Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 29th, 2014

The dust of exploded beliefs may make a fine sunset.

Geoffrey Madan


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

4

When South rebids to show the values for a weak no-trump, he is raised to game. Your opening lead of the heart four goes to the jack, five, and queen. Now declarer plays a club to the king and a club back to his 10 and your jack. Where do you go for honey?

Declarer is playing a tricky game, but that is no reason for you to fall into his trap. Ignore that heart queen; partner’s heart five at the first trick cannot be indicating his attitude. Both defenders know that his failure to beat dummy’s card means he doesn’t like the suit. So he is giving you count, and the five is therefore clearly a singleton or the start of an echo with the doubleton 5-2. Therefore, you cannot safely continue the attack on hearts.

What you need to do is to find partner with the spade ace, so that he can play a heart through for you. To make his life easy, shift to the spade nine, just in case partner is tempted to win the spade ace and continue the attack on spades (which might be the right defense if you had four spades to an honor). So long as East takes his spade ace and reverts to hearts, declarer’s fate will be sealed.

A defender should signal attitude unless dummy wins the trick with the jack or lower. At that point, your primary signal becomes count; your secondary signal is suit preference.


A diamond lead looks less likely to cost a trick (or set up a suit for declarer) than a spade. I would be much more tempted to try to promote a trump trick for my side with a significant trump card such as jack-third or 10-third. But here, if declarer also has a doubleton club, my trumps are highly likely to be irrelevant.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ K 8 7 6
 8 7 4
 K J 9 4
♣ J 2
South West North East
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, September 28th, 2014

Occasionally I see discussions on whether there is a need for responder to find out more about opener's hand-type, when the latter opens in a minor, then raises responder's major-suit to the two-level. The objective might be both to define range and the number of trumps held in support. I imagine, as someone who advocates the liberal use of three-card raises, that you would concur.

Mister Bluesky, Union City, Tenn.

It is possible to use the first available step by responder after opener's simple raise of a major as a relay. Equally, though, simply playing new suits as forcing, promising game-invitational values or better, with two no-trump as natural and nonforcing, makes equal sense. And it is certainly easier to remember.

How valuable is a five-card suit facing a no-trump opening? When should one add on a point for it, in deciding whether to invite, pass, or drive to game?

Doubting Thomas, Midland, Mich.

You can simply add on a point for any five-card suit headed by a top honor in counting your points facing a no-trump opening. Conversely, mentally devalue honors in short suits; and if you transfer and partner simply completes the transfer, when in doubt, pass rather than inviting. Never do less than invite with nine points, but be careful of inviting with eight till you have found a fit, and maybe not even then.

How should I play the jump to three no-trump facing a major-suit opening bid? If it shows a balanced hand, should it promise or deny three trumps?

Skipped Class, Cartersville, Ga.

I'd advocate playing it as nonforcing, 14-16, with two-card support for partner. If you had three trumps, then you should have a double guard in all of the side-suits. If playing Jacoby two no-trump, then you will need to bid two of a minor with 12-13 points. A sensible alternative, however, is to play it as showing a good pre-emptive raise to four of partner's major. That lets the jump to four of the major be a weak freak with no slam interest.

I was faced with a sequence where I did not know what to do. I held ♠ Q-5,  K-Q-8-5,  9-6-4-2, ♣ J-3-2. My LHO opened one diamond, my partner overcalled one spade, and my RHO doubled, negative. My LHO rebid two clubs, passed back to me. Do I have the values or trump support to bid two spades here? It worked very badly in practice.

Unbalanced, Edmonton, Alberta

You had the right idea with your two-spade call here. This suggests scattered values but uninspiring spade support. With better spades you would have raised directly, and with more points you would have bid one no-trump at your previous turn. The problem is that sometimes one bids this way with three small trumps and less than the values for a direct raise. Partner may have to guess which you have.

When you open one spade with ♠ A-Q-9-5-2,  Q-5,  K-J-9-4, ♣ 9-6, what are you supposed to do when you hear a two-club overcall, passed back to you? The choice seems to be to bid two diamonds, double for takeout, or pass, playing partner to be weak. As a separate issue, what are the ethical implications of acting after partner has paused, or passing after your RHO has taken time over his action?

No Way Out, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

You must not take any advantage of information conveyed to you by your partner's tempo or demeanor. You may at your own risk draw inferences from your opponents' behavior. And they are not permitted to deliberately mislead you. On your actual hand all three actions make sense here, but if my RHO paused, I would definitely pass, and would surely feel ethically constrained to do so if my partner had broken tempo to suggest values.


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, September 27th, 2014

Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack.

Sun Tzu


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

7

At the world championships in Bali last September, this board was critical in both the women's semifinal match between Netherlands and USA II and also the match between Polish students and Gordon in the Transnational. Both American teams desperately needed a good result, and got one.

The USA women were allowed to make three no-trump when West led the diamond queen and followed with the king, and East did not overtake.

Meanwhile Gordon declared two spades at one table, and defended four spades after the auction shown here, on West’s heart lead. Apparently, after East had pre-empted to three hearts, North-South had had a disagreement about the meaning of South’s double. When Michael Seamon led his singleton heart, declarer won in hand and crossed to a top club to lead the spade jack. Had East made the normal play of ducking, declarer would have been able to complete the drawing of trumps and come to 10 tricks via the club finesse. But Jacek Pszczola covered the spade jack with his queen; declarer could draw a second trump with the 10, but now could not cross back to hand without running into a heart ruff, after which the defenders could set up the hearts and cash out the diamonds, taking a club ruff to boot.

Declarer’s best chance would have been to crash the spade honors to draw three rounds of trumps, but the bad club break would now have held him to nine tricks.


Your partner redoubled to announce ownership of the hand and suggested that he was looking for penalties. You have the perfect hand with which to double two spades — you have a remarkably good trump holding, a side-suit singleton, and an ace on the side. If partner has what he has promised, this will get gory.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 6 2
 Q J 10 8 3 2
 A 7 2
♣ 4
South West North East
2 Dbl. Rdbl. 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.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, September 26th, 2014

I love those who yearn for the impossible.

Johann von Goethe


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

*Balanced, clubs, or 18 plus

**Strong, with heart fit

♣K

Cezary Balicki of Poland is well known not only for his declarer skills, but also for his astute table presence. Both of those attributes came to the fore on the very first deal from a match in the qualifying stages of last September's Bermuda Bowl in Bali.

After Balicki’s one-heart response, West had shown some interest in the bidding by asking about the meaning of the bid.

The defense against four hearts started with three rounds of clubs, attempting to weaken declarer’s trump holding. Balicki ruffed this in hand and made the first critical move toward reaching 10 tricks by advancing the heart jack. This was covered by the king and ace. Now it would have been very straightforward to draw a second round of trumps, but Balicki suspected the bad trump break. Instead, he cashed the diamond ace and two top spades, then took a spade ruff in the closed hand. West overruffed with the eight and played a fourth club as his final attempt to weaken declarer’s trumps. Balicki found the riposte when he ruffed with the three in dummy and overruffed with the seven in hand. Then he cashed the king and queen of diamonds, discarding both of dummy’s spades, and made the contract via a trump coup when he led another diamond and overruffed West’s heart at trick 12.

For the record, you must not deliberately mislead the opponents. Equally, you must ignore your partner’s mannerisms. But any inference you draw from your opponent’s demeanor is legitimate, if entirely at your own risk.


Although you cannot be sure you have enough high cards to make game here, it feels right to use Stayman and try to locate a spade fit. If worst comes to worst, bid three no-trump over an unfavorable response and hope for the best.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

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

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

For, those that fly, may fight again,
Which he can never do that’s slain.

Robert Burns


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

K

In the round-robin match from the world championships in Bali last year, this deal proved too much for most declarers.

While the French women had stopped in the small slam, Asli Acar for Turkey played in seven spades. She ruffed the heart lead in hand and cashed all but one of the trumps. That left dummy with two hearts, a club and three diamonds, and West with three diamonds and three clubs. Acar now played ace and another diamond and, after some thought, went up with the king, took a club pitch on the heart ace, then finessed clubs for down one.

Clearly, declarer could have succeeded by taking the diamond finesse. However, even better is to win the heart ace at trick one, pitching the club jack from hand. Now she plays all the trumps and keeps three diamonds and a heart in dummy, facing the diamond A-4 and club A-Q. East will be known to hold the heart guard, so declarer simply cashes the club ace at trick 10, which, as it happens, drops West’s bare king.

But if East had retained the guarded king, she would be known to have come down to a singleton diamond, so now declarer plays the diamond ace, then takes the diamond finesse. If East has the diamond guard and West the club king, the contract fails — but then it was always going to fail. Meanwhile, this line succeeds whenever East has the club king or West has both minor-suit guards.


The auction suggests your partner has only three spades, since the opponents appear to have eight between them. So you should compete to three diamonds, assuming that your partner will deliver at least three-card support for you. Since both sides appear to have some sort of double fit, competing to the three-level may be justified.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 5
 A 5 3
 K J 9 3 2
♣ 5 3 2
South West North East
1♣ Dbl. 1♠
2 2♠ Pass Pass
?      

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

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 24rd, 2014

There is no fool like a careless gambler who starts taking victory for granted.

Hunter S. Thompson


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

♣3

At the World Championships last September, USA had two teams — the women's open and seniors categories. The experienced USA1 women's squad coasted to a high qualifying position in the round-robin phase of the Venice Cup. On this deal from the early stages of the event, Kerri Sanborn showed that, like Yogi, she is smarter than the average bear.

Her four-spade contract would have been defeated immediately on a diamond lead. However, just as in the other room, East had intervened with a call of three clubs, so West led the club three. Sanborn won the ace and cashed the ace and king of spades to find the bad news.

In the other room, after the top spades the Swedish declarer continued with a heart to the jack, then two more rounds of hearts. West could see the diamond discard coming on the fourth heart, so had no problem in ruffing and returning a low diamond for one down.

Sanborn, however, found a much stronger line. She went after hearts by leading the ace and king, then a low one. It seemed to West that her partner was about to win the queen, so she failed to ruff. The heart jack won the trick in dummy, a club ruff put Sanborn back in hand, and the heart queen was played for a diamond discard. There were now only two diamonds to be lost, and the vulnerable game was home for a big swing to the U.S. team.


Your partner has extras in both high-cards and shape. (With a 5-4 pattern and a good hand, he might have doubled one spade rather than bid diamonds himself.) I'm not sure if a jump to four diamonds is enough, but it gets the basic nature of your hand across — and will let you pass partner's rebid of four hearts happily.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 7 6
 7 5
 K Q 8 6 4
♣ 10 4 3
South West North East
Pass
Pass 1♣ 1 Pass
Pass 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: Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

The miserable have no other medicine
But only hope.

William Shakespeare


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

*Fit for hearts

2

At the Senior World Championships in Bali last September, the Scots qualified for the knockout stages in their first-ever world championship appearance. But they came off second best in this deal against Belgium, where Guy Polet was up to the challenge in four spades doubled.

The opening lead was a heart to the jack and ace, ruffed by declarer. Polet next led a diamond to the ace and a club to the queen and king. West then played the queen of diamonds around to South’s king. South now advanced a low club from hand, and West, after some thought, played low, letting East in. He returned the heart 10 to the king in dummy, declarer discarding a club. Declarer had lost two clubs so far, and knew he had one more loser in diamonds. He was faced with the need to pick up spades for no losers.

At this point, declarer had to choose between finding the singleton king of spades with East or the singleton jack with West. Given East’s double of four spades, it was not really a guess at all. Polet led the spade queen from the dummy, and when the jack fell, he was home. He could repeat the finesse against the spade king, draw the last trump, then give up a diamond. The diamond 10 was the game-going trick.

Exciting stuff — particularly when you learn that in the other room the hand was passed out! Just for the record, Scotland won the match anyway, despite the loss here.


Partner has slam interest and it is not up to you to disbelieve him. You should simply cue-bid four diamonds and leave it up to your partner to take it from there. There is an argument for using a call of three spades as a help-suit bid rather than a cue-bid, but either way your hand is suitable for slam purposes.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 10 5 4
 K J 8 6
 A 9 5
♣ 9 3
South West North East
1 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: Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.

Winston Churchill


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

♠K

This week's deals all come from the 2013 world championships in Bali, held exactly a year ago. Linda Cartner of the New Zealand Women's team had to defend perfectly to defeat the Indonesian women's contract of five hearts doubled in this deal from their round-robin match.

Glenis Palmer’s two-spade opening was weak, showing five spades and a four-card or longer minor, and Indonesia’s Lusje Bojoh had something to spare for her overcall of four hearts. Not surprisingly, when Cartner competed in four spades, Bojoh took the push to five hearts, promptly doubled by Cartner. The lead was the spade king, and declarer ruffed and took six rounds of hearts. In the six-card ending, Cartner came down to her master spade, both her diamond honors, and king-third of clubs. Meanwhile, dummy kept three clubs, a diamond and two spades. Declarer next played the club queen, and Cartner found the killing defense of ducking. If she wins, declarer can get to dummy’s long club and loses only one trick in each minor. Bojoh continued with ace and a third club, but Cartner could win and play the spade ace. Declarer had to ruff and lead away from the diamond king for one down, plus 100 to New Zealand.

Cartner had to come down to these exact six cards in the ending. If she throws a second club, she can no longer duck the club queen, while if she keeps three diamonds and no spade, she will have to lead diamonds for declarer after winning the third club.


Your partner obviously has decent values and relatively short hearts, but didn't come into the auction. There is therefore an inference that he may have decent diamonds, so I would lead a diamond. If nothing else, this is the lead least likely to blow a trick in the suit led.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ J 8 6 2
 Q 9 5 3
 9 8
♣ Q 5 4
South West North East
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, September 21st, 2014

How should one play a redouble of a negative double by overcaller's partner? I have heard mention of using it as a way to show trump support — is that sensible?

Maid Marion, Indianapolis, Ind.

To my mind the redouble should show opening values by an unpassed hand, and a maximum pass with secondary support by a passed hand. Keeping the sequence to promise a top trump honor is useful on very rare occasions, but gives up an otherwise useful bid for a sequence that seems to come up only rarely — and where the distinction about the honor may not be important.

My partner and I would appreciate your thoughts on the right bidding to reach the easy slam. She opened one heart and I held a 3-3-5-2 pattern with the heart K-J, both top diamonds and the doubleton club K-Q. I responded two diamonds, bid three hearts over three clubs, and heard my partner re-raise to four hearts to suggest a minimum. What now? Should I gamble on Blackwood?

Nancy Drew, Naples, Fla.

With no spade control, Blackwood is unjustified. I think a five-heart bid asks partner to bid on with a spade control (the only unbid suit) rather than asking about trump. A five-club cue-bid might also make sense.

Say an opponent revokes on a side-suit trick that you took on your way to making six spades. When the partner of the revoker takes the last trick with the trump ace, is there a penalty trick that is due to you? As the director, I ruled that there should not be a penalty trick taken with the trump ace after a revoke, since no harm was done. Was I correct?

Forgiving Director, Framingham, Mass.

Your ruling is understandable — but wrong. The revoke law is not about equity but is a fixed penalty almost totally unlinked to what would have happened without the revoke. The exception is that if the revoke ends up benefiting the offenders, the director can adjust the score. Assuming the defenders took a trick on or after the revoke, the penalty is one trick. It may even be a two-trick penalty if the revoker personally won the revoke trick, and his side took two tricks after the revoke.

I found myself unsure as to what to do in a pairs game recently. I heard one spade to my left and a pre-emptive three-club call from my partner. The next hand made a negative double, and at favorable vulnerability I held ♠ Q-3-2,  9-6-5,  A-Q-9-8- ♣ Q-4-2. Should I pass, raise, or sacrifice? For the record, my partner is a sound bidder, but on this occasion he had the doubleton diamond king and we had four tricks against four hearts — on a diamond lead.

Found Out, Newport News, Va.

Your last sentence fortuitously suggests to me what I might have recommended you do here. After a pre-empt I play that a bid of three diamonds by you would be lead-directing with a club fit. I play you can't rescue a pre-empter until a double has been passed for penalty.

I was in second seat and opened with ♠ K-10-4-3-2,  A-9-6-5,  A-9, ♣ 4-2. We reached two no-trump, which was something of a lucky make. My partner wondered if this hand was really worth an opening bid when vulnerable — so we decided to ask the experts.

Princess Pushy, Kansas City, Mo.

You should only open this hand on days finishing in a Y. With good controls in the form of aces and kings, plus an easy rebid, this one stands out as an opening bid. I'd never risk passing and being frozen out of one suit or both. Eleven-counts should not be routinely opened, but 5-4 hands with good controls and easy rebids offer much more promise than balanced aceless 12-counts.


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, September 20th, 2014

The worst part of success is trying to find someone who is happy for you.

Bette Midler


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

Q

Today's deal seems to be a simple enough declarer-play problem, but there are hidden depths that make the problem more challenging than it first appears.

South has no good way to make a slam-try below the level of game. Doubling, then jumping to four spades, sounds like a moose. However, North has no reason to contemplate moving beyond game, which is just as well today.

When dummy comes down on the lead of the heart queen, South should assume that he has 10 tricks unless trumps do not break, but he needs to plan what to do in case of bad splits. He wins the heart ace, then plays the spade ace andking to reveal the bad news. Now the secret is to find a way to turn the unpromising prospects in the North or South hand into an extra trick.

First South cashes one top club (in case East has Q-J-third of clubs and forgets to drop an honor), then plays a diamond. West wins the ace and exits with a second top heart. Declarer must win and continue with the club king, followed by the club three. When East wins, he can do no better than force South with his remaining club winner. After ruffing the fourth club, South plays his remaining top spade and another spade to endplay East. That player has only diamonds left, and so declarer’s heart loser disappears on dummy’s diamond king.


Your partner set up a game-force with his two-spade call. Since you have decent club support in context and spade shortage, I think you have just enough for a call of four spades, but a simple raise to five clubs could not be faulted either. Make one of your red queens a king, and I would definitely cue-bid four spades here.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 8
 Q J 10 8 4
 A Q J 5 2
♣ Q 10
South West North East
1 1♠ 2♣ Pass
2 Pass 2♠ Pass
3 Pass 4♣ 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.