Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 29th, 2014

I'm hopeful thou'lt recover once my dust,
And confident thoul’lt raise me with the just.

Marquis of Montrose


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

♠Q

In the 2008 World Championship finals, the first board of the last day saw England, the losing team, mount a big charge against Italy, to claw back to a tie in the match.

The Italian South heard his partner double four clubs for takeout, and removed the double to four diamonds, doubled by West. North then bid four hearts, again doubled by West, down 500. In the other room, our featured room, the Italian East opened only three clubs. This allowed the English to play three no-trump on the auction shown.

West led the spade queen, ducked, and continued with a small spade. The partnership’s conventional style of leading was consistent with pretty much any spade holding that included the king and queen, so declarer, Nick Sandqvist, went wrong here by putting in the 10. That lost to the jack, and East switched to his diamond. Declarer ducked, and West won, the defender’s third trick, and cleared the spades. Sandqvist appeared to be in trouble, but when he cashed the heart ace-king and East played the 10 and nine, he realized dummy’s Q-7 of hearts constituted a tenace over West’s J-6.

He cashed the club king and ace, forcing West to part with two diamonds, bringing him down to one spade, two hearts, and two diamonds. When he exited with the spade three, pitching his club loser, West had to win and choose between giving dummy three extra heart winners or declarer three extra diamond tricks.


The minimum requirements for a positive response to a two-club opener vary from partnership to partnership, but the more your response pre-empts partner from describing his hand, the better your suit should be. I would bid three diamonds if my club king were a sixth diamond, but not otherwise. It normally works best to temporize with two diamonds and let partner describe his hand.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 5 2
 8 5
 A J 7 5 2
♣ K 8 7
South West North East
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: Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.

David Starr Jordan


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

J

Deciding whether to win or duck the opening lead is often a delicate one.

Terence Reese in “Play These Hands With Me” has a classic example of deception in this area. Rather than try to improve on the master, I will give a précis of his comments on his play to three no-trump doubled after the lead of the heart jack.

Reese remarks that by ducking the lead he may gain a tempo, perhaps even a trick. The possibility was increased when East follows with the seven. Reese dropped the eight, hoping that West, missing the six, would construe the seven as encouragement. After some sighs and precautionary mutterings (designed to show that he suspects the trap), West duly followed up with a low heart.

I love that parenthetic aside! Now watch what happened after three more rounds of hearts. East felt obliged to keep four spades, so let go in total one diamond, one club and two spades. When Reese ducked a diamond, West won the jack and underled his clubs to East’s ace. Back came a spade and Reese carefully won in dummy to lead the last diamond. If East had flown with the king, he would have ducked, but when he played low, Reese took the ace and led another diamond. Either way he would establish his 13th diamond, and emerge with nine tricks.

Incidentally, at trick six, the defense had one more chance; East had to overtake the diamond jack with his king and unblock clubs.


This is the same auction as in today's deal, but the modern approach to responding to this double is to use direct three-level actions as invitational but not forcing. Thus you put all weak hands through a response of two no-trump. This acts as a puppet to three clubs, which you intend to pass. This is an extension of the convention known as Lebensohl. See here.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 6 2
 5 3
 10 6
♣ J 8 7 5 4 2
South West North East
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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one.

Moliere


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

K

Great Britain qualified through the European championships for the Bermuda Bowl three times in 15 years, and on all three occasions the event was played on something like home territory.

On the last of those three occasions the event was held in Killarney. Only one member of the team who qualified in 1981 (the earliest of the three) was still part of the team on that occasion. That was Tony Sowter, who for his sins was a long-time editor of a bridge magazine. Sowter was the hero on this hand, which won him an award for the best-played hand of the Cavendish team tournament in which it occurred.

His opponents were Zia Mahmood and Sam Lev, who on this occasion picked the wrong opponents to double. Zia led three rounds of hearts against the contract of four spades redoubled, and Sowter ruffed, giving Lev the long trumps.

Sowter now played the club ace and queen, ruffing in dummy when the king appeared, then simply played the spade ace and a second round of trumps. Lev put in the 10, and Sowter won and cashed one more club, as Lev had to follow.

When Sowter led another club, Lev ruffed, and now had to play a diamond.

Declarer could take the diamond queen and ace, pitching clubs from hand. At trick 12 the lead was in dummy for a trump coup: Sowter could lead a diamond from dummy and take the trump finesse for his contract, without having a trump to lead!


Hands with two aces and a 10-count should generally not be opened with a weak-two. (I might be prepared to make an exception in second seat vulnerable.) That is especially so when you have a hand so playable in both majors. Open one diamond, and while you might rebid two diamonds over one heart, you should be intending to raise one spade to two.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 7 2
 10 5 3
 A Q 9 6 4 3
♣ 6
South West North East
?      

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, August 26th, 2014

All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with someone else.

Mae West


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

♣K

At the Dyspeptics Club, some rubber players appear to regard it as bad bridge etiquette ever to appear to be thinking. As a consequence, when you are declarer, however elevated the level or challenging your prospects might be, the metaphorical car horns start blaring from the defenders if you should weigh up your prospects for more than the most minimal length of time.

Fortunately that was not a problem for South in today’s deal, since he has never been known to cater for any chances except the most obvious in nature. Declaring six hearts here, he won the opening club lead ,drew trump in two rounds, then cashed the spade ace, crossed to the heart queen, and finessed in spades, cavalierly conceding one down when the finesse lost.

While South was claiming bitterly that the only finesses that ever won were his opponents’, North took a look at his partner’s remaining cards and remarked that his complaints were as inaccurate as they were inappropriate — and that the cards had actually lain very well for him. Do you see what North meant?

Best play is to win the club lead, then take the heart ace and lead the heart jack to the queen. Then lead a diamond toward your jack. If East has a doubleton diamond honor or the diamond king-queen, as here, you have 12 tricks. Otherwise you would have to fall back on the spade finesse, but you have in the process significantly improved your chances to make your slam.


Since your partner must surely have a decent hand in high-cards, the question is whether he forgot to make a takeout double the round before, or has a trump stack, and West stepped out of line. I'm going to pass and either West or I will be taught a sharp lesson. Yes, partner might have a light takeout double — but East's initial pass argues against that.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 8 6 5
 7 2
 K Q 9
♣ 10 9 6 4
South West North East
Pass
Pass 2 Pass 3
Pass Pass 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, August 25th, 2014

The true price of anything you do is the amount of time you exchange for it.

Henry David Thoreau


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

*Intended as agreeing hearts

???

The cut and thrust of rubber bridge can be exciting – and when you’re playing for 10 cents a point, a fair sum of money can hinge on the play of a single card.

As an example, I’ll give you a long bidding sequence and an opening-lead problem. Put yourself in West’s shoes by simply looking at his 13 cards, and imagine what you might have done.

No doubt your partner knew what he was going to lead against seven clubs, but you have little clue as to what to choose against seven hearts. In practice, the hapless West chose a club, and as you can see from the full deal, declarer was soon claiming 13 tricks for 2470 points. A spade lead would have led to a penalty of 500 points — quite a significant swing.

The subsequent post-mortem was surprisingly good-natured, with West pointing out that perhaps East should have been happy with beating the grand slam and should not have been so greedy as to double. East retaliated by saying that he was trying to persuade them to run to seven no-trump where the penalty would be much larger. Or not, as the case might be.

Much credit must go to North, however, for realizing what was going on and removing himself to a contract that had a better chance than one where East was going to be on lead with an ace to cash.


With a blind lead, the biggest chance to generate tricks seems to be to lead the club queen. As well as being the unbid suit, this gives you a decent chance to promote a trump on the third round of clubs.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ J 7 3
 Q 8 5 2
 Q 6 4 2
♣ Q 4
South West North East
1 Pass 1
Pass 1♠ Pass 2
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, August 24th, 2014

My partner and I had an uncontested auction: 1  – 1  – 1 ♠ – 4 ♠. Now, holding ♠ A-Q-6-2,  —,  A-K-J-7-5-3, ♣ K-6-3, I expected to find a shapely hand with less than an opening bid, (maybe 4-6 in the majors) and passed. This was not a success as my partner actually had a 4-5-0-4 hand with both the king-jack of spades and the ace-jack of clubs. Did either of us do anything stupid?

In the Lurch, Elmira, N.Y.

On this auction the strong hand can reasonably assume facing a jump to game that there won't be two fast losers. Whether slam is good or not may depend on partner's fillers. If partner has shape but nonsolid hearts, slam may be horrible. Still — any hand with the spade king and two diamonds will offer play for slam, so I must admit I would bid it.

In second seat, after a pass on my right, I had ♠ 7,  K-J-10-6-5,  A-Q-5-3, ♣ K-10-9, and opened one heart. My LHO joined in with one spade, my partner raised to two hearts, and my RHO competed to two spades. It feels right to me to compete further — but is a call of three diamonds or three hearts correct here?

Moving On, Bristol, Va.

Three diamonds should deliver real extras in shape or high-cards since it is a game-try, and thus your partner is allowed to bid four hearts at his next turn. Meanwhile, since you really have only a competitive three-heart call, make that bid. Partner will know not to bid on here in further competition. Make your club nine the queen and you might easily make game opposite a couple of working high cards.

My partner and I have been discussing the idea of playing Mitchell Stayman after our minor-suit openings are overcalled with one no-trump. Do you play anything artificial here, and would you recommend this, or something like it?

Grampus, Richmond, Va.

For clarification for my readers: when partner's minor-suit opening bid is overcalled by a bid of one no-trump, a call of two clubs (or possibly two of the other minor) can be used as Stayman rather than a club raise. You lose the ability to play two clubs, but in turn get both majors into the picture. I would rate it as a mildly useful gadget, but it is not an essential tool. It is certainly not a good idea for those inclined to forget their system!

My partner opened one no-trump, and I transferred into hearts with a call of two diamonds, holding ♠ J-3,  Q-10-7-6-5,  9-5, ♣ A-J-4-3. This was doubled, and my partner passed. What should the pass mean — and what should I do now?

Lucky Luke, Kenosha, Wis.

Without the double, you might have thought about inviting to game with two no-trump. But partner's pass suggests only two hearts, and nothing about diamonds, except that a redouble would have been to play. That being so, you probably want to stay low and bid two hearts. I would use a redouble as a re-transfer here — but I would not recommend that in an untried partnership.

You have recently made the point on several occasions that, in competition, jump raises of partner's opening or overcall should be weaker rather than stronger, in terms of high cards. Can you clarify for me how many points you recommend playing the cue-bid to show?

Meter Maid, Sacramento, Calif.

A cue-bid guarantees the values for at least interest in game, and shows limit-raise values. Some nine-counts clearly qualify; equally, some 10-counts clearly don't. This applies to the cue-bid in response to an opening or an overcall. When in doubt, upvalue side aces and kings and devalue soft honors in the side-suits. Mentally add on for side-suit shortage; deduct for honors in the opponents' suits.


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, August 23rd, 2014

Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.

Francis Bacon


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

10

The final of the 1999 world junior championships saw Italy take an early lead against the US and hold on comfortably. Even the best US results got lost in the shuffle — as here, when Eric Greco found one of the best plays of the tournament, simply to hold his losses on the deal.

After the opening lead of the heart 10 against four spades, Greco rose with the king and ran the diamond 10. He won the heart return in dummy, and, after a lot of thought, passed the diamond nine.. The point of this play is that he was trying to set up the diamonds without letting East in. That approach would work well if hearts were 5-2, but very dangerous if hearts broke 4-3, since there might be a trump promotion on the 13th heart.

All was well, since Greco had read the cards correctly, and West had no heart to lead when he took the second diamond. West exited with a club, and declarer ruffed, cashed the top spades, then led the fourth diamond to pitch dummy’s heart loser and make his contract.

Alas for the US, four spades doubled was allowed to make in the Closed Room. The first three tricks started the same way, but declarer then came to hand with a top spade to lead the diamond ace. West forgot to unblock his other top diamond on this trick, so East could not get in to cash the hearts. Now the play reverted back to Greco’s line.


Despite having your values in the suits other than partner's, you should give preference to three diamonds now, and not repeat no-trump. Notwithstanding your decent club and heart values, you may find your stoppers are unsatisfactory if you have to give up the lead a couple of times. Let partner advance beyond three diamonds with extras.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

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

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 22nd, 2014

We ought to feel deep cheerfulness that a happy
Providence kept it from being any worse.

Thomas Hardy


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

6

When Israel played Canada 15 years ago in the Round Robin of the World Junior teams in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, they played a set of virtually flawless bridge to eliminate Canada from the event. Consider the following board, where a potential Canada gain vanished.

In the other room, when Israel held the North-South cards, they had bid to one no-trump after mentioning all their long suits. This made in some comfort, of course. However, when Canada sat North-South on the auction shown, Darren Wolpert tried two no-trump as North, perhaps because his team needed a swing, Ben Zeidenberg raised to game. The diamond lead to the jack gave Zeidenberg the chance for an excellent play — and he took his best chance by ducking the jack. Back came a diamond, and West cashed his diamond winners — necessary, even though it set up a diamond trick for declarer — and this in turn allowed East to discard an encouraging club. Without that clue, it is not clear that West would have been able to decide between a club and a major suit at trick four. In the latter case, declarer would have collected nine tricks. However, West trusted his partner’s signal and shifted to a club. Now the defense had set up their fifth winner when East got on lead with the heart ace.

Well done, everyone — but one down and a small pickup to Israel instead of a big gain the other way.


This hand seems just a little too good for a jump to two spades (which is typically a hand with shape in the 12-14 range). This looks like a jump to three spades, since you want partner to bid game with anything approaching extras in the way of shape or high cards.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K Q 9 7
 K 2
 9 3
♣ A Q J 8 5
South West North East
1♣ 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Everyone has talent. What's rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads.

Erica Jong


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

♠4

The final of the World Junior Teams between the USA and Italy was a generally well-played match, though it ended in a comfortable win for the Italians. The following board turned out to be a victory for neither side, but it highlighted the difference between the "scientific" and the "practical" approach.

Both tables played three no-trump by South on a spade lead — not a great contract but no game is really any better. Tom Carmichael followed the best practical chance for his contract here by taking the spade, knocking out the club ace, and winning the spade return to run the clubs.

This reduced everybody down to seven cards, and would have squeezed a defender who held five spades, the heart king and three diamonds. But it did not work this time, since all West had to do was hold his spades, while East could let a spade go in comfort to retain the red-suit guards.

At the other table, Mario D’Avossa found the remarkable line of cashing both spades at the first two tricks before exiting with a club. This diabolical line works if the defense rectifies the count by cashing all their spades; now when declarer runs the clubs, East is squeezed in the red suits! But Willenken as West could see this coming. He did well to play the heart jack at trick four instead of cashing the spades. This defeated the hand, since East had a spade discard he could afford on the run of the clubs.


Your 10-count would be at the lower cusp of an invitational jump to two hearts, until your RHO devalued your hand still further. Now it sounds as if both your minor-suit holdings are grounds for pessimism. I would bid just one heart now, planning to compete further if the opportunity arose.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when it's the only one we have.

Emile Chartier


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

*Artificial limit raise in spades

♣6

Counting is one of the most important exercises at bridge, but sometimes you have to combine the exercise with a fair amount of inference and conjecture. Inferences may be drawn from what the opponents have or have not bid.

The 1999 World Junior Teams were held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the semifinal match between Israel and Italy, a match won comfortably by the latter, the eventual tournament winners, both tables made four spades, but the Italian declarer, Antonio Mallardi, had the tougher task.

He had reached four spades after the Israeli East had the chance to double an artificial club call. On a club lead to the ace, East found the accurate switch to the diamond jack, threatening to set up a winner for the defenders in that suit. Declarer won the diamond in hand and drew two rounds of trump. Now it looks to be a blind guess as to how to play the hearts, but there were inferences from the fact that West had led a low club that he did not have two of the top three honors in that suit. Since East, a passed hand, apparently had six decent clubs to the ace and queen, plus the diamond jack, he had no room for the heart ace or he would have opened the bidding. So Mallardi led a heart to dummy’s king for his 10th trick.

In the other room East had pre-empted in first chair so the heart guess was considerably easier to work out.


Although you have only a nine-count, your fifth trump and your fit for partner's suit suggest you are just worth a game-try of two spades. This is a help-suit game-try, asking partner to bid game with a maximum or with a suitable spade-holding. Partner should assume you have length but not strength in spades. You are closer to a bid of four hearts than to a pass.

BID WITH THE ACES

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