Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

'Oh! Love,' they said, 'is King of Kings,
And Triumph is his Crown.
Earth fades in flame before his wings,
And Sun and Moon bow down.’

Rupert Brooke


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

*transfer to spades

**super-accept

Q

Today's deal from the 2011 Lederer requires no skill in the play, since I am confident every reader of my column would find a way to take 13 tricks. But bidding to the grand slam is another matter. Let's take a look at the sole pair who not only managed it, but found their way to seven no-trump

There is a bit of a myth that Zia Mahmood is a law unto himself in the auction, but he showed that he could bid constructively on this hand. However, it was David Gold’s judgment that made it all possible. The opening no-trump showed 15-17, but the aces and kings, coupled with the two four-card suits and the builders in the long-suits mean that this was an accurate assessment of the hand’s true worth.

When Zia transferred to spades, Gold re-evaluated his hand, breaking the transfer with a jump to three spades. He did have another sequence to show a suitable hand for spades with a maximum in high-cards, so he was limited by failing to do that.

After two cuebids, Zia bid Roman Keycard Blackwood for spades, finding the two missing aces, then asked for specific kings that had not been previously cued. East (who had already showed the diamond king) now showed the heart king, and Zia thought he could count six spades, three hearts, two diamonds and two clubs, and indeed was able to claim the grand slam when spades broke 2-1. This won the pair the award for the best-bid hand.


There is no need to commit the hand to four spades yet. Three no-trump, or even a part-score, may be the highest scoring spot. Start with a two -diamond cuebid to show a spade raise. You can always bid game later when you have found out more about the hand.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 10 8 2
 K 7
 K 8 3
♣ A 10 8 5
South West North East
1 1♠ Dbl.
?      

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, August 27th, 2012

When the hurlyburly's done,
When the battle’s lost and won….

William Shakespeare


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

*three-card spade raise

6

At last year's Lederer tournament, Nicola Smith and Sally Brock demonstrated the form that has won them three world titles as partners or teammates. And they needed all their experience to break the seemingly impregnable slam reached in today's deal by Norwegian Thomas Charlsen.

North’s two-club call was an artificial game-force, and two no-trump showed a three-card spade raise. This was followed by Key Card Blackwood to reach the good spade slam. Nicola led the heart six, consistent with her actual holding, but also consistent with an original holding of J-7-6, J-8-7-6 or J-8-7-6-2. Sally defended well by false-carding with the queen when dummy played low, and Charlsen took his normal line in spades of low to the ace, followed by the running of the jack, so that he could pick up Q-(9)-x-x with East.

When Smith won her spade queen, she continued with the heart seven, and Charlsen decided to believe the opponents rather than playing to establish diamonds with one ruff. When he put in the heart nine, it was all over, and an unbeatable slam had been defeated.

Some commentators on Bridge Base thought Nicola would not lead from the heart jack against a slam, but when you look, you will see that the defenders have all four queens, so they might well have been pushed to find a safe lead. They had to lead some suit after all, and J-x-x-(x) might well have been the least evil. This defense earned Nicola and Sally the award for the best-defended hand.


On an auction of this sort, where declarer may well have a void, leading an ace looks like a bad idea. A trump looks safe enough; I might choose the seven for deceptive purposes in case partner has the bare queen, but there is very little to choose from among the small spot-cards.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 7 3
 J 7 4
 A 10 5
♣ 10 7 5 2
South West North East
Pass 1
Pass 3 Pass 6
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, August 26th, 2012

How do you feel about overcalling on a four-card suit? For example, if you held ♠ 3-2,  A-Q-10-7,  A-Q-7-2, ♣ J-10-4, would you consider overcalling one heart over an opening bid of one club or one diamond? If yes, would you feel the same way if the hand was somewhat weaker — say the diamond suit with the nine instead of the queen?

Short-Change Artist, Newark, N.J.

Overcalling on a good four-card suit with opening values makes sense only if you have a little extra shape on the side. In other words, don't do it with a 4-3-3-3 pattern. Your example looks like a reasonable one-heart overcall rather than one diamond.

What is the best use for Stayman in response to your partner's opening bid of one no-trump, followed by converting the response of a red suit to two spades? Should it be weak, strong or invitational?

A Bid for All Seasons, Springfield, Mass.

I think it is unrewarding to use the sequence as weak with both majors and longer spades. (Transfer to spades with that hand.) And with game-forcing hands you can start with a transfer rather than Stayman. However, a difficult hand to describe is one that is unbalanced and invitational with five spades (either a 5-4-3-1 or 5-5 pattern). So that is what I use the sequence for.

When you double an opening bid and the next hand redoubles, is your partner's pass for penalty? I would have thought so if the suit opened was a potentially short minor, but if that is not the case, how does the doubler rescue himself when he has one good suit and one weak one? For example, after one diamond is doubled and redoubled, what should the doubler do at his next turn with: ♠ A-Q-3-2,  10-7-4-3,  Q-9, ♣ A-K-10?

Panic-Stricken, San Francisco, Calif.

I believe the pass is best played as "nothing to say," not for penalties. As the doubler, your responsibility is to show quantity, not quality. Here bid one heart and rely on your partner to remove if he cannot stand the contract. Just for the record, your partner should always bid the cheapest rescue suit himself if he has four cards in it — in this case by bidding one heart over the redouble, which is not lead-directing.

In our private game we had the two hands below and had to try to reach the best spot. What would you have recommended? The dealer had ♠ A-K-J-10,  A-Q-7-5-4,  A-K-Q-J, ♣ –; the responder held ♠ 9-8-3-2,  J,  9-2, ♣ A-Q-J-8-5-3.

Best Fit Forward, Miami, Fla.

I think I'd respond three clubs to the two club opening bid. Now the strong hand bids hearts, the weak hand spades, and the strong hand jumps to five no-trump. This last call is the grand slam force: "Tell me how many trump honors you have!" After the response to show zero, the partnership comes to a stop in six spades.

I have been following the junior tournaments from around the world on BBO and I haven't seen the U.S. players do well recently. Are there any encouraging signs for the future?

Looking Forward, Twin Falls, Idaho

There are always good individuals; we sometimes have to rely on organizers to put them together and train them — no easy task. I note, though, that in countries where bridge is part of the curriculum or has Olympic training schemes in place — especially Israel and Poland — results have been stellar in the last decade. Perhaps we need to work harder to match this!


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, August 25th, 2012

There is nothing stable in the world; uproars your only music.

John Keats


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

K

At last year's Lederer Invitational Teams, held in London, two Souths reached the pushy four hearts doubled. Each defending pair had a chance to defeat the game, but both fell at a late hurdle.

Against John Salisbury, West led the diamond king. Declarer won and exited with the club queen, won by East, who naturally enough led the diamond jack. Salisbury covered, and West had to discard to beat the contract. When he ruffed and exited with a club, Salisbury could ruff and run the heart queen, covered with the king and ace. Now South had just enough entries to establish the long club and play to ruff a diamond to dummy. Then he could cash the winning clubs to dispose of his losing spades for plus-590.

At another table, after the same first two tricks, East, David Burn, did extremely well by winning his club ace and shifting to the spade five instead of leading the diamond jack. Now declarer, Zia Mahmood, knew that the spade finesse was hopeless, so he put in the eight. West won with the nine, and now exited with a spade, fatally, giving declarer 10 tricks. A club would have been equally unsuccessful here — West gets endplayed, forced to lead a spade or allow the long club to be developed. However, West did have an escape, albeit one that is very hard to find at the table. He could have exited with a small heart, playing his partner for the trump nine, after which declarer has no way home.


Your partner has shown a powerful hand with his cuebid. Since you virtually denied a four-card major with your first bid, you can bid two hearts now to show your values and your three-card suit. This will let your partner know where you live and he can tell you whether he has one major, both majors, or club support.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 7 4
 A 5 2
 7 6 4
♣ K 7 5 4 3
South West North East
1 Dbl. 1 NT
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: Friday, August 24th, 2012

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so….

John Donne


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

*12-14

8

Today's deal comes from the Premier League, a domestic competition in the UK that is used to select the international team. The heroine is the late Michelle Brunner, who died last year. Ironically, Brunner had been co-opted herself as a substitute to the Hackett team after the sudden and unexpected death of John Armstrong.

The auction to four spades was competitive, and a minor-suit lead would have set this contract, but West led his singleton heart — a reasonable choice. Careful play and accurate timing was needed to emerge with 10 tricks, and Michelle Brunner was well up to the task.

Correctly spurning the free finesse because of the entry problems to the South hand, she accurately rose with dummy’s heart ace, then drew trumps to remove the ruffing danger. Next came the finesse of the heart seven, followed by the heart king. It might look natural to discard a club loser from dummy. However, it was critical to pitch a diamond rather than a club from the board. Now came the heart jack, and Brunner ran this to East’s queen, pitching another diamond from dummy. This established the heart 10, to take care of the club loser in due course.

When East was in with the heart queen, he could cash two but not three diamond tricks. Five spades, four hearts, plus the club ace — the entry to the fourth heart — added up to declarer’s requisite 10 tricks. Very well played.


Your partner's three-diamond cuebid shows extras and should initially be asking for a diamond stop. Presumably, he has a good hand, either with a single-suiter in clubs or some degree of heart support. With your extras, you just want your partner to pick the best game now, and the easiest way to do that is to bid four diamonds and abide by his decision of a final contract.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q J 7
 K J 10 9 2
 J 9 4
♣ A 3
South West North East
1 2♣ 2
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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

… that it were possible
To undo things done; to call back yesterday!

Thomas Heywood


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

♠A

When deciding which opponent to play for length in a particular suit, you need to consider how you might recover from a wrong guess beyond simply playing the probabilities.

Against today’s three-no-trump contract, one West led ace and another spade, ducked by East. Declarer played a club to East, who continued with the king and a fourth spade. Declarer discarded two hearts from dummy and now had to guess diamonds for his contract. He started by playing the king (on which East carefully played the eight), and when he followed with the ace, he had to go one down.

In the other room, where the contract was doubled, the defense started with three rounds of spades (dummy discarding a heart). Declarer won and played a club, which East again won to clear the spades, dummy discarding a club. On the spades West had discarded two clubs.

Declarer could assume from the double that West held hearts guarded. So it was possible that he had his actual shape, though he might have fewer clubs and four diamonds.

However, declarer could see that if he played East for four diamonds, it wouldn’t matter if he was wrong. He cashed the heart ace, then played the diamond ace and a diamond to the queen. When West showed out, it was simple to pick up East’s jack. But suppose East had shown out. Declarer would simply have played his top hearts and exited with a heart. West now must return a diamond, giving declarer his trick back.


You do not want to jump to four hearts here; your hand has plenty of slam potential. The best way to show that is to cuebid two diamonds, then bid your hearts. If your partner bypasses hearts, you will show five when you bid the suit at your next turn.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 6
 K Q 9 7 3
 Q 10 9 5
♣ K J
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: Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

They must conquer or die who've no retreat.

John Gay


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

10

A first look at West's hand might suggest that South is in deep trouble in his four-spade contract. However, provided declarer is careful, he can overcome even this terrible trump break!

West leads the heart 10, overtaken by East with the jack to play the heart king.

As long as declarer discards a diamond, the defenders can take only one more trick, a trump.

On a diamond shift, declarer wins the ace, draws one round of trumps, then plays on clubs. West can ruff the third round but dummy’s trump six will take care of a heart exit. If at trick three East plays a third round of hearts instead of shifting, South discards a second diamond and ruffs in dummy. Next, he draws five rounds of trumps, then plays on clubs. As West no longer has a heart left, he makes his long trump, but then has to return a diamond. Declarer makes five trumps in hand, a heart ruff in dummy, the diamond ace and three clubs. Note that if declarer ruffs the second heart, the contract fails, as it allows the defense to make a heart and either three trumps or two trumps and a diamond.

The only risk of discarding a diamond is a club ruff, but that is a highly unlikely risk, particularly since East did not follow with his lowest heart on the opening lead — which he would have done had he wanted the ruff.


It is all too easy to raise or jump in diamonds and end up defending against a spade contract on a diamond lead. Your partner doesn't know about your source of tricks, but you can tell him right now. As a passed hand, your jump to four clubs should show a diamond fit and a source of tricks in clubs. That may help your partner decide whether to bid on, or what to lead if he ends up on defense.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 6 2
 6 4
 K 8 7 4
♣ A K 6 5 4
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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

It had been easy fighting in some plain,
Where Victory might hang in equal choice.
But all resistance against her is vain,
Who has th’ advantage both of Eyes and Voice.

Andrew Marvell


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

♣K

Today's deal comes from an internet game where South did not take full advantage of his extra chance.

After South’s one-no-trump rebid, a jump to three diamonds by North would have been merely invitational, so North jumped in the fourth suit to hear more about South’s hand. When all he could do was reiterate his heart strength, North was happy to settle for three no-trump.

The defense was accurate. West started with three rounds of clubs, East pitching a small heart, then switched to a spade. Declarer won and cleared diamonds, giving West a chance to discard a small heart to deny interest there too. On winning his diamond jack, East astutely played back a spade rather than a heart, hoping his partner would have a spade stopper. And so it proved: Locked in dummy, declarer had to concede the fifth trick to West.

It looks as if declarer needed either spades or diamonds to break, and with neither suit cooperating, he is destined to fail. However, there was an extra chance. When declarer finds that diamonds don’t break, he should cash a second top spade before giving East his diamond trick. Now, when East wins this trick, he has no more spades to play. He must therefore lead a heart, allowing declarer access to the winners in his own hand as well as to those in dummy, since South still has a spade left to reach all of dummy’s winners.


With no fit and no great spade stopper, there is a case for going low and bidding just one no-trump, which normally has an upper limit of 10HCP. The alternative is to bid two clubs and hope you can get to game if partner produces a spade honor. The first route looks simpler and more realistic to me.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 10 9 8 2
 Q 5 2
 10 8
♣ A K Q 3
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, August 20th, 2012

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.

Oscar Wilde


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

♣10

Because the opening bid of two no-trump promised 20-21 points, North had an easy raise to the small slam in no-trump. How do you plan to make 12 tricks after West leads the club 10?

You have 11 immediate winners along with the possibility of a winning finesse in spades, hearts or diamonds. While those who never get a two-way finesse wrong will have no problem, the rest of us have to find a plan that avoids guessing which finesse to take.

The secret is to win the club ace and cash the three remaining club honors. Next you should lead a spade from dummy, intending to cover East’s card cheaply. Suppose he plays the four, then your spade eight will force West’s queen and you will have 12 tricks immediately. Even if West were able to win the trick with the spade 10 or nine, he would then have to lead into one of your tenaces. Your 12th trick would then come in whichever suit he chose to return.

You may ask “What would happen if East played the spade 10 or nine?” Well, the spade jack would be taken by the queen, and the A-K-8 would then be good for three tricks if West chooses to get off play in spades. As a red-suit return would also cost a trick, you would still be certain of making 12 tricks.

The consequence is that this simple plan of covering the spade that East plays on the first round of the suit guarantees 12 tricks no matter how the cards lie.


All options are unattractive. A club lead is perhaps the least likely to cost a trick, but I have a sneaking hankering for leading the ace of hearts, in the hope that at least I may know what I should have done after seeing dummy. But I'll settle for the club as less likely to arouse partner's ire if I'm wrong. Without the queens on the side, I might have yielded to temptation.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 8 2
 A Q 3
 Q 5 2
♣ J 8 4 2
South West North East
Pass 1 NT
Pass 3 NT 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, August 19th, 2012

What is the minimum required to reopen over a bid of one of a minor when you hold relative shortness in the opponent's suit? Recently, with ♠ 9-8-3,  A-Q-7-4,  A-10-9-7, ♣ 10-5, I doubled a one-club call when it came around to me in balancing seat. My partner drove to three no-trump with a balanced 12-count and a double club stopper — down one. He claimed I should have passed one club out as I was too weak to bid.

Rough Justice, Holland, Mich.

Your partner was dead wrong. With short clubs you must reopen with anything approaching these values. Your partner can invite game — which is all he is worth — with a call of two no-trump: problem solved.

As a club tournament director, I am bedeviled by slow players. How can I get them to speed up? I do not want to penalize them, but what choice do I have?

Aunt Bee, Elmira, N. Y.

When the round is called, you should prevent anyone from playing a board that they have not yet started. Let them play it at the end of the event if they have time and both sides want to do so. If not, give both sides an average. Other than that, you have very few ways to speed up laggards other than standing over them and cracking your knuckles — or a whip.

My partner opened one club, and I raised to two with ♠ A-7-4,  Q-9-7,  A-10, ♣ Q-6-4-3-2. This was an inverted raise, a one-round force, but not forcing to game. My partner now bid two diamonds. What is the best way to go forward?

Simple Simon, Portland, Ore.

I think you have enough to go to game, but jumping to three no-trump sounds premature to me. Since two no-trump would be nonforcing, I think a simple call of two hearts would be sufficient, suggesting a heart stopper and leaving partner room to explore. You plan to bid three no-trump at your next turn.

Do you like the idea, on opening lead or in midhand, of leading nines, 10s and jacks from specific sequences (either to promise or deny a higher honor)?

Jack Denies, Bellevue, Wash.

Bob Hamman and I did not play nines and 10s at trick one because, without seeing dummy, we did not want to give declarer information that might be critical. However, in midhand there is an excellent argument to be made for playing them. The point is that you can always false-card if you want — the sight of dummy should tell you.

One partnership at our local club plays Precision, using their two-no-trump opening bid to show both minors. How should we defend against that action?

Minor Injuries, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Double the call to show a strong no-trump or better, and bid three of a minor to show both majors with better hearts or spades respectively. If your partner passes and the next hand bids three clubs, use three diamonds as takeout, double as balanced. On all other sequences, use the first double as takeout, subsequent doubles as defensive.


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.