Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, March 31st, 2018

Truth gains more even by the errors of one who, with due study and preparation, thinks for himself, than by the true opinions of those who only hold them because they do not suffer themselves to think.

John Stuart Mill


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

*Heart support

Q

On this deal from the second qualifying session of the Mitchell Open Board-a-Match Teams from the last national championships in Seattle, imagine that you have reached three no-trump, after both you and your vulnerable opponents have done a lot of bidding.

The heart queen held the trick on opening lead. A second heart to the ace was followed by a third heart, on which South had to discard from dummy. Name your poison!

At the table, declarer erred in practice — and maybe in theory as well — by pitching a spade. He then crossed to the club king to play a diamond to the ace in an attempt to keep West off lead while setting up diamonds. (The first diamond play had to come from dummy; if East had a doubleton queen or a holding such as J-9, he could defeat the game by unblocking his honor if declarer led low to the diamond king.)

The 4-1 break — disappointing, but hardly surprising — brought South up short. The best he could do was finesse in spades against East and hope for the clubs to break. That failed, but if declarer had pitched a club from dummy at trick three, then when the diamond break came to light, he could have crossed to the club ace and finessed in spades, then cashed the spade king.

At this point, he could have endplayed East by leading the king and a second club to force a spade play into dummy’s A-10 at the end for the ninth trick.


Should you raise to two spades here? Had your RHO passed, you would surely have left your partner in one spade, but in competition, a simple raise here does not guarantee great extras. It suggests either real shape suitability or decent extras with four spades. This hand just about qualifies by virtue of the nice controls.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 10 7 4
 6 3
 K 6 5
♣ A K 10 4
South West North East
      1
Dbl. Pass 1 ♠ 2
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, March 30th, 2018

Let us be happy and live within our means, even if we have to borrow the money to do it with.

Artemus Ward


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

*Forcing spade raise

Q

The response of two no-trump to one of a major can sensibly be played as game forcing with a fit. Opener shows his shortage if any, jumps with a good second suit, or signs off in four of a major with a minimum and no shortage.

After you jump to four spades at your second turn, you must plan the play on the lead of the heart queen. A good plan is to take two club finesses, but that will fail today.

A better idea is to win the first heart in hand, then draw trumps ending in hand and continue with a low diamond. If West follows with a low card, you will insert the 10. Here, East will win the queen and return a heart. You will win the heart king and ruff a heart. The sure trick line now is to play the ace and another diamond. West can win, but can then do no better than exit with a club. You play low from dummy, and East wins the trick and is endplayed either to lead clubs or give you a ruff-sluff.

What happens if West plays the diamond jack at trick four? You should take the trick with the diamond ace, then cash the heart king and ruff dummy’s last heart. You next lead another low diamond from hand, and the defense will be done for. West can rise with the king and play a club, which you will duck in dummy. After East wins that trick, he can do no better than cash the diamond queen, but at that point he must concede the rest.


The cue-bid is typically looking for a spade stopper for no-trump. Had the next hand not doubled, you might have bid three clubs rather than three diamonds. (Your partner cannot have clubs and diamonds, or he would have reversed into two diamonds.) After the double, it feels right to pass and give partner a chance to describe his hand.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 7 2
 Q J 10 9
 K J 9 3
♣ 7 6 5
South West North East
    1 ♣ Pass
1 1 ♠ 2 ♠ 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Even if the doctor does not give you a year, even if he hesitates about a month, make one brave push and see what can be accomplished in a week.

Robert Louis Stevenson


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

4

South was all set to become declarer at two spades when West girded up his loins and produced a balancing double, pushing his opponents up to three spades.

When West led the heart four, declarer wisely played low from dummy, reasoning that an underlead of the ace was highly unlikely. When East won and returned the club nine, South played the king, and West took his ace and exited passively with a heart.

South now tackled trumps by leading his seven to dummy’s king (in case West had a singleton honor) and was happy to see trumps break. He went back to dummy with the spade eight to the nine, to advance the diamond jack. East now saw the necessity to hop up with his ace and play a second club. Had declarer finessed, West would have won and exited in clubs; but South divined the position accurately. He won his club queen and played a third club, forcing West to win and lead diamonds for him.

Had East ducked his diamond ace, the defenders would have been unable to establish their second club trick in time; but in fact the defenders had already missed their best chance to set the contract. West had to duck the first club, leaving communications intact for the defenders. When East gets in with the diamond ace, a second club dooms the contract.

Ducking the first club to preserve communications is an important point of technique, but making the play in good tempo requires both skill and experience!


With no quick tricks on the side, how likely is your side to make three no-trump? Your partner really needs six solid diamonds plus an ace and a club stopper — but with all that, your partner should have taken a shot at three no-trump himself! Your diamond support is useful, but is it enough to bid over an invitational call? I think not; I would pass.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 9 6 2
 K 6
 J 10 9 7
♣ 7 4 3
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 ♠ 2 ♣ 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

One never knows whether people have principles on principle or whether for their own personal satisfaction.

Karel Capek


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

2

The easiest way to score tricks is with honor cards and long suits. But sometimes the spot-cards can be critical, as is the case today.

When North opened the bidding with one diamond, South responded one no-trump. North overbid slightly, perhaps, when he jumped to game, but if he had invited game, South would have accepted happily enough.

West led the heart two, and declarer rightly inserted the jack, in case West had underled the king and queen. He ducked the king and the heart continuation, but won the third heart, discarding a club from dummy. South could count on eight tricks, with the diamond suit his only chance for a ninth.

He opted for the simple route of four rounds of clubs followed by the three top diamonds, but when the diamonds failed to break, he had to concede defeat.

The same contract was reached at another table. Here, South won the third round of hearts and also discarded a club from dummy. But this declarer saw the additional chance from his diamond intermediates. So, at trick four, he played the diamond eight to the ace and followed with the diamond king, observing East’s jack with interest, and being careful to unblock his own diamond nine.

Next came four rounds of clubs, and when West showed out on the third, the combination of the fourth-highest lead, the count in clubs and the fall of the diamond jack persuaded declarer to finesse dummy’s diamond seven to land his game.


It feels like you have too much to pass. While the opponents might have come to rest in a 4-3 fit, it sounds a little more likely that they have located an eight-card fit, so you have just enough to act, with a reasonable expectation of finding a fit of your own. I would bid one spade rather than one no-trump, since you might find you can take heart ruffs in dummy.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 10 9 4
 K 8 6 3
 J 2
♣ 7 5 3
South West North East
  1 ♣ 1 Dbl.
Pass 1 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

The poet must become more comprehensive, more allusive, more indirect, in order to force, to dislocate if necessary, language into its meaning.

T.S. Eliot


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

Q

This is another deal from Kit Woolsey’s excellent new book, “The Language of Bridge.”

As East, you see your partner lead the heart queen; how do you get him to do the right thing after that?

You know the correct defense is for partner to lead a diamond through dummy so that the defense can take their four red-suit tricks, assuming declarer has at least two cards in each red suit — if he doesn’t, you surely have no chance to set the game.

The problem is that a club shift may look more attractive to partner than a diamond shift. So you need to help partner with suit-preference signals.

The answer is to win the heart ace at trick one and return the heart nine. Partner will know that you have the heart king when declarer doesn’t win the second trick, and he will also know that you clearly want him to shift to a minor. Since you had the choice between the heart ace and the heart king at trick one, the combination of your play of the heart ace plus the nine should be suit preference for the higher suit, diamonds. As you can see, the diamond shift is necessary if declarer has the club king and is 2-2 in the minors.

Had you wanted a club shift (switch the diamond queen and club king), you would have taken the heart king at trick one and returned the heart two, again using suit preference to distinguish between the two minors.


I might not open this hand in first or second seat, but in third seat I would open one diamond and try to get my best suit into play. I see no reason to be ashamed of my values, and anytime I have spades, I always feel like I have to contribute my two cents’ worth.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 7 4 2
 8 5
 K J 10 9
♣ A Q 3
South West North East
    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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, March 26th, 2018

However entrancing it is to wander unchecked through a garden of bright images, are we not enticing your mind from another subject of almost equal importance?

Ernest Bramah


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

♠7

It never ceases to amaze me that declarers so often rush the play in a grand slam. After all, if a grand slam isn’t worth thinking about for a few extra seconds, what contract will you consider worthy of reflection?

In today’s deal, an efficient bidding sequence led to seven spades, and West led a trump. Declarer reasoned that as long as clubs broke no worse than 4-2, he was home free. So he took the trump lead in dummy, played a diamond to the ace and ruffed a diamond on board. A heart to the ace was followed by the ruff of declarer’s last diamond with dummy’s final trump. Then came the club ace for a heart discard, which passed off peacefully, but when he continued with the club king, on which he threw the heart queen, West unkindly ruffed.

What South had not noticed was that he could have coped with the 5-1 club break. Although it is not strictly a dummy reversal, if declarer had used dummy’s high trumps for the purposes of drawing trumps and use South’s high trumps for ruffing, he could have found his way to 13 tricks without any real problem.

Win the trump lead in dummy and ruff a club high. Play a spade to dummy and ruff a second club high. A third spade to the table draws the last trump, and now the clubs are established, allowing all of South’s red-suit losers to be discarded. He ends up with four clubs, two aces and seven trump tricks.


The question is whether we need to lead diamonds to set up the suit before declarer gets rid of his losers in that suit, or whether now is the time to lead a top spade, since it might be our last chance. Even a trump lead might be right if clubs aren’t running. I’d go for a diamond, but without much confidence in my choice.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ Q J 6
 9 8 2
 6 5 4
♣ Q 10 6 3
South West North East
Pass 1 ♣ 1 1
Pass 2 ♣ Pass 2
Pass 3 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, March 25th, 2018

You recently ran a bidding problem where responder had replied one spade to one diamond with ace-fourth of spades, and had heard his partner raise him. You suggested offering a choice of games in case partner had only three spades; but with just three spades here, wouldn’t opener rebid at no-trump, expecting the fit to come to light after a New Minor Forcing-type sequence?

Ray of Sunshine, Pueblo, Colo.

My style isn’t necessarily U.S. mainstream standard when it comes to opener raising with three trumps. For example, a 3-2-5-3 or 3-3-5-2 pattern with a small doubleton looks like a raise of one spade to two spades to me whenever your trumps are better than Q-10-x. Three moderate trumps plus a ruffing value equals a raise.

Holding ♠ J-2,  A-7-6,  A-Q-8-3, ♣ K-9-4-2, would you open one diamond or one club? After a onespade overcall and a negative double from your partner, what would you do? My partner told me that opening one diamond and rebidding two clubs guarantees at least nine cards in the minors. Is this true — and if so, why?

Pokemon, Richmond, Va.

I like to open good suits if I can, so I would open one diamond. Then I would rebid two clubs just as you did. If there had been no opposition bidding and my partner had responded in a major, I would bid one no-trump without much of a qualm.

It seems that modern experts have changed the requirements for opening no-trump bids, especially the two no-trump opening bid showing 20-22. How do you personally deal with all the balanced ranges with a strong hand? My reasoning is that with most of the high cards in one hand, the hand won’t play as well as when the high cards are split between the two hands. So I’d prefer to downgrade my 20-HCP hands.

Frere Jacques, Newark, Calif.

Working backward, I don’t want to drive to game with fewer than 25 points. That means with 20-24 (in other words, a 5-point range), we go through a direct or indirect two no-trump call. Working back one more step, I think that means 22 goes up or down as you see fit. So the ranges are really 20 to a weak 22, a strong 22 to 24, and a strong 24 to 26 for opening two no-trump, opening two clubs and then rebidding no-trump, and jumping in no-trump, respectively.

Holding ♠ A-J-7-3-2,  9,  Q-J-7-4, ♣ Q-10-4, would you overcall two spades over one no-trump in balancing seat? Would the vulnerability matter, and would you be affected by whether you were a passed hand?

Baby Back Ribs, Kingston, Ontario

There is much to be said for being able to show a two-suited hand here. Either way, though, you must come in to show spades. Yes, it might end in disaster, but that should not stop you from competing over one no-trump at the slightest opportunity, especially when you know partner is sure to find the wrong lead if you don’t help him.

What advice would you give me as a newbie to duplicate bridge in terms of counting the hand? Should I try on every hand, or just when I think it important?

Learning Curve, Huntsville, Ala.

As declarer, always count trumps. (Add up yours and dummy’s to tell you how many the opponents have, then just focus on that number.) As defender, work out from the auction how many points you expect declarer to have (or if you can’t do that, try to make the calculation for your partner’s hand). For side suits, start small; focus on the one suit you regard as critical and work your way up from there.


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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, March 24th, 2018

The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti


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

K

Today’s deal produced a bizarre flat board in a teams game where both declarers played four spades. I’m fairly confident there were two rather relieved Souths.

In each room, West led the heart king, won by declarer’s ace. The first South ran the spade 10, which held the trick. Next came a spade to the queen and the ace, East pitching a heart. South now ran the diamond nine, and West won his queen and played the heart king. South ruffed this trick and tried to bring in the club suit, hoping for a 3-3 break. When his second chance failed, declarer had only eight tricks. In retrospect South was kicking himself; all he had to do was to discard on the heart king, and he would have had a sure route to 10 tricks.

In the other room, the lead and play to the first four tricks were identical. But at that table, West was a very tricky customer. When declarer passed the diamond nine, East gave count, and West realized that South was either 6-2 or 4-4 in the minors. Since he had no realistic chance to set the game in the second case, West decided to give declarer an additional losing option by winning the diamond ace at his first turn!

When West returned a heart, declarer did not see any danger; he ruffed in hand, crossed to a top club, then finessed in diamonds and went down the same humiliating two tricks as had happened in the other room.


This looks like an easy problem, but it may have hidden depths. A simple bid of one spade shows four spades (a three-card suit is possible, but unlikely) but is most consistent with a balanced 12-14, and this hand is surely too strong for that. I would bid two spades, intending to show some extras. Even a call of three spades is not absurd.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A Q J 3
 3 2
 9 7
♣ A K 8 6 2
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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, March 23rd, 2018

Life is the game that must be played.

Edwin Arlington Robinson


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

*Pick a slam

♠5

When South heard his partner invite slam, his call of five no-trump was intended to offer a choice of slams. Even at matchpoint pairs, maybe North should have bid six clubs to look for a 4-4 minor-suit fit. That contract would be easy to bring home today, but North was worried that facing king-jack-third or king-queen-third of spades, six clubs would go down on a spade ruff, so the inferior slam was reached.

After a spade lead to East’s jack, South had to recover from his partner’s indelicate bidding. He ducked the spade lead and won the next, then played three rounds of clubs, leaving himself an entry to his hand in that suit. Next came the three top diamonds, and when East followed to all six of those leads, that player was marked with a singleton heart.

So South cashed the heart queen and led the nine from hand. When West followed small (knowing if he covered that declarer would have crossed back to hand by leading to his club winner, then taken the heart finesse on the third round), South let the nine run and claimed his contract.

For the record, even if the count had not produced such a definitive answer (say, if East appeared to have a doubleton heart), it would be right to lead the nine to the king, then cross back to the heart queen and finesse if East had produced the jack or 10 on the second round of the suit.


Your extra shape suggests you should play game here. You can make a good case for playing hearts rather than no-trump, since almost no matter what hand partner has, you might find ten tricks in hearts easier than nine in no-trump. If you believe that, and I do, then transfer into four hearts by whatever method your partnership uses, rather than transferring to hearts and bidding three no-trump.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 5
 J 10 4 3 2
 10 8 6 4 2
♣ 7 4
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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

The universe is not hostile, nor yet is it friendly. It is simply indifferent.

Revenred John H. Holmes


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

K

Today’s deal shows a technique of declarer play that everyone should have at their disposal.

When the heart king is led against five clubs, South wins the trick and plans how to develop diamonds to maximum efficiency.

Declarer sees that he must establish the suit without losing out to a ruff or over-ruff. If the adverse diamonds split 3-3, one ruff will establish the suit, and it will be smooth sailing. The major worry is a diamond split of 4-2 or worse, with possible over-ruffs of dummy to contend with. The first issue is how many rounds of trumps to draw. Since the likelihood on this auction that anyone has one diamond and two or fewer trumps is nonexistent, it seems wise to go after diamonds relatively early.

Happily, declarer can play the diamonds so as to need only one ruff in dummy, allowing him to negotiate any 4-2 split. The first move is to lead a low trump, won by South, to be sure that the trumps do not split 4-0. Declarer then cashes the diamond king and ace, and leads a third round of the suit. If West discards or ruffs in, the cross-ruff is assured. If West produces the queen, South can ruff high and draw trumps, but when West follows with the diamond 10, it is essential today to discard the losing heart from dummy.

As the cards lie, West can do no better than return a heart; declarer ruffs low in dummy, gives up a spade, then ruffs the fourth diamond high in dummy, and claims the rest.


This hand warrants a sensible response of one spade to the take-out double. Your plan would be to compete to two hearts if the opponents bid to two clubs or two diamonds. You do not have a strong hand, but you have just enough to feel comfortable playing a 4-4 major suit at the two-level. You bid spades first so as to get the two suits in efficiently.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K J 7 5
 10 9 4 2
 9 2
♣ 9 7 5
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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.