Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, October 20th, 2013

My wife and I belong to three rubber bridge groups and we enjoy reading your bridge column in the Dallas Morning News. In every group most of the people say they don’t focus on the bidding in your articles as opposed to the play because it is from world tournaments where they have many special bidding conventions we don’t use. Have you considered changing the auctions in such instances?

Bob and Carol, Sparta, Wis.

I apologize for aiming over people’s heads some of the time. I hope that isn’t the case on every deal. When the experts bid a hand playing largely natural methods I normally quote their auctions. So when a gadget comes up, I normally leave it in – or explain it, in case it will prove useful one day! But I recognize your point and will try to do better…

What is the logic behind the lead style that is sometimes described as third-and-fifth or as third-and-low? Is it better or just different from fourth-highest leads?

Spotty Muldoon, Durham, N.C.

The rationale behind third and lowest leads (the methods only differ in what one leads from a six-card suit) is that you lead low from an odd number and high from an even number, and thus hope to be able to differentiate holdings that are one card different. Normally the auction will allow you to judge whether a four-card or six-card holding in your partner's hand is more likely. The method has a slight edge over fourth-highest, where you often have difficulty telling a four-card holding apart from either a three- or a five-card holding.

After I opened one club, I made a limit raise of three spades to my partner's response of one spade with ♠ Q-7-4-2,  A-Q-4,  A-J-3, ♣ K-Q-3. My partner told me I should have bid four spades instead. What do you think?

Flat Broke, Staten Island, N.Y.

I strongly agree with your choice. With a balanced 18-19 points one normally bids four of partner's major, but here you took off a point for the balanced shape, and I agree with your action. Imagine that partner has as good a hand as four spades to the ace-king and three cards in each of the other suits. You might go two down in three spades!

Recently I was in fourth chair and held ♠ 10-5,  A-Q-6-2,  A-4-3, ♣ Q-6-4-3 and reopened when my opponents had bid unopposed: one spade – one no-trump – two diamonds – two spades. Was I wrong to balance — and would it have been acceptable to balance with this hand in the pass-out seat?

Lady Day, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Most people balance too little, not too much. On this hand, however, it was dangerous to reopen because the opponents had not announced a real fit and your LHO could still have a very good hand. But it could easily have been right to bid if the opponents had come to a stop in two spades, or if they had definitely located an eight-card spade fit.

I know how negative doubles work, but can you comment on how to cope with an opponent's delayed entry into the auction?-Our side began one club – one spade – one no-trump, and then an opponent overcalled either two clubs or two diamonds. Would a double here be negative or takeout?

Warning: Intruder, Grenada, Miss.

Few partnerships discuss this sequence in advance. I can see both sides of the case, but I'd say if your partner has rebid one no-trump (and thus defined his hand relatively precisely), then a double is penalty. In all other cases your double is cards, leaving it up to partner to decide what to do.


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, October 19th, 2013

There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?

Woody Allen


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

10

Against your contract of four spades West leads the heart 10, East overtaking with the jack and continuing with the heart ace, which you ruff, as West follows with the six. How do you plan to insure your contract?

If spades and diamonds are both 3-2 you could make 12 tricks. However, as you are in four spades it will pay you to focus your attention to the possibility that either one or both of these suits could be 4-1.

After ruffing the second heart, you should play a diamond to the ace, followed by a trump to the king. Next you ruff a low diamond with the jack, setting up the suit against a possible 4-1 break. Even if a defender shows out on this trick, the diamonds are now established — but how do you get back to hand to run the suit?

The answer is relatively simple, when you think about it. You must overtake dummy’s bare trump queen with the ace to return to your hand and run the diamonds without forcing yourself. These plays have given the defenders at least one natural trump trick — indeed on today’s lie of the cards East has two trump tricks now. But in return you have retained control of the trump suit.

When you run the diamonds, East will ruff in and play a heart. However, you simply trump and continue the avalanche of diamonds. All you will lose is two spade tricks and one heart.


This hand falls into the gray area between a simple heart raise and a cuebid raise to three diamonds (remember, a jump to three hearts is shapely and weak). On this hand despite the singleton in the opponent's suit my bad trumps suggest going low, so I'd simply raise to two hearts. But if my partner had overcalled in spades I'd upvalue my hand and take the more aggressive position.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q J 5
 8 5 2
 A
♣ K 10 8 5 4 2
South West North East
1 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: Friday, October 18th, 2013

'It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' the Queen remarked.

Lewis Carroll


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

♣8

Transport yourself back in time, to play four spades, after an idiosyncratic auction, with 1954 Bermuda Bowl Champion Doug Steen in the East seat. West leads the club eight, which places East with the club ace and West with virtually all of the other high cards. You play low from dummy and Steen inserts the jack. Play on.

The original declarer drew trumps in three rounds and led a club to the king, which Steen allowed to win. When Steen took the third round of clubs he then carefully shifted to a diamond, allowing his partner to set up two winners in the suit. Declarer could not reach his hand except by overtaking the trump eight with the nine — and that would have exhausted his trumps. So he had to lose three tricks in the red suits; down one.

Did you spot declarer’s mistake? After drawing two rounds of trumps with the ace and queen, he should have thought back to the bidding. West appeared to have a doubleton club, as East did not try for a ruff, so West’s most likely shape was 2=5=4=2 (he would not leap to game on a 14 or 15 point 5332 shape). Thus, after the second round of trumps, declarer should have played on clubs. East could hold up the club ace until the third round, but the trump king would be the entry to the established clubs. On this approach, declarer would have made four trumps, a diamond, four clubs and a red-suit ruff.


There are no good answers here. Partner has asked you to provide a spade stopper, club support, or show extra shape in your bid suits — but you have none of these. You could pretend the spade 10 was a spade stopper or that two small clubs represented support, but my choice would be to lie about having a fifth diamond and rebid three diamonds rather than repeat my hearts.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 10 3
 A Q J 8 3
 A Q J 5
♣ 8 3
South West North East
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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, October 17th, 2013

That we who live by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse.

Cecil Day-Lewis


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

3

In today's deal South drove to game by showing his two-suiter, then guessed to rebid four clubs rather than gamble out three no-trump, and was raised to five.

The defenders led two rounds of hearts, then East exited passively with a small diamond. Declarer won in hand cashed two top clubs, then crossed to the spade ace and took the club finesse and claimed the rest when diamonds behaved.

While East was telling his partner that there was nothing he could have done, West was wearily shaking his head in a successful effort to irritate East; can you see why?

There is a defense to five clubs, though it is hard to find. After winning two heart tricks, East can see that the main hope to defeat the contract is by winning a club trick. He should also realize that, given the chance, declarer will lead two rounds of clubs and find out East has the guarded club jack, then cross to dummy, and finesse the jack. To prevent this, East must shift to a spade at trick three and remove declarer’s side-entry to dummy before he finds out about the four-one club split. The bidding indicates the likelihood of South having solid diamonds (and shifting to a spade would not help declarer avoid a diamond loser if he has one).

Even if South were void in spades, and had 100 honors in trumps, it would take an iron nerve (or a peek) to finesse against the jack on the first round.


With three-card support for partner, you should simply raise to four clubs. Even though your partner did not relay with a call of two no-trump, you should play the bid of three clubs as natural and forcing. That being so, you can raise and let partner revert to spades if he sees fit.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A Q 8 4 3 2
 9 4
 9 5
♣ 8 7 2
South West North East
2♠ 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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

I notice that most of the men who tease me about my hair, don't have any.

Holland Taylor


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

3

When England play the Netherlands it is always an enjoyable encounter for both teams. The Dutch speak English as well as we do, and their exciting bidding makes for interesting auctions.

In Beijing the English Under-21 team faced the Netherlands in the round robin towards the end when England were securing their place in the top two and the Dutch were struggling to make it into the top eight.

On the deal below it was the English pair who created the swing, with a calculated risk in the bidding.

Ed Jones, sitting East for England, opened one diamond after two passes and the Dutch South, perhaps surprisingly, overcalled one no-trump. Tom Paske, West, made a disciplined pass, and North transferred to spades by bidding two hearts. When South completed the transfer by bidding two spades Tom sprang to life and doubled for take-out. East now had a tricky bid to make but he reasoned that his partner would not have four diamonds since he had not supported the suit, and that consequently his A-K-Q would pull their weight in defense. So he decided to pass the double, converting it into penalties.

Tom kicked off with a diamond, and after cashing three rounds Ed switched to the club jack, to the queen and king, and Tom returned a club. South could now draw trump (losing two tricks to Ed’s ace and 10 in the process) but he had nowhere to put his fourth club and ended up losing three diamonds, two clubs and two trumps for two down and 500 points to England. Since the other table had played peacefully in three diamonds and gone two down that was a good swing of 12 IMPs to England.


This is a forcing auction, and you can bid two spades over two hearts without showing any values, as opposed to spade length. Your partner may hope for more but he has no reason to expect it (though if you had bid three clubs here it would be a second negative, and you might take that call with five small spades).

BID WITH THE ACES

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

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

I am not a pessimist; to perceive evil where it exists is, in my opinion, a form of optimism.

Roberto Rossellini


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

*14-16

♣6

Plan the play in a team game if you declare three no-trump on the lead of the club six.

The only danger to your contract is if the clubs are 5-2. If the suit is 4-3, you should be able to survive almost any misguess. But if clubs are 5-2, there is a chance that you may lose four club tricks and the diamond ace. If you put in the club jack at the first trick, then, if East wins the trick with a doubleton queen or ace, he can simply return the suit. Now, whenever West has the diamond ace, he will get in and cash out his five winners.

Much better is to go up with the club king at trick one. Now, if East has the doubleton club queen, the defenders’ club holding is completely blocked, and declarer can set up the diamonds in comfort. But as the cards lie today, with East holding the doubleton club ace, this play would not succeed. East would capture the club king with the ace and set up the suit for his partner, so long as West overtakes the club nine on the second round.

The only way to be certain of avoiding that fate is to play low from dummy at trick one. Play it through and see for yourself. East can win the first club cheaply but cannot continue the suit effectively, and declarer has time to set up the diamonds.


In this auction it is not clear that three spades would be forcing — although maybe it should be, since with a limit raise you might have shown it at your first turn. Regardless, with no great slam potential facing a hand that cannot bid over three clubs, you might as well simply drive to four spades by bidding it directly.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A K 5
 Q J 3
 K J 9 8 2
♣ 7 3
South West North East
1♠ 2♣
2 3♣ 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: Monday, October 14th, 2013

Behold, I do not give lectures or a little charity,
When I give I give myself.

Walt Whitman


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

♠K

A few years ago a charity bridge event was held at Mosimann’s Restaurant in London in aid of the Variety Club. The total raised for the charity was £30,000.

On the morning of the event Zia Mahmood was sick and couldn’t play. His replacement, Nicola Smith filled in, and she and her partner won their section. The following slam caused her no problem. While the play should be straightforward, it floored a number of players.

Although South has only 10 high-card points, his hand is strong in distribution and well worth an opening bid. (A two diamond opening would be wildly misleading.) After that start, there would be no stopping North, and the final contract would be six diamonds after the obligatory use of Blackwood.

On a spade king lead, declarer needs to set up dummy’s hearts, using trumps as entries. The simplest line is to win the lead, play a trump to dummy and ruff a heart, play another trump to dummy and ruff another heart. Now ruff a spade and try the ace and king of hearts (discarding a spade and a club). If hearts break, declarer can claim the rest. On the actual layout declarer ruffs another heart, setting up dummy’s 10, which he can reach with a second spade ruff. The remaining heart winner allows declarer to discard a second club, and the slam is made without needing to guess which opponent holds the club ace.


The choice of leads is between the singleton diamond and a fourth highest heart. I'm going for the singleton lead — now the route to the target of four tricks is somewhat easier to predict, while finding partner with good hearts is not necessarily sufficient to beat the game.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 6 4
 J 8 5 4 2
 6
♣ A 7 6 4 3
South West North East
1 Pass 1♠
Pass 1 NT Pass 3♠
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, October 13th, 2013

Please give me a quick synopsis of the Michaels Cue-bid. Does it interact with the unusual no-trump?

Having a Fit, Galveston, Texas

The two conventions mesh well. A jump in no-trump always shows the two lower unbid suits, while a Michaels Cue-bid of a minor suggests both majors, and a cue-bid of a major shows the unbid major and one minor. Responder can ask for the minor with a call of two no-trump. With a powerhouse (the hand that would have been suitable for an old-fashioned cue-bid), start by doubling, then take further strong action.

I have always been a fan of penalty doubles when the opponents overcall. But all the people I play with tell me they are outdated. Are there still positions where penalty doubles are appropriate?

Lost Boy, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Clearly in the middle or at the end of the auction one often wants to double the opponents for penalty. Equally clearly, at your first turn to speak or when the opponents bid and raise a suit, double is normally takeout. Here are some exceptions: Double of a no-trump opening or overcall, or any double when your partner has opened or overcalled with a pre-emptive action and thus defined his hand very precisely, should be for penalty.

My partner accused me of cowardice here. Was he right? I held ♠ Q-10-4,  A-K-Q-10-7-3,  Q-4, ♣ J-4, and when my partner responded with a forcing one no-trump to my one-heart opening bid, I tried two hearts. He raised to three hearts — were my solid hearts enough reason to bid on? I passed and made 10 tricks when hearts split 3-3.

Forever Amber, Londonderry, N.H.

My view is that you do have enough to bid on. However, I would seriously consider bidding three no-trump now, rather than four hearts. After all, my hand is likely to play well enough in no-trump, given my source of quick tricks and soft values outside. Partner can always put us back to four hearts if he thinks it wise.

Many of the experts at my club play a convention referred to as Smolensk in response to an opening bid of one no-trump. I tried to find any details of it, but was unable to locate it. Please explain how it works.

Tattooed Lady, Vancouver, British Columbia

It is Smolen, not Smolensk — and the convention handles game-forcing hands with 5-4 in the majors, in response to a one- or two-no-trump opening, transferring declarership to the strong hand. With this pattern, you bid Stayman, then jump in your shorter major over a two-diamond response. This allows your partner to play three no-trump with no fit, or declare the 5-3 major fit from the stronger side, while making declarer the hand whose shape is unknown.

Playing social rubber bridge, I picked up ♠ J-10-4-2,  K-10,  K-9-2, ♣ K-10-8-3 and after a one-heart overcall of my partner's opening bid of one club, I doubled to show four spades. When my partner rebid two clubs, I raised to three, then heard my partner bid three diamonds. What would you expect that to show and what should I have done next?

Sucker Punch, Selma, Alaska

Your partner appears to be making a game-try based on length, so it feels right to bid three no-trump now. Consider that you might make game facing six clubs to the ace and the diamond ace and nothing else at all!


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, October 12th, 2013

Think? Why think! We have computers to do that for us.

Jean Rostand


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

3

Here is another example of how well computers can play, given the right circumstances. The computer known as GIB can generally find the best line when it understands the constraints imposed by the bidding.

Today’s deal comes from Deauville, in 1996. Herve Mouiel won the prize for the best-played hand here, declaring six no-trump on a spade lead. So how do you make two diamond tricks in your slam? You can play for a stiff honor somewhere, or a doubleton honor in either hand, but you may well have to guess which defender to play for shortage.

The chances of a 5-2 diamond break did not seem especially good, with both opponents having shown a long suit, so Mouiel played East for both diamond honors. Since he had opened a weak two with such a feeble suit, he rated to have some side-values. Mouiel cashed two spades, then all five hearts and both his clubs.

At this point dummy was left with a small spade and three diamonds, South had the master spade and three diamonds. West was irrelevant, and East had to come down to king-queen-third of diamonds and thus just one spade.

Now declarer played the spade king, stripping East of all but his three diamonds, and next led a diamond to the 10 to endplay him. Nicely done! At the other table, the French defender found the devastating lead of the diamond nine. GIB duplicated Mouiel’s line, but no one gave it a prize.


There is no point in trying to thread the needle by trying to stay out of game here. Your aces and fifth trump coupled with your builders in diamonds make this hand too good for an invitation. It is worth a straightforward jump to game.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

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

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 11th, 2013

Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough.

George Bernard Shaw


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

*Three-card heart support

♠K

In today's deal North's second-round double promised three-card heart support. When North decided to leap to game in hearts, you passed, despite knowing that you would have only a 4-3 trump fit. West begins with two top spades and East follows up the line to indicate a three-card suit. How do you plan to make 10 tricks?

If trumps are 3-3, then 10 tricks will be easy. If the trumps are 5-1 or West has four trumps, then there will be no way to make four hearts. So the crucial case is when East has four trumps, as here.

West, a passed hand, has the spade ace-king plus either the queen or the jack. So this makes East a heavy favorite to hold the club king. You should make a plan that will produce 10 tricks when East has four trumps, three spades, and the club king.

After ruffing the second spade in hand, you should draw two rounds of trump with the king and ace, then ruff another spade in hand with the trump jack. Next, you will play a diamond to dummy’s king, followed by the trump queen, and continue with your remaining diamond winners. What can East do? If he ruffs at any stage, he will have to lead away from the club king. If instead East discards on the diamonds, you will score just one club trick but four diamonds, again bringing you to a total of 10.


Facing a takeout double, I'd simply bid three clubs rather than two hearts, trusting my RHO to hold the suit he has bid. If he is an untrustworthy customer, maybe a two-heart call would expose his psych — my failure to double one heart limits the strength of the heart suit I can hold. I'm not keen on introducing the three-card spade suit if I can avoid it.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 4 2
 10 9 5 4
 8 2
♣ K 8 4 2
South West North East
1 Dbl. 1
Pass 2 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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.