Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

But far more numerous was the herd of such
Who think too little and who talk too much.

John Dryden


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

K

In today's deal, West may be strong but his honors are not put together well. While he has a maximum for a bid of two diamonds, a two-level overcall should show a decent hand. When the auction gets back to him at four spades, it would be very dangerous to act again.

Having said that, East has the right shape if not the high cards to consider bidding four no-trump over four spades to show the unbid suits.

Assuming West leads the diamond king against four spades, many declarers will put up the ace. East will ruff, and play a club through for a quick one down. South will claim to be unlucky, and probably no one will say anything more (unless North is the pedantic sort). However, a nitpicker in the North seat will tell declarer that it was ‘obvious’ that diamonds were 6-0; and even if they were not, what harm could it do to duck the first trick? Even if East had a diamond all along, with West on lead at the end of trick one, the best he can do is cash the club ace before dummy’s clubs go away.

Is that all there is to it? Not at all! East might leap to South’s defense and tell North that it would not have done declarer any good to duck the first trick, since East was planning to ruff his partner’s winner and find the club shift. After that, no one should have anything more to say.


You are far too good to pass now, but you do have a choice of calls. The question is whether to bid no-trump yourself (and if so, at which level), or to cue-bid three clubs and then follow up with a call of three no-trump to express doubt. Since three no-trump will surely play better from your partner's hand, I'd go for the cue-bid.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A J 6 5 4
 A K J 3
 9
♣ K 5 2
South West North East
1♣
1♠ Pass 2 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

I can't play bridge. I don't play tennis. All those things that people learn, and I admire, there hasn't seemed time for. But what there is time for is looking out the window.

Alice Munro


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

♣J

There was an element of Ping-Pong in today's deal, which cropped up in the later stages of a recent U.S. Teams Trials.

South’s two-club bid on the second round was a relay, setting up a forcing sequence. When South emphasized his spades rather than introducing his clubs, the second-best slam was reached. Six spades is not a hopeless spot, but it looks doomed because of the 6-2 heart break.

However, when West led the club jack, declarer won in dummy with the king. He then cashed the spade ace and king before leading a diamond from the dummy. East went in with the ace (perhaps expecting that West would have led a diamond from his actual holding) and declarer ruffed.

Now declarer had 12 tricks; but when he crossed to dummy’s heart king and played the diamond king, he did not yet know that clubs were breaking. So he discarded a club from his hand. Now when his attempt to ruff a heart in dummy was overruffed, he had to go one down.

Do you see where declarer went wrong? It was an error to play the diamond king when he did; he should have played the club ace first. If both opponents follow, he draws the last trump and concedes a club, later crossing to dummy with a club to discard a heart on the diamond king. However, if someone shows out on the club, he plays the heart ace and ruffs a heart before pitching a club on the diamond king.


Although it might be right to pass (your LHO could have a powerhouse and have missed game), the odds favor reopening the bidding. You have a simple choice: One no-trump shows a balanced 12-15 points, not the 15-17 points it would show in direct seat, while double is takeout. I'd go for the first option since I have a heart stopper that I think requires my hand to be declarer whether we end at a suit or no-trump.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 10 6
 K 9
 K 7 5 3
♣ K 9 6 5
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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.

Albert Einstein


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

♣10

Staying in control of dummy's entries would have been the key to success on today's deal. North correctly did not introduce his diamond suit at his first turn, and saw no reason to look any further than the no-trump slam when South showed a balanced hand.

Against six no-trump, West led the club 10, and declarer appreciated that he needed to bring in the diamond suit to make the slam. Of course, had dummy’s redundant spade jack been the diamond jack, the slam would have been foolproof.

South won the club lead with dummy’s king, then led a low diamond to his king. Returning to dummy in hearts, declarer played a second diamond. East smartly rose with the ace to return a heart, taking out dummy’s last entry. Although the diamonds could be set up after the queen dropped the jack, declarer needed a helicopter to reach the rest of the suit. One more option remained — the heart king might have dropped the jack — but when that failed, so did the slam.

South had allowed East to disrupt dummy’s entries. See the difference if declarer wins the first club in hand. Next comes a heart to dummy, for a diamond to the king. When that holds, a second heart to dummy is followed by another diamond, and now East is helpless. If he rises with the ace and returns a club, declarer wins in hand, cashes the diamond queen, collecting the jack, then a club to dummy’s king reunites him with the rest of the diamond suit.


Two diamonds is a Michaels cue-bid, showing 5-5 in the majors, suggesting a hand in the range of 9-13, the hand strength depending a little on the vulnerability. With nearly all your values in the majors, you have enough to invite game — after all, facing A-Q-fifth of spades and K-J-fifth of hearts, you have a decent play for game. So bid three spades and let partner make the final decision.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 10 7
 A Q
 10 9 8 6 4
♣ K 6 2
South West North East
1 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, May 19th, 2014

Youth will be served, every dog has his day, and mine has been a fine one.

George Borrow


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

3

Today's deal comes from last year's world junior championships, featuring interesting problems in both rooms from the match between England and China. In the first room West opened one diamond and North made a light takeout double. East raised to two diamonds and South doubled for takeout. When North bid three clubs, South continued with three spades, and North raised to game. This was a poor contract, which duly went one down on a diamond lead.

In the other room, West also opened one diamond, but here the English pair handled the bidding better, and Tom Paske (South) became declarer in three no-trump on the auction shown.

On a diamond lead, declarer put up dummy’s jack and East covered with the queen. Declarer ducked the first diamond and won the next round, the opponents’ carding suggesting that diamonds were 4-4. Given East’s silence in the auction, declarer laid down the club ace, and when the jack dropped, he could drive out the king and later take the spade finesse. Three spades, three clubs, two hearts and one diamond added up to nine tricks and 12 IMPs to England.

In isolation, the right play in clubs for three tricks is to take two finesses, but in light of the bidding, South’s play was clearly right since West had opened the bidding and East had already shown up with the diamond queen. With only 15 points missing, it was almost certain that West had the club king.


Tempting as it is to lead the singleton in partner's suit, you have a natural trump trick and really do not need a ruff. If you have listened carefully to the auction, it is more likely that you have the heart ace and king to cash, to go with your near-certain spade trick. Even if partner has the heart queen, not the ace, a heart lead will surely be best.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 10 2
 K J 6 4
 10
♣ 8 7 6 5 3
South West North East
2 4♠
Pass 5♣ Pass 5
Pass 5♠ 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, May 18th, 2014

When no suit has been agreed and there is the possibility of a small slam, what is the best meaning to attach to a call of four no-trump? I thought an ace-asking bid could only be used if a fit has been found. Or is it for straight aces?

Star Watcher, Grand Forks, N.D.

When you are investigating a slam at no-trump, four no-trump is not normally played as Blackwood, but is instead used as a quantitative bid, asking partner to bid on if maximum and pass if minimum. The logic of this is that even if you hold the requisite number of aces needed for a slam, it is the combined high-card points that really matters at no-trump.

I was not sure what to rebid when holding ♠ Q-6,  A-J,  9-5-3-2, ♣ A-Q-6-3-2. I opened one club, heard a one-spade overcall, over which my partner bid two hearts. Can you compare the merits of rebidding two no-trump with such a weak stopper vs. raising hearts or repeating clubs?

Pick-Me-Up, Pottsville, Pa.

I think the simple raise to three hearts is best, your support equating to a three-card holding, in that it allows your partner to explore for no-trump with a cue-bid of three spades, getting you to three no-trump the right way up. Repeating the clubs is also sensible enough. I'm not brave enough to rebid no-trump without a nudge from my partner.

I had heard that some of the world's leading financiers play bridge. Is this true? And if so, do any of them play in the major events?

Star Hunter, Houston, Texas

Bill Gates plays occasionally in national events, while two of Bear Stearns' former senior executives, Jimmy Cayne and Warren Spector, are keen and expert players. Finally, Warren Buffett is a highly enthusiastic player, who frequently participates in Omaha regional events. Nick Nickell is the strongest and most successful of the chief executives.

Can the unusual no-trump be used after opponents have opened one no-trump? I thought it was only after an opening of one of a suit by the opposition.

The Unusual Suspect, Madison, Wis.

It makes sense for the call of two no-trump to be assigned some artificial meaning over a no-trump opening, whatever the range, since you hardly need it as natural. It used to be played to show a game-forcing two-suiter, with any two suits. However, many people these days play it to show the minors, and have other systemic bids to show the remaining two-suiters.

We play the fourth-suit as forcing to game, but until yesterday had never discussed how opener should bid when fourth suit has been doubled. Our sequence began 1  – 1 ♠ – 2 ♣ – 2  – (Dbl.). Does redouble now promise a stop, or show real length?

Number Cruncher, Memphis, Miss.

Redouble here should be an attempt to play — suggesting three cards to an honor, or a four-card suit. Bidding two no-trump might show a very strong doubleton such as ace-king or ace-queen. Playing this way lets you pass with a less clear-cut action, and wait for partner to make his natural call or redouble — which would also be a suggestion of a place to play.


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, May 17th, 2014

You have no control over what the other guy does. You only have control over what you do.

A.J. Kitt


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

*12-14

♠10

In this deal from the Yeh Bros. there were two leads to trouble South's three no-trump. Tony Nunn of Australia led a top spade against Hiroki Kaku's three no-trump. Declarer won in dummy to lead a heart to the jack and queen. Nunn shifted to a diamond to the nine and Sartaj Hans' 10, ducked by declarer, who also ducked the next diamond.

Now a spade came back, so declarer ran the spade and diamond winners. This forced West to discard a club, after which declarer played three rounds of clubs to throw West in, forced to lead hearts into the tenace. (Note that had Hans tried the ruse of false-carding with the diamond queen on the first round of the suit, declarer might have won the trick — and been sunk without a trace).

At another table, where North was declarer in three no-trump, Peter Newell of New Zealand led the diamond queen, ducked all around. After a spade shift, declarer Shen Jiaxing won in dummy and finessed in clubs, then led a heart to the 10 and queen. Martin Reid as West returned a diamond, and declarer took it, cashed all the spades, (East discarding a heart, West a club) then exited with a third diamond to East.

If Newell cashed his last diamond, declarer would discard a heart from dummy and catch West in a simple squeeze. If East did not cash his diamond, but exited with either a heart or a club, Reid would be thrown in with that suit a trick later, to concede an extra trick in the other suit.


Your partner must have a powerhouse (though at the moment you do not know if it is based on diamond support). Your first priority would be to bid three no-trump if you could. Since you cannot, and have already denied four spades, you can bid three spades now, suggesting honor-third in that suit. Partner will tell you where he is headed at his next turn.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

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

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, May 16th, 2014

One must be something to be able to do something.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


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

*Spades

**Takeout; hearts and a minor

♠7

Today's deal from the match between Sweden and Italy in the Yeh Bros. Cup shows both sides using unconventional bidding methods. Antonio Sementa's double of the spade-showing one-heart call showed hearts and a minor. Had he simply held hearts, he would have bid two hearts. His partner Giorgio Duboin now drove to game, doubling for takeout at his next turn to speak, and then, when confident that he was facing short spades, forced his partner to pick a minor at the five-level.

Sementa received a spade lead against five diamonds, and took an uncharacteristically long time to play to trick two, seeing the problems with late entries to his own hand. Eventually, he led a trump to dummy to run the heart queen. West, Fredrik Nystrom, won and also took his time before playing ace and another diamond.

Declarer won this in hand, passed the club jack, covered all around, finessed in hearts, then set up the hearts by ruffing with dummy’s last trump. Now he ruffed a spade back to hand, cashed his long heart, and finally took the second club finesse for his 11th trick. Even the ranks of Tuscany could scarce forbear to cheer.

Yes, the cards did not lie unfavorably, but it was up to Sementa to take advantage of the position. In the other room South played four hearts on repeated spade leads, and the defenders could set up a force to defeat that contract.


The range for a call of one no-trump goes from 8-13 points, though you may upgrade a minimum opening bid to a call of two no-trump with a decent stopper and a source of tricks. This hand is emphatically one that you should not upgrade. You can see that it will prove hard to develop the spade suit, and your lack of intermediates argues for caution. One no-trump is more than enough.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A
 A 10 7 5 4
 Q 8 6 5
♣ J 6 5
South West North East
1 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, May 15th, 2014

Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.

David Hume


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

♠6

At the Yeh Bros. tournament last May, this was the first board of the second half of the knockout match between The Netherlands and Australia Youth. The Australian juniors are one of the strongest young teams in the world, and although they lost to the then world champions, they were not disgraced.

For the Dutch, Ricco van Prooijen, West, led the spade six against Liam Milne’s three-no-trump contract, the seven winning in dummy. Next, Milne led a club to the queen and king (yes, setting up spade or heart tricks might have been a perfectly reasonable alternative) and now van Prooijen switched to the heart king. What, you may ask, was he thinking? Well, you will have to wait and see.

In retrospect it might have been better to duck this trick, but Milne made the natural play when he took the trick with his ace and led a spade. Van Prooijen took his ace and switched to the club 10, Louk Verhees overtaking with the jack. Milne ducked, so Verhees continued with the club nine to dummy’s ace, pinning declarer’s eight, and setting up his seven. Now the foresight of the heart king shift revealed itself. Verhees had a club winner ready to cash, and, because of van Prooijen’s earlier play, had the heart queen as an entry to cash it. Maybe this is why Milne should have ducked the heart king and taken the finesse for the queen later, but that is a lot easier to see with a view of all 52 cards.


For better or worse, I would play pass here as prepared to play two hearts redoubled, so I must bid with this hand. However, rather than pick a minor and guess unluckily, the best option is to bid two no-trump, which is a way to show a two-suited hand in clubs and diamonds since you would bid spades if you could, or a minor if you had a single-suit. So this asks partner to take his pick of the minors.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

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, May 14th, 2014

There are more ways of killing a cat than choking it with cream.

Charles Kingsley


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

♣4

Today's deal from last year's Yeh Bros. Cup tournament in Yokohama features Bauke Muller of the Netherlands, who was given the equivalent of a knighthood last year. He is the only Dutch player to have played on both their world-title winning teams, in 1993 and 2012.

Here he declared six spades on the lead of the club four, East-West playing third from even and low from an odd number. He drew trump, ending in hand, then took a diamond finesse. When the defenders won and continued clubs, West followed with the club two — confirming an original four-card suit. Now declarer ruffed out the hearts and trumped a club. In the three-card ending, Muller knew East had begun with three spades, two hearts, and four clubs, so he could successfully finesse against the diamond 10. But had West concealed the club two, the count might have been far harder to confirm.

Paul Hackett of England also played slam here, from the North seat, on a trump lead. He won in hand and went to the club ace to take a losing diamond finesse. Back came a trump (yes, a club would be better) so Hackett won and played three rounds of hearts, ruffing in dummy. Then he played the last trump, followed by the diamond jack and a diamond to the ace. Now he cashed the last trump, and both defenders were squeezed. With East guarding diamonds and West guarding hearts, neither could keep a second club. So declarer scored the club eight for his 12th trick.


On this auction, the two- heart call shows no extras at all. Your partner would make this call on any hand with four hearts, even the barest minimum opening. You should bid four hearts — but it should not surprise you that your partner is more likely to go down in game than make 12 tricks.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A Q 9 8
 K 9 8 3
 A Q 4
♣ 10 3
South West North East
1♣ 1
Dbl. 2 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: Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

The play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas caviar to the general.

William Shakespeare


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

*Minors

♣J

Today's deal comes from the round-robin of the Yeh Bros. teams championships, which was held in Yokohama this time last year.

Included in the field were the then current Bermuda Bowl world champions from the Netherlands, who went on to win the event in fine style, defeating the top Italian team in the finals. Here are the Dutch at work.

With both tables in the same contract of three spades, Shakespeare had it right when he said “The play’s the thing.” The defense started the same way in both rooms, with a club lead from West to East, who took his three top clubs. In the Closed Room the Japanese West discarded a discouraging heart, and East got off play with a trump. Declarer Simon de Wijs won in hand with the king, drew a second round of trump with the queen, then played on hearts and claimed nine tricks for plus140 since he had a spade entry to allow him to discard a diamond loser on dummy’s heart winner.

In the Open Room Ricco van Prooijen also led the club jack and continued the suit, Louk Verhees also cashing a third round of clubs. But van Prooijen, who could see the possibility of discards coming, thoughtfully ruffed his partner’s winner and led the diamond jack, ducked to the ace. Now declarer led the heart 10 from hand and passed it to East’s ace, but Verhees saw his five defensive winners. After taking his heart ace, he cashed the diamond king for down one, and 5 IMPs.


Had the opponents not overcalled, you would have bid two clubs yourself, as Drury, to show a maximum pass with heart support. Now your choice is to make a simple raise to two hearts, or to make a cue-bid raise to three clubs to show a limit raise in hearts. Facing a third-in-hand opening bid, the former course is wiser. Partner can always make a try, knowing you may have pulled in a notch.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 7 2
 K J 5
 Q 8 3 2
♣ 6 4 3
South West North East
Pass 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.