Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

When people will not weed their own minds, they are apt to be overrun by nettles.

Horace Walpole


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

*Two + cards

♣10

As West you are playing teams, using standard leads and signals. Against three no-trump you lead the club 10, since South has not promised real clubs. Declarer plays the queen from dummy and overtakes with the king as partner follows with the three. Now comes a low diamond to dummy and declarer advances the heart jack.

On this trick East plays the heart nine under the jack and you win the trick with the king. What next?

West should analyze the hand and try to count declarer’s tricks. Partner’s discouraging club at trick one suggests three club tricks, three diamonds and three heart tricks for declarer. Since East would not follow with the heart nine if he had begun with four, East has to have only two hearts — leaving four hearts for South.

West also knows that East has at least four spades, since South didn’t support that suit. Therefore spades are the only chance for the defense. West must lead out the spade king and return the spade four, hoping to find East with ace-queen-fourth of spades together with the jack 10 or nine, or with four decent spades and the heart ace. Either way, this defense may set up the four additional tricks the defenders need.

Today, the defense takes one heart and four spade tricks to set the contract. This defense may not work but it is the only chance.

Note declarer’s sacrifice of a club winner to try to persuade you to continue the suit; but you didn’t fall for it – did you?


I don’t think you are really worth responding one no-trump here. From my own experience, when facing a third in hand opener I like to be full value for this call (I’d say the range was a good seven to a bad 10). While you might find that the consequence of passing was to miss a partscore, there is a lot to be said for waiting for one round before deciding whose hand it really is.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 4
 K 7 5 3
 8 6 2
♣ 10 9 8 6
South West North East
Pass Pass 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

You gotta have a swine to show you where the truffles are.

Edward Albee


N North
None ♠ 5 4 3
 A J 10 6 4
 5 3 2
♣ Q 2
West East
♠ 10 9 8
 K 7 3
 10 9 7
♣ J 9 7 6
♠ J 7 6
 Q 9 2
 Q J 6 4
♣ K 10 5
South
♠ A K Q 2
 8 5
 A K 8
♣ A 8 4 3
South West North East
    Pass Pass
2 NT Pass 3 * Pass
3 Pass 3 NT All pass

*Hearts

♠10

Today’s deal sees a combination of plays that range between relatively difficult and considerably more challenging. If both defenders can do their part, then they can conjure defensive tricks almost from nowhere.

Against three no-trump West leads the spade 10 and sees East follow with the six, a very hard card to read, since it could easily be the start of an encouraging signal.

West is back in the spotlight when South wins his king and leads a heart to trick two; West must play the heart king to kill the heart suit and prevent South having an easy route to a ninth trick. After all, if South has the heart queen the heart suit is coming in whatever West does.

What can South do now? As the cards lie he must win the trick and probably does best to duck a diamond. Now West has another problem. The easy way to defeat the contract is to shift to clubs, but if he opts for passive defense he should play back a heart, letting East win the queen and exit with the spade jack.

Now even when spades break 3-3 declarer will have no choice but to rely on the club king being onside in order to try to reach dummy. Today his luck will be out.

As an aside, if East does not unblock the spade jack on the second round of the suit, declarer might guess to cash off his diamond winners and endplay East with the spade jack to lead away from the club king. Now that would be embarrassing!


First things first: your partner’s double is not penalty. It shows real extras, typically with three hearts. In context you might have enough to jump to four hearts now, or cuebid three diamonds en route to a game in no-trump or hearts. A more cautious approach would be to bid just three hearts, I suppose.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 5 4 3
 A J 10 6 4
 5 3 2
♣ Q 2
South West North East
Pass 1 Dbl. Pass
1 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, December 26th, 2016

Death is the privilege of human nature,
And life without it were not worth our taking.

Nicholas Rowe


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

4

Today’s deal from a team game saw North take an aggressive position to drive to game facing a strong no-trump. His good club spots persuaded him to go high rather than to explore, and give the opponents a chance to overcall or double an artificial call.

Now switch to the South seat. When West leads the diamond four against three no-trump, plan the play.

You appear to be well on your way to nine tricks: three spades, two red aces, and at least four club tricks. Even a 4-0 club break onside won’t necessarily cause you any problems.

The only real danger may come from a 5-2 diamond break, when you might lose four diamonds and a club. In some circumstances it would be right for you to duck the first trick but not here. That is because if you are going to lose the lead via the failing club finesse, it would be to West.

Since you cannot keep West off lead, can you block the diamonds? You may well be able to do so. East might have begun with a doubleton queen or jack of course, in which case you are sunk, but otherwise he will surely have two of the four missing high diamonds. If so, then when you rise with the diamond ace at once, West won’t be able to cash four diamonds even if he does get in with the club king. So win trick one with the diamond ace and take the club finesse. As the cards lie, the finesse loses, but the defenders cannot run the diamonds.


The no-trump calls to your right should not unduly alarm you. Lead your long suit, the one you know partner has at least some length in, rather than experimenting with either minor suit – each of which could score a goal, or an own goal.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ K Q 2
 J 7 5 3
 J 6 4
♣ 5 3 2
South West North East
Pass 1 ♠ Dbl. 1 NT
2 Pass Pass 2 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, December 25th, 2016

I’m confused about the nature of a positive response to an opening two club bid. In one of your recent columns, the responder had 12 points and a five-card spade suit. Why did he not bid two spades? Did he need a better suit?

Field of Dreams, Houston, Texas

I’ll tell you where I stand – but not everyone agrees. A two heart response never preempts partner from his intended call. So I often bid that with positive values and a moderate suit – not necessarily two top honors. A two spade response needs a decent suit, since we may have stopped partner from rebidding hearts at a convenient level. I suggest you use minor-suit responses for unbalanced hands with good suits, and the meaning for two no-trumps…is up to you.

My wife and I read your column to try to improve our bridge. A few weeks ago we saw a hand where one player heard his partner open one spade and the next hand doubled. North had 10 points and four spades; what is the full message intended by his two no-trump response? (My response would have been three spades, by the way!).

Muddy Waters, Portland, Maine

After a double of partner’s major suit, it is sensible to try to keep the opponents out by jump raising his major with a weak hand. In turn, that requires you to be able to use a different call for the limit raise, since the jump raise is no longer available. With redouble showing a strong balanced hand, two no-trump is not needed as natural. Hence you re-direct that call to be at least a limit raise in spades. This convention may be referred to as Jordan or Truscott.

We play a penalty double of the opponents’ one no-trump opener, whether it is weak or strong. Given that you can pass in response to that double with values, with a weak hand should you play a conventional scheme of response or just play natural? And what if the opponents run from one no-trump?

Wellington Boot, Casper, Wyo.

I suggest you play Stayman and transfers in response to partner’s double of either a strong or a weak no-trump for penalty. Even with a good, shapely hand you may prefer to describe your hand, and not just to sit for the double. I don’t always play a penalty double of a strong no-trump, but if I did I might play transfers and Stayman there too. When they run, treat your first double as you would the intervention over your no-trump opener.

Recently one of my opponents played through an entire hand before discovering that they had started with only 12 cards, and a diamond was under the previous table. The director said there was no penalty. Is that correct?

Number Cruncher, Woodland Hills, Calif.

When you fail to notice a missing card your revoke, if any, should be punished by the laws in normal fashion. The penalty may be one or two tricks – depending in part on whether the offender personally won the revoke trick – and on how many tricks were won after the revoke.

A couple of weeks ago you answered a question of mine – now I’m giving you the matching hand to that problem. With both sides vulnerable, you hold ♠ A-5, J-5-4, Q-8-5-2, ♣ Q-J-7-5. Assuming you pass, what would you bid if partner doubled a one diamond opener, and what would you bid if a one diamond opener was passed round to you?

Elevator, Wausau, Wis.

In balancing seat you cannot double, so the choice is to bid one no-trump or pass. I’d bid if the opponents were non-vulnerable, pass if they were vulnerable. Over my partner’s double, a call of one no-trump looks unexceptionable.


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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, December 24th, 2016

There was a long hard time when I kept far from me the remembrance of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth.

Charles Dickens


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

♣6

This week’s deal all come from the Macallan tournament in London 20 years ago. Today’s deal carries a salutary lesson for me. I was declarer, and still remember a missed opportunity to put one over on my then-teammates.

Playing with Bob Hamman, we took on Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell, and we edged them out, despite this missed opportunity. See if you can do better as South than me. You may choose to cover up the East and West cards, to try to duplicate the problem I faced at the table.

You reach three no-trump after East has shown a weak-two bid in spades, and receive the lead of the club six. What would you play from dummy? If you play the seven, well done; East plays the king. Which red suit is it right to play on at trick two?

All right, I admit that I was (mis)leading the witness. The key to the hand is that you need to duck the first trick, or you will go down like a stone.

The hand is truly a complex one, but the right way to look at it is that if clubs are 4-2 you will need the heart queen to be onside, whether you win or duck the first trick. (If it is not, you will lose two clubs, two hearts and a diamond).

However, if clubs are 5-1, you prevent the opponents from establishing clubs by ducking the first trick. Now you will succeed unless West has all the missing red honors – and if that were the case you were never making your contract.


My simple agreement with all my partners about what doubles mean after our side opens one no-trump is as follows. If the only call our partnership has made is to pass, the first double is take-out from either player, whether over or under the suit bid or shown. So here the double of two diamonds is for take-out, and you have a painless call of two hearts.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 9
 J 9 6 5
 J 9 8
♣ J 8 7 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 NT Pass
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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, December 23rd, 2016

The Brain is wider than the Sky –
For put them side by side –
The one the other will contain
With ease –and You – beside.

Emily Dickinson


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

*Fit showing

♠K

All this week’s deals come from the late lamented Macallan Invitation teams tournament. 16 of the world’s strongest pairs gathered annually in London to take on one another – and may the best man or woman win!

Early on in the second day Nick Nickell ran into this challenge – and was up to the task. It might have been an easier task had the deal cropped up in a textbook, but real life often imitates art.

Against five diamonds, Nickell received the lead of the spade king. He carefully ruffed in dummy, and led a diamond to his queen; then he abandoned trump, and played off three rounds of clubs. Whether or not the third round of clubs was ruffed, he had saved a tempo, to ensure that he could discard his heart loser on the fourth round of clubs. Today, the lie of the clubs meant he could have continued to play on trump and survived, but his caution would have paid off if East had been 4-4-3-2 instead.

George Mittelman as West did not give his opponents the opportunity to make a textbook play. He was faced with a very different auction after his partner had passed in third seat. He overcalled two spades and heard his LHO jump to four spades, showing shortness and agreeing diamonds. So against five diamonds he led a heart.

Although it is possible to succeed double dummy after this start by following the same line as Nickell did, declarer simply played for trumps to break, and went one down when they did not.


It never does any harm to go over the basics once in a while. A jump to two no-trump is natural and invitational, and describes your values perfectly. In fact with none of your values in partner’s suits, I would not be surprised to discover that if partner passes, we may be too high already. But you can hardly do less. If you wanted to force to game, you would use the fourth suit or jump to three no-trump.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 4 3
 K Q J 9
 A J 9
♣ 9 7 5
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♣ Pass
1 Pass 1 ♠ Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

I do not know which makes a man more conservative – to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past.

J. M. Keynes


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

Fill in the blank…

All this week’s deals come from the Macallan tournament in London 20 years ago. Underleading an ace on opening lead is not normally a play that is indicated by the bidding. But the better the player, the more often they are prepared to think outside the box. Even so, it is very unusual to find this play made by more than one expert, but this was the exception to the rule.

The North-South pairs bid this hand to game of course; of the three possible games, three no-trump is the best, and heavy favorite to succeed. But only one pair managed to get there. While four spades (attempted after North opened one spade and was obliged to rebid two spades) was fortunate to come home, four hearts has little chance of success after a trump lead, on the lie of the cards today.

However, four of the five defenders on lead to that contract tried a low diamond, and all the declarers misguessed of course. Omar Sharif was able to exploit his lead, when his partner Zia won the diamond queen and accurately shifted to a trump. Declarer won in dummy and played a club; now he could not get out for less than two down.

Where Nicola Smith was declarer she was able to recover after the same start. She took the heart switch in dummy and ran dummy’s diamond nine, discarding a club from hand. She could win the next trump in dummy and ruff out the diamonds, draw trump, and get back to the table with the spade king to run the diamonds.


You may not have much of a hand, but what you have seems to be working for your partner – and you have already showed a poor hand at your first two turns. I’m guessing that if partner wants to bid five of a minor to make or as a sacrifice, you have a good hand for him. I would bid four clubs to let him in on the double fit.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 8 6
 10 9
 Q 10 3 2
♣ Q 10 9 2
South West North East
Pass Pass 1 Dbl.
2 2 3 ♣ 3
?      

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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

I’m not big on reading directions. I can’t do that. I’m just not from that world.

Richard Dean Anderson


S North
None ♠ A J 9 4 2
 J 10 7 3
 J 4
♣ 7 2
West East
♠ 5
 Q 9 2
 Q 8 6 5
♣ A 10 9 8 4
♠ 8 7 6 3
 A K
 10 9 3
♣ K Q 6 3
South
♠ K Q 10
 8 6 5 4
 A K 7 2
♣ J 5
South West North East
1 Pass 2 All pass
       

♠5

At the 1996 Macallan tournament in London Fred Gitelman and George Mittelman lost their first three matches, but then produced an excellent run which brought them as high as second place. They demonstrated a subtle point in signaling, as well as great partnership trust in defense here, against me.

Bob Hamman and I had done well in the auction to steal the contract in two hearts after Hamman had made our systemic opening with the South hand of one heart.

If East-West can find their way into the auction they can make at least three clubs, but it was hard (though perhaps not impossible) for West to balance with an unusual two no-trump call once the opponents had come to rest in two hearts.

It seems as if the defense can only get three trump tricks and their two club winners, but Mittelman led a spade, and when Hamman won this in dummy to play a trump, Gitelman took his king and played back his lowest spade for Mittelman to ruff. The combination of suit preference signals in trumps and clubs meant that George could confidently underlead his club ace and obtain a second spade ruff for one down.

The point about the play in trumps was that West knew his partner had the ace and king of hearts and had chosen to win with his lower honor. The reverse inference might not have been available had East won the first trump with the ace – he might not have had the king, and thus a choice of cards to play.


There are two schools of thought here. One transfers to two spades, one uses Stayman, planning to rebid two spades over two diamonds to show a shapely invitation with five spades. That is a fractional overbid, but I would be prepared to follow that route, to make sure we reached the best major suit for partscore or game.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A J 9 4 2
 J 10 7 3
 J 4
♣ 7 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Undoubtedly we have no questions to ask which are unanswerable.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


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

*Hearts and clubs

K

All the deals this week were played in the Macallan tournament in London 20 years ago. This was an invitation event, made up of 16 of the top pairs in the world, over the course of three days.

I was delighted to be able to participate in the event with Bob Hamman, along with the other members of the team that had won the 1995 world championships in Beijing. That included Richard Freeman and Nick Nickell, who were playing in their first Macallan, and they naturally took a little time to acclimatize. However, they soon found their stride, and on the following hand demonstrated an elegant route to success on defense against the par contract.

Against three clubs Freeman led the diamond king; Nickell overtook this and returned a second diamond, allowing Freeman to play a third round of the suit. The best declarer Alfredo Versace could do was to ruff high in dummy. At this point he cashed two hearts, to throw away his last diamond. Then he crossed to the spade ace and led a trump. Freeman hopped up with the king and played a fourth round of diamonds, promoting his partner’s club 10 for the fifth defensive trick.

Richard Freeman, who died a decade ago, was one of the more interesting and eccentric members of the bridge community. He had been a Quiz Kid in his youth, and despite early promise as a player in his teens, he gave up bridge to become a tournament director. When he resumed playing the game, he became a champion.


You were not planning to compete beyond the two-level. You can be pushed up one level but no more, so should not bid four spades. Can you beat four hearts? I’d expect the contract to be close but if it does make, four spades rates to be down at least two – and probably doubled, to boot. Pass out four hearts and take your chances. (If partner had opened one diamond you might well bid on, though.)

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 10 9 6 3
 K
 J 9 4 2
♣ 9 7 3
South West North East
    1 ♣ Pass
1 ♠ Dbl. 2 ♠ 4
?      

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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, December 19th, 2016

The past is the only dead thing that smells sweet.

Edward Thomas


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

10

Nicola Smith and Pat Davies of the UK won several European and World titles together. When they competed in the Macallan 1996 tournament they finished in the top half of the field, while losing narrowly to the eventual winners, Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell. Had Davies solved her problem as declarer here, they would have won the match comfortably.

Against three no-trump Rodwell obediently led the heart 10, which was covered by the queen, king and ace. Pat Davies then took three diamond winners, and played a spade to the jack and queen, after which a second heart back sealed her fate. In fact after she had won the first trick, there was an unlikely winning line. She could have succeeded had she played back a second heart at once, but this line would not have been a success against an original 6-1 heart break.

However, a significantly better line would have been to cover the heart 10 at trick one, but to duck the heart king. With the defenders’ communications in hearts cut, the best they can do is to shift to clubs. Now your intermediates are strong enough to withstand the attack. You can utilize your two entries to dummy to play a spade to the king and subsequently to repeat the heart finesse.

The following year Davies and Smith finished second in the Macallan (one place ahead of Sabine Auken and Daniela von Arnim), these results perhaps representing two of the best performances by women in an open event in the last 50 years.


Declarer surely rates to be shapely, with a void or all the first round controls as he did not use Blackwood. So the question is whether to go active with a diamond lead, or passive with a spade or club lead. The bad heart break argues for going passive. I think I’d lead a trump, and maybe a deceptive club nine might cause some confusion?

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ J 9 3
 J 10 6 3
 K J 4
♣ 10 9 4
South West North East
    Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 3 ♣
Pass 4 ♣ 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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.