Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Man seeks in society comfort, use and protection.

Francis Bacon


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

♠2

Today’s deal from the Dyspeptics Club saw a more polite post mortem than usual, after South had reached six diamonds following a typically exuberant auction. He ruffed the opening spade lead, drew trump in four rounds, and relied on clubs to break. When they did not do so, he went down like a stone, and apologized to his partner with the line that everything was wrong. However he avoided fanning the flames by asserting that there was nothing he could do; instead he asked an abnormally pensive North what he might have done differently.

Somewhat mollified, North pointed out that South could have guarded against a four-one break in clubs. Best is to cash only one top club at the second trick. Then dummy is entered with a trump to lead the second club towards the South hand.

East cannot defeat the contract by ruffing, for then South will play low. With the clubs now established, declarer can draw trump and eventually take the heart finesse for his contract. East’s best course is to discard, hoping that South’s clubs are headed by A-K-J. Then South would win the club king and could ruff one club in dummy. However, since the suit would not yet be established, the contract would be defeated.

As the cards actually lie, East’s refusal to ruff might cost him an overtrick, but that is clearly an affordable investment. When East discards, South can win with the club king, ruff a low club with dummy’s high trump, and draw trump. The heart finesse would represent 13 tricks if declarer dares to take it.


Go to the back of the class anyone who decided to pass on the assumption that partner was trying to defend two diamonds doubled. He has shown three hearts and real extra values, so the clearest way to get your modest extras in shape and high cards across is to bid three hearts. A three club call would perhaps suggest your clubs and hearts were switched.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 5 2
 K 10 8 7 3
 5
♣ J 9 8 4
South West North East
  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: Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?

Cassandra Clare


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

*Short spades, agreeing hearts

♠J

The final contract in today’s deal was six hearts by South – rather ambitious you might say, given the two missing keycards, not to mention the further hurdle of the bad club break.

When South heard his partner show heart fit with short spades, he decided to use Blackwood – far from unreasonably. Now North thought he had to catch up to show his void, though it might have been more discreet simply to answer the question his partner had asked.

East might have made a Lightner double of six hearts for the club lead, but he was not sure where his side’s second trick was going to come from. When he passed, West looked no further than his spade sequence on opening lead. South was unimpressed by the dummy, but that did not stop him giving the contract his best shot. He ruffed the opening lead, ostentatiously dropping his spade ace as he did so, took a heart finesse, then ruffed the spade king and repeated the heart finesse.

After drawing the last trump South was confident that his diamond loser was about to go on the clubs, but the 4-0 club break brought him back to earth.

Still, South did not give up; he cashed his remaining trumps, reducing down to the spade queen and three clubs, plus the diamond jack. West had to keep his diamond ace and three clubs so could similarly keep only one spade. With dummy down to two diamonds and three clubs, South cashed his spade queen and exited in diamonds, and West had to win and concede the rest.


Standard bidding has changed here over the last 20 years. After opener’s reverse, responder must be able both to raise his partner’s suits and also to admit to a minimum response. Methods, detailed at https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Wiki/ Blackout_convention allow you to bid three diamonds and set up a force for at least one round, since you’d limit your hand with two no-trump with a really weak hand.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 6 4 3 2
 K 8 4
 A 7 6 3
♣ J
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 2016. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

No furniture so charming as books.

Sydney Smith


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

♠K

Many of Mike Lawrence’s books on play and defense would surely rank amongst the best ever written on bridge. He has recently written “Tips on bidding” and “Tips on competitive bidding’, but today’s deal comes from the third, “Tips on Cardplay.”

The correct defense to four hearts starts with the lead of the spade king, on which East plays the queen. The queen here shows the jack and tells West that he can underlead the ace if he wishes. It is not, repeat, not, a suit preference signal. West does want to put East in, so he leads a spade to East’s jack. If East leads a diamond now, West will score a diamond trick along with the club ace, to set the game.

But how East should know to return a diamond and not a club? Answer: West will tell East which suit to shift to by leading a suit preference card at the second trick. If West wants a club return, he will lead the spade two. If West wants a diamond return, he will continue with the spade nine, as here. So East should finds the killing diamond switch at trick three.

Why is the play to the second trick suit preference, but not at trick one? A tough question, but in essence, on the first play in any suit if continuation makes sense, the basic signal is first attitude, then count if attitude is already defined. However, where your holding is precisely defined and you have a choice of winners or losers to play on subsequent tricks, that is where suit preference kicks in.


It looks obvious to pass with such a weak hand. But it is good bidding tactics to raise partner with a weak hand and support. Your failure to make a cuebid raise suggests strictly limited values – say, less than 9 HCP. The higher you raise, the harder you make it for the opponents to get together in a major.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, May 2nd, 2016

What each man does is based not on certain and direct knowledge but on pictures made by himself or given to him.

Walter Lippmann


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

A

Even the most far-sighted of defenders can’t see one another’s hands, but they can often show precisely what they have, so long as they put together a sensible suite of agreements.

A sound agreement is that if you lead an anti-system high honor – should your normal style be to lead the king from A-K-x, then if you lead the ace and follow with the king — it shows the bare ace-king. Equally, if you lead the ace from ace-king, then switch to another suit, that promises a singleton.

This agreement is critical to defeating three hearts here, which looks a solid enough contract – the only worrying feature being possible ruffs for defense.

This pair of defenders were playing king from ace-king, so when West led the diamond ace East was immediately alerted to the possibility of there being a possible ruff for the defenders in either diamonds or spades.

Declarer’s concerns were soon realized when, at trick two, West switched to the spade three. East won with the ace, and although South tried to muddy the waters by following with the five, concealing the deuce, East was not fooled. West would have cashed both his diamonds if he had a doubleton, so his short suit had to be spades.

He returned his lowest spade, the four, suit preference for clubs. West ruffed, and trusting his partner’s signal, underled his club king. East won with the ace and returned another spade. West’s second ruff saw the contract drift one down.

Of course if West tries to cash a second diamond, declarer waltzes home with 10 tricks.


Since your partner is guaranteed to hold three spades, dummy rates to have three spades, and relatively short hearts. Declarer will have four spades and a weak hand, so you want to avoid taking finesses for declarer. My instinct is to lead trumps and prevent declarer from scoring his spades singly.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 6 3
 Q 10 8 3
 Q 8 2
♣ Q J 5
South West North East
  1 ♣ Dbl. Pass
1 Dbl. Pass 1 ♠
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, May 1st, 2016

In an intermediate-caliber Club Pairs game my partner dealt himself: ♠ A-2, 5-3, A-K-J-7, ♣ K-Q-10-9-4. What is this hand worth on opening bid, and how do you plan to rebid after a major-suit response?

Chock Full o’Nuts, Macon, Ga.

The combination of a 5-4-2-2 pattern and a small doubleton, coupled with an easy way to show extras, makes this a ‘no-contest’. Open one club and rebid two diamonds over either major-suit response or over a response of one no-trump. You could easily persuade me to open one no-trump, if you switched round the heart five and club king.

When responding to a no-trump with a long major I’ve been accustomed to transferring at the two level, then jumping to game. Is this best, or is a treatment someone recommended to me, of Texas Transfers, a sounder idea?

Dump Truck, Great Falls, Mont.

In a strong no-trump base it might certainly make sense to use direct four-level transfers to the majors with no slam interest, or when about to follow up with an ace-ask, having set the major as trump. Meanwhile, a two-level transfer followed by a raise to game is a mild slam-try with a six-card suit, while a two-level transfer if followed by four no-trump is quantitative not Blackwood. And for the record, a transfer and jump to the four level in a new suit is a self-agreeing splinter. This also applies to a transfer to spades followed by a jump in hearts.

At a recent session of rubber bridge we had quite a few throwins/all pass. During the postmortem it was observed that we rarely see or hear about this by experts (probably because such hands don’t make the highlight reel). My question is, how common is this in an expert game?

No Bid for Bacon, Boca Raton, Fla.

These days in third or fourth seat it sometimes seems that 11-counts are opened as a matter of routine by most (though not by me, but I’m getting old). My view is that I open in third with a decent suit or moderate values. In fourth seat if my partner has passed nonvulnerable and I have 10/11 without spades, I may well pass. But I don’t pass 12-counts that often.

A multiple part question for you. At pairs you hear a minor-suit preempt to your left passed round to you. You hold: ♠ A-8-2, A-5-3-2, Q-5-3, ♣ K-9-4. Would you ever balance over a preempt in clubs or diamonds at the three-level… or over a two diamond preempt? Would the vulnerability affect your choice?

Truly Scrumptious, Winston Salem, N.C.

Since I would act over a one-level minor opening in direct or balancing seat (with a double in direct seat or a balancing notrump in fourth seat) I feel as if I am almost bound to reopen, probably by doubling. If my opponents are non-vulnerable it would seem only right to pass if RHO is trapping or I’m turning a minus into a plus. And yet…I might have to read my RHO’s table-action to give you my answer. Neither doubling nor passing could be crimed.

With both sides vulnerable you hold ♠ K, J-8, K-Q-9-8-3-2, ♣ A-Q-J-2. After one spade to your left, raised to two, you bid three diamonds and hear three spades to your left. Would you bid again? And if you do act, how do you rate double, four clubs, or even three no-trump for the minors?

Pat the Dog, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Pass feels wrong, so I would act; but double guarantees heart length, so that is out. Thus the choice is reduced to four clubs or three no-trump, which in my book would show diamonds with secondary clubs. That looks too good to be true, doesn’t it? But I don’t see the catch — unless you think three no-trump is to play. I do not.


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, April 30th, 2016

What I want is men who will support me when I am in the wrong.

Lord Melbourne


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

9

The original journalist who reported this deal was Dick Cummings of Australia.

He focused on it as a beautiful defensive hand, but there may be an even more subtle point in the play for declarer.

At the table, South was at the helm in four spades. The opening lead was the heart nine to the 10, followed by the heart ace. Since East had a choice of high hearts to lead, his selection of the very largest was designed to suggest a preference for the higher of the unbid suits, namely he liked diamonds more than clubs.

South ruffed the second heart with the spade jack, and West made the second thoughtful play for the defense when he discarded. Rather than cross to dummy to tackle trumps from the board, declarer concealed the position in the minors by playing the trump ace, followed by the 10. West won his spade queen, and switched accurately to a diamond. Now a third heart by East forced declarer to ruff with his last intermediate spade, which promoted the trump eight to the setting trick.

Very nicely defended but both South at the table and Cummings in his report had missed the point that declarer should have discarded a diamond at trick two.

This play is extremely unlikely to cost a trick, but it has the effect of cutting communications between the defenders’ hands. When West wins the spade queen, he can no longer reach his partner for the play of the third heart.


You might pass, hoping the opponents stop in three spades. In reality, though, the opponents are about to bid (and will be favorites to make) four spades. But if you can persuade your partner to lead a diamond, you might well beat this contract. The best way to do so is to bid four diamonds now, meaning this as a heart fit with lead-directing values in diamonds. As a passed hand, this must show heart fit.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 4 3
 J 8 5 2
 K Q J 7
♣ K 7 3
South West North East
Pass Pass 3 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: Friday, April 29th, 2016

Many things happen between the cup and the lip.

Robert Burton


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

Q

There are some hands where it may be better to be in a grand slam, or a safe game, than in a small slam. This might apply on a hand where the defenders establish a winner at once, and declarer needs a finesse to make either 11 or 13 tricks. Today’s deal has something in common with that idea, but South missed the point, and it proved fatal to his slam.

Most North-South pairs stopped at three no-trump here, but one pair imaginatively ventured into six hearts. West led the diamond queen, and declarer won and crossed to the heart 10. He took the spade finesse successfully, cashed the spade ace and ruffed a spade on the table. There were not enough entries to hand to ruff the last spade and draw trump, so South followed with three rounds of trump. East discarded two diamonds, and the 4-2 club break left South a trick short.

While the spade finesse was necessary (since five club tricks, four trumps and two aces adds up only to 11 tricks) South’s line of play stood to yield either 11 or 13 tricks, never 12.

To give himself the chance of some added pressure if the clubs do not break, South must duck the opening lead, to correct the timing for a squeeze. West can do no better than lead a second top diamond. Now declarer finesses in spades, cashes the ace and ruffs a spade, then runs the trump. On the fourth heart, East has to unguard either spades or clubs, and declarer has the rest.


Your chances of making game in a major suit may not be good, but it would be somewhat cowardly to pass out one diamond here, and raising diamonds or bidding no-trump is certainly unattractive. I’d risk introducing hearts, hoping partner can come again. A cuebid of two clubs is a plausible if aggressive alternative.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A Q 9 7
 A K J 9
 A 5 4
♣ 6 2
South West North East
      1 ♣
Dbl. 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, April 28th, 2016

Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don’t have brains enough to be honest.

Benjamin Franklin


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

♠7

Even at favorable vulnerability I’d require a better hand than South’s on which to overcall at the two level. However, South can catch up at his next turn and reach a sensible game.

Against four hearts East wins the first trick with the spade queen and returns a low trump; plan the play. It is clear that East has three black winners, and he must be expecting to win those tricks. Given that West is clearly short in spades, why isn’t East trying to find that setting trick in the form of a trump, by cashing his three black suit winners and then leading a third spade, hoping that West can ruff higher than the dummy? Such a plan would work if West had any trump honor.

Assuming that East is a competent player, there can be only one reason for his failure to try this plan: East knows that it cannot possibly work. East must hold the heart queen-jack himself, and he therefore knows that his partner probably cannot over-ruff the dummy.

If East had led three rounds of spades, his partner would have had to make it obvious to you that East had the heart queen-jack. Now South would be warned that two trump finesse were necessary to pick up the suit.

So East is leading trump to force South to make up his mind before all of the facts are in. However, South must realize why East is avoiding the obvious defense, and therefore South must play low from hand and run the lead to dummy’s 10.


If I had to guess, I would expect partner (who has made a take-out double then showed extras), to have one spade, and that while we might beat four spades on heart ruffs, we will come close to making a minor-suit game. So I think it is right (especially at teams or rubber) to bid four no-trump to get partner to pick a minor.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.

Eldridge Cleaver


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

♠J

When South opens one notrump, North can see that his side’s combined count is not enough to think seriously about a slam. He might have come to a different conclusion without his values in the short suits, but as it is, he should be satisfied to settle for the no-trump game.

After the initial spade lead, the fact that South has a doubleton spade in each hand means he can only count on winning two spades and four clubs. Hence, he needs to develop three tricks in the red suits.

The diamonds should provide the necessary tricks, unless East has four or more diamonds headed by the A-10. There is no danger if West has such a diamond holding, since South will eventually be able to finesse in the suit, using dummy’s diamond nine.

To guard against all the dangerous diamond breaks — except the bare ace with West — South must lead diamonds from the dummy. East ducks, since playing the ace would permit South to preserve his king and jack. South wins the first diamond with the king and can then return to dummy to lead another diamond.

Once again, (as the cards lie) East must play low, and South wins with the jack. West’s discard reveals the bad break, and South now knows that he cannot develop the diamonds in time to make the contract.

However, he can now switch his attention to hearts, and by leading that suit, he will come to his ninth trick — just in time.


You could persuade me that it was right to rebid one no-trump, which limits the hand and protects the heart king, and yet…my strong belief is that 5-4-2-2 pattern is more suitable for a trump contract than for notrump. This club suit is too good to ignore, and we might easily belong in clubs (or diamonds) but be unable to get there after a one no-trump rebid here.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 4
 K 6
 Q 9 5 3 2
♣ K Q 10 6
South West North East
      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: Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Yet everybody says I’m such a disagreeable man! And I can’t think why!

W. S. Gilbert


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

*Majors

There’s the rub!

This column does not always agree with the experts. In today’s deal, from the semi-finals of the NEC teams I was shocked to see two of the four Souths opening two clubs here. Both players ran into competition and were forced to describe their hand as an equal two-suiter, and in one case North ended up in six clubs (down like a stone), in one case six diamonds.

Of course six clubs isn’t much worse than six diamonds – since if clubs are 5-0, surely West could double six diamonds by North for the lead. Not today, apparently, since where North played six diamonds, West didn’t double, and East tried to cash the spade ace instead of leading a club. Since six clubs had gone four down, that was a 15 IMP swing to the eventual winners of the tournament.

In our other match, both tables managed the auction more intelligently. They reached six diamonds from the South seat, their sides’ best contract. Both Wests tried to put their partner in for the club ruff. One West led the spade nine, finding his partner with the spade ace – but that was not enough today. In the other room Sjoert Brink of the Netherlands led a low heart away from his ace. Bas Drijver could win his heart king, and then had no trouble in working out why his partner had such a degree of urgency to put him on lead. He played a club to give his partner the ruff, for a huge pickup for his team.


The double of four hearts is for take-out, but there are limits to when you have to obey your partner; and my guess is that this hand is far more suitable for defense than offence. My weak spades and trump winner suggest passing the double makes more sense than bidding here.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 7 6 5 2
 Q J 5
 Q 10 4
♣ Q 6 2
South West North East
  4 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.