back. Your shape should help partner ruff out diamonds or set up clubs for discards.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 8 7 2
 A 8 5
 2
♣ J 9 8 6 2
South West North East
1 1 1♠
2 Pass 2 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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Conscience is the inner voice which warns us somebody may be looking.

H.L. Mencken


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

♠2

An avoidance play is declarer's attempt to deny one opponent the lead. This could be because we fear a shift from one opponent but not the other, or equally, as in today's deal, one opponent has winners to cash.

Look at the play today in three no-trump, remembering that your target is to take nine tricks, not 10!

West obediently leads a spade. As declarer, you must duck the first two spades to cut the defenders’ communications. You win the third spade and should work out that you only need four diamond tricks for the contract, but you must keep East off play if he has four diamonds. To do that, you do not mind investing an overtrick.

You cross to dummy by leading a low heart to the 10. Now comes a diamond toward your hand. If East plays low, you insert the eight and have achieved your target of bringing in the diamond suit safely.

If East divines your intention and inserts the 10 on the first diamond, you take the trick in hand and lead a heart to the queen. Then you repeat the process in diamonds, planning again to lead low to your eight, finessing against East’s jack. This insures that you make nine tricks, since if West has a second diamond, the suit must be splitting for you, and you can overtake your remaining diamond honor with the ace and run the suit.


Your choice is an invitational three diamonds – you have too much for a simple two diamond call, or a call in no-trump. You have too much for a one no-trump bid and not quite enough for a call of two no-trump, though it is close. Since three no-trump is more likely to make than five diamonds perhaps the small overbid in no-trump is best.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 6 3
 A Q 10
 A 7 5 4 2
♣ 5 4 2
South West North East
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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

The outcome of any serious research can only be to make two questions grow where only one grew before.

Thorstein Veblen


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

♣A

In today's deal from a charity game in honor of Arthur Loeb to benefit the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, how do you find out scientifically whether you want to be in slam?

Once hearts are set as trump, North can ask for key-cards (the four aces and the trump queen). If the response is zero or three, or one or four, the cheapest step asks for the trump queen; the response in the trump suit denies it, and a bid in any other suit promises it. If the responder has two key cards, the immediate response either shows or denies the trump queen.

Today, however, slam has two chances, the first being to find the trump queen, the second to discard North’s clubs on declarer’s spades. On a non-spade lead such as the diamond jack, you should cash the heart ace and unblock both spade honors. Only then do you lead a heart to the king, trying to cash South’s spade winners to pitch dummy’s clubs.

However, at a few tables where keycard Blackwood was not in use, West led the club ace against six hearts, and now the diamond jack shift went to the ace, eight and six.

How to play the trump suit now? After the ace and a small heart sees East follow twice, the old adage is “Eight ever, nine never.” However, East’s play of the diamond eight was surely significant, suggesting shortage. Since West appeared to have many more diamonds than East, the heart finesse was the odds-on play, and declarer duly took it to make his slam.


You may look at this 16-count and assume you have extra values. But in a sense, with your doubleton spade honors not pulling their full weight, you have really nothing to spare in high-cards, and certainly nothing extra in terms of shape. Pass two hearts, and be happy to stay low.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

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

Let us be moral. Let us contemplate existence.

Charles Dickens


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

♠K

How do you plan to make four hearts after West leads the spade king?

The nub of this problem is that you want to avoid losing three diamond tricks, but surely West is the favorite to have the diamond ace.

Your first step is to duck the first round of spades, then win the spade ace, and draw trump in three rounds. Next you cash the club ace, king and queen.

Now lead dummy’s remaining spade and discard a low diamond, forcing West to win the trick. A diamond return gives you a trick with the diamond king, while a spade exit lets you ruff in dummy and discard a second diamond from hand. Thus you will lose only two spades and a diamond, making the contract.

And what would happen if East had followed to the third spade? If he had followed small, you would still discard a diamond from hand to force West to win the trick. If East was clearly going to win the trick (say West had a 5-2-3-3 pattern), you ruff the spade and exit with a low diamond from hand. For the defense to stand a chance, East must win the trick and play a third diamond. Now you put up the king, succeeding whenever the diamond finesse succeeds or West wins the ace but has no diamonds left.

Notice that if you hadn’t ducked the first trick, East could have gained the lead in spades, whereupon the obvious diamond shift would scuttle the contract.


The opening lead here is more about temperament than anything else. Some prefer to go passive and not give up a trick; others go for instant gratification by leading a diamond in the hope of cashing out or setting up that suit. Put my vote in with the diamond leaders; but don't ask me to justify it.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 5 3
 7 4 2
 K 9 5 3
♣ A J 4
South West North East
1♣ Pass 1♠
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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

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

Recently I opened one club and my LHO overcalled two spades, which was passed out, going down two or three tricks. My partner said that because we were playing negative doubles, I was forced to bid. Since I had a minimum opener and flat distribution (two spades, three hearts and four cards in each minor), I could envision many hands where forcing partner to bid at the three-level would be disastrous. Any comments?

Sellout, Dodge City, Kan.

You are NOT forced to reopen, but typically will do so even if minimum IF you have shortage in their suit. So with two small spades I might reopen here, but with the doubleton spade king I'd expect partner not to have the penalty double, so might let two spades go. Then again, I might still bid with anything approaching extra values. Color me hyperaggressive.

We had a recent key-card auction with hearts as the agreed suit and could not locate the trump queen accurately. Can you recommend a pattern of responses after the queen ask? Should any bid other than a bid of the agreed suit promise the queen?

Queen for a Day, Atlanta, Ga.

After the response of the first or second step (whichever way you play these) here are the simplest set of responses possible to the step one relay for the queen – though remember that five of the trump suit by the inquirer implies too many keycards are missing. In response, the lowest level of the trump suit says 'No trump queen'. If you have it, but no king, bid six of the trump suit but if you have the trump queen and additional kings, cue-bid the cheapest king you have.

I play rubber bridge with a group and after a strong two spade opening, responder answered four spades with this hand: ♠ J-10-4-2,  9-4-3-2,  A-7-5-4, ♣ 4. I thought her hand was strong hand opposite a strong two-bid and thought she should bid three spades. She contended it was the right bid because it only made 11 tricks.

Monday-Morning Quarterback, Fremont, Calif.

You are right that a jump to four spades DENIES an ace. Even with a minimum hand, such as this one, you had bette do something else. Here, a jump to four clubs would show a singleton club and a spade raise, but perhaps a slightly better hand than this. (For sure, that would be fine with the heart queen in addition.)

When might you play a genuine line as opposed to playing for a defensive error?

Larkspur, Panama City, Fla.

I hate to give up on a genuine line by playing for nothing but a slip on defense. However, if I can see a line of play that I might fall for myself were I in the defender's shoes, I'd give it a whirl. Quite often a pressure line (making someone decide whether to take an honor or duck it) has far better chances than the percentages associated with the play.

My partner held ♠ J-10-9-4,  K-Q-8-3,  Q-4, ♣ Q-J-4 and heard me open two no-trump. He used Stayman and got a three-spade response. Now he found what I thought was quite an intelligent bid when he jumped to five spades. I thought I should bid slam since I had four spades to the ace-king, but the finesse lost and we also had an ace to lose. Was there a better route?

Inspector Gadget, Worcester, Mass.

One sensible agreement to have in this sequence is that a bid of four hearts over three spades shows the values for a slam-try in spades with four trump. Even this action is not an underbid, given the lack of trump honors and controls. However, this will let opener decide whether he is slam-suitable, in which case he can ask for aces and find out the right level to play at, or sign off in four spades.


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.