Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, March 31st, 2014

'The game,' he said, 'is never lost till it's won.'

George Crabbe


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

*Game-forcing spade raise

♣5

North-South have a big spade fit and a decent number of high-cards, but with matching red-suit shapes and wasted values in spades, game is a fairly delicate spot.

When West leads the club five against four spades, declarer has to finesse at once, with prospects extremely slim if it fails. However, when dummy’s queen wins the trick, he is in good shape to bring home the game if he is careful. Before you read on, have a look at the full deal and consider what your best plan is.

At the table declarer drew trump, then relied on the diamonds to behave, and was disappointed at the result. In essence South was following a 50 percent line. Instead, after drawing trump, play the club ace and ruff a club, eliminating that suit altogether, and then play ace and another heart.

The defenders can take their two heart winners, but will then have to break the diamonds or give a ruff and discard. As the cards lie, the best the defenders can do is to have East win the third heart and play a low diamond, but declarer will put in the 10 and cannot misguess on the next round. Without seeing all four hands, West would probably win the third heart and lead a low diamond, playing his partner for the A-10. Either way, declarer comes home with his game, remembering that it is always better to have the opponents lead a critical suit than to have to broach it yourself.


The lead of the spade ace may not cost, but it does not feel right to go after such a broken suit. (Declarer's spade losers will go away only if declarer can run clubs for discards.) A trump feels no safer, so I guess I'm forced to lead a low club, though I can't say I like it.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ A J 9 6 3
 J 7
 A J 8
♣ Q 5 3
South West North East
1♠ Dbl. 2♠ 3
Pass 4 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, March 30th, 2014

What does a transfer in response to an opening no-trump guarantee in terms of high cards? And how about a Stayman response?

Minnie Mouse, Woodland Hills, Calif.

A transfer shows five cards or more in the implied major, typically six in a minor. (If you don't play minor-suit transfers, ignore this clause!) But it guarantees absolutely NOTHING about high cards! Responder's plan should be to describe his range at the next turn — be it to play, invite to game, or drive to slam. Opener simply obeys the transfer whether he likes it or not, and awaits further information. Some play that Stayman always guarantees an invitation or better; I don't.

I held ♠ J-10-3,  Q-5-3,  A-9-5, ♣ Q-10-3-2, and heard my LHO open one diamond. My partner bid one spade and the next hand bid three diamonds, weak. Should I have raised to three spades, or passed, or doubled?

Lumber Yard, Denver, Colo.

In competition one can be pushed to a single level higher than you intended to bid, but not two levels. Since you would happily have bid two spades over two diamonds, take the push to three spades. For the record, double here shows a good hand, primarily for takeout, perhaps a king better than your actual hand.

What sort of hand should I have expected from my partner when he passed over one diamond on his right, but then doubled when his LHO responded in spades and his RHO raised that suit?

Backed into a Corner, Franklin, Tenn.

Normally, the only hands you pass on initially, then double in a live auction like this (as opposed to an auction where you are balancing after two passes) are those where you are long in the opponents' first-bid suit, short in the suit they have bid and raised. Here a perfect hand would be a 1-4-4-4 shape with 13-plus HCP.

With both sides vulnerable I was dealt ♠ J-10-3,  5,  A-10-8-6-4-3-2, ♣ Q-4, and elected to open a three-level pre-empt. My partner complained that I should have had a better suit. What do you think?

Frisky, Dover, Del.

Nonvulnerable in first or second seat, and in third seat at any vulnerability, bidding three diamonds seems right. Vulnerable in first seat one might open only two diamonds with such a flawed suit, and in second seat the weak-two seems clearly right (in fact passing would not be totally unreasonable there — though I must admit I am rarely that disciplined).

My partner had the following hand: ♠ K-Q-10-9,  A-J-9-4-3,  6-5, ♣ 10-4. After three passes she also passed, giving us a below average in an otherwise really good session. Would you open this hand? Knowing the field was not too good, would it make a difference?

Mill Stone, Hoboken, N.J.

Yes I would open — though I might open one spade I admit, to facilitate the rebid. It is very close, but note that it is more tempting to open vulnerable than at favorable vulnerability. The logic is that partner rates to be the one who might pass the 11 count. When the opponents don't bid and are non-vulnerable, they rarely have even moderately good hands anymore.


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, March 29th, 2014

I try not to be surprised. Surprise is the public face of a mind that has been closed.

Bernard Beckett


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

*High-card heart raise to two hearts

7

Can you spot the winning defense in this deal from the 0-10,000 MP Swiss at Saint Louis last spring? It looks normal enough — if slightly aggressive — to reach four spades with the North-South cards. All it appears to need is a decent break in trumps, so you would probably want to be in game.

On a heart lead, South ruffed as East deceptively played his king (disguising the position of the minor honors in the suit) and elected to play the club queen. Quite reasonably he assumed that he could always play on diamonds later, and that he might learn something to his advantage if he went after clubs first.

West correctly ducked the first club, then when South persisted with his attack on clubs, won the club king with the ace, East suggesting a doubleton in the process. What should West do now?

At the table West played a diamond and declarer took 11 tricks. But the winning answer (though you might argue that this would be impossible to find at the table) is to play the third club to let partner discard a diamond. Then you must find the Merrimac coup of shifting to the diamond king to remove the entry to the clubs from dummy.

If declarer ducks to preserve his entry, you must play another diamond, and now dummy is dead. By virtue of his diamond discard, your partner can now overruff any attempt to ruff a diamond in dummy. Beautiful, isn’t it?


You should not seriously consider passing here. Partner's reopening double suggests shortage and normal defense, but your weak trumps are not really enough to consider playing for penalties. The same hand with the club queen instead of the two might come closer. Bid two hearts now.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 5 3
 10 8 6 2
 A 9
♣ 7 5 4 3 2
South West North East
1♠ 2♣
Pass Pass Dbl. Pass
?      

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

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, March 28th, 2014

Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.

Henry David Thoreau


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

*Clubs

**Short spades, without four hearts

♠Q

The second placed team in one of the major national events from last spring nationals at St. Louis, wrote ruefully about the one that got away. As the writer indicated, no one likes to lose an event by one victory point. Had his team got this deal right against the eventual winners, it would have swung 16 victory points in their favor, turning a 13-7 loss into a 15-5 win. That would have meant they finished first by a single victory point.

At the writer’s table, the transfer auction had put South as declarer and the play was straightforward. South won the spade lead and ruffed a spade, then cashed two trumps. He followed up with three rounds of diamonds (ruffing the third in hand), ruffed a spade to reach dummy, and then could run the heart 10 and claim his 12 tricks. West was forced either to return a heart into declarer’s tenace, or give a ruff-sluff that would allow the heart loser to be discarded from dummy.

At the other table, Barbara Kasle and Drew Cannell for the victorious Koslove team reached slam, after a different transfer auction, one in which North was declarer, having shown a singleton spade and a diamond control.

Now an initial heart lead would have set the slam and swung 17 IMPs, but after a diamond lead, Cannell duplicated the line of play from the other room, to achieve the same endplay and flatten the board.


You cannot support spades or bid no-trump, so the choice is to temporize with a cuebid or to repeat clubs, or even to raise diamonds. I'd like a minor honor in hearts for the cuebid and raising diamonds should show four, so I'm forced to repeat clubs. At least the spots are good!

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9
 10 9 4
 A K 8
♣ K Q 10 9 5 3
South West North East
1♣ 1 1♠ Pass
2♣ Pass 2 Pass
?      

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

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, March 27th, 2014

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

Samuel Smiles


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

♣10

Almost a complete top swung on a rather subtle point of defense in this deal from the open pairs at Saint Louis last spring.

As East, you feel obliged to compete again when the opponents come to a stop in two spades. You bid two no-trump as takeout with four hearts, which shows your shape nicely — if perhaps suggesting a somewhat better hand than you actually have.

Your partner apparently takes you seriously when he doubles the opponents in three spades, then leads the club 10 against this contract. You can cash two clubs, everyone following. What should you do next? It seems normal enough to play a third club winner, doesn’t it? On this trick, East pitches a heart, while your partner also discards a heart, the eight, playing standard signals. Now what should you do?

The answer is that you’d better lead a fourth club! Declarer can ruff with the spade queen or 10, but West will complete his partner’s good work by establishing a trump promotion when he discards on this trick.

At this point West’s spade K-9-6 will be good for two trump tricks once East produces that invaluable spade jack. But note that if West overruffs at his first turn, he has undone all his partner’s efforts; the second spade trick now vanishes. This maneuver of building an extra trump winner by forcing declarer or dummy to waste a high honor, then refusing to overruff, is one of the most satisfying forms of trump promotion.


It may be very tempting to jump to three no-trump, but you cannot really be sure of the right strain or level here. If you play two-over-one, you can bid a forcing two no-trump. If not, temporize with a call of two hearts, the fourth suit, to set up a game force. You can then rebid no-trump to leave the door open for a possible club slam.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

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

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

There is only one kind of shock worse than the totally unexpected: the expected for which one has refused to prepare.

Mary Renault


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

4

Sam Loyd, the American puzzler, was adept at posing puzzles that produced unexpected answers. With that in mind, consider this deal from the pairs at the St. Louis Nationals. At double-dummy, three no-trump by East looks to be playable — though only because of the 7-0 diamond break, of course. You need only a smidgen of luck in the clubs and hearts, but do not appear to be in luck today. However, three no-trump did indeed make on the deal when Mark Feldman was North and Billy Pollack was South. How did that happen, given that the two players are top experts?

The answer is that it was Pollack who played three no-trump as South, on the auction shown. The defenders led a low heart to the 10 and ace. You and I would try to win the heart continuation, then run diamonds — but the opponents might object. So how would you get to dummy to cash that diamond suit?

Well, at trick two, East could see diamonds were running, so decided desperate measures were called for. A spade shift might look best to you or me, at both first or second glance, but East switched to the club 10, hoping to find his partner with the goods there.

As declarer, Pollack followed smartly with the eight. To clarify the position, West overtook with the club jack and continued with the queen! Pollack won, crossed to dummy with his “sure” entry of the club seven and ran the diamonds for nine tricks. Easy game, bridge!


This hand is too good for an invitational jump to two hearts because of the fifth trump. In my book a three-heart call is not pre-emptive, but a sound invitation with a five-card suit. Check whether your partner has read the same book! If not, you must choose between the game force via the cue-bid, and the heavy jump to two hearts.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 9 7
 A Q 8 6 5
 J 10 5
♣ 10 4
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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace
The day’s disasters in his morning face.

Oliver Goldsmith


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

*Invitational or better in spades

♣K

Today's deal sees one of the top pairs in the country with egg all over their faces. The deal comes from the Vanderbilt Trophy, the major knockout event of the Saint Louis Nationals last March.

Put yourself in West’s shoes. Because you haven’t agreed whether two no-trump over a possibly short opening bid of one club is for the red suits or the minors, you overcall one heart and find yourself defending four spades. The club king lead goes to the four, two and seven, with partner’s two being discouraging.

Accordingly, you shift to a low heart, which goes to the two in dummy, and declarer takes partner’s nine with the ace. Are you still thinking? Next, declarer leads the diamond ace, drawing the two, five and seven; then the diamond six comes next, and you follow with the three. Now what?

Whatever you do, it is too late. Declarer didn’t ruff the diamond six; instead he pitched dummy’s club to execute a Scissors Coup, cutting your communications with your partner. After the club discard from dummy, the heart ruff has disappeared. Your partner can win the spade ace, but cannot find a way back to your hand.

Contract made — and the author of the play described it as an immaterial coup. Why? Because at the other table his teammates had bid and made five diamonds with the East-West cards, to collect plus 600. As a consequence, even if the game had gone down, declarer would have gained a sizeable swing.


Your partner's double is not specifically for penalties. It suggests extra values and a balanced hand, not trump tricks, and in context (though you have your defensive tricks in your short suits); your spade void argues for bidding on. My best guess would be to bid five diamonds — though I admit you could easily be converting a plus score into a minus score.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠  —
 J 8 6 4 3
 J 9 4 3 2
♣ A K 5
South West North East
1♠ Dbl. 3♠
4 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, March 24th, 2014

If it's the thought that counts, why are there fingers?

A. A. Milne


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

K

In today's deal from last year's Saint Louis Nationals, consider East's problem defending four spades. Your partner leads the diamond king, and when it holds, he continues with the jack. Declarer wins and draws trump in three rounds, partner following as you pitch encouraging hearts, then ruffs the third diamond to hand.

At this point South exits with a low heart. Your partner puts up the queen and plays a second heart to you, declarer following again. You have reached a five-card ending with dummy holding a trump and four clubs, while you have two hearts and three clubs.

At the table, East exited with a low club. Declarer’s jack held, and now South’s only concern was if one defender had all the remaining three clubs. Whatever he did, he couldn’t go wrong.

In this ending, a slightly more thoughtful player would have exited with the club queen, protecting against the possibility that his partner had jack-third or jack-doubleton of clubs left. Now declarer would have a losing option as to which hand to win the club shift in.

However, a defender who paused to count would know that declarer rated to hold precisely 5-2-2-4 distribution — and if not, he would have a third heart. Either way, continuing with a third heart wouldn’t help him at all, since a ruff-sluff would give him an irrelevant discard. If West had the club jack, this beats the contract by force; if not, declarer is on a club guess.


I'm not enthusiastic about leading a diamond — your RHO rates to have a decent holding, if not necessarily length in that suit. Though your spades are better, leading a heart offers a better chance to set the game, since you may subsequently be able to get in with the spade ace if a heart lead sets up the suit for you.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ A 9 5
 Q 4 3
 J 9 6 2
♣ 10 5 4
South West North East
Pass 1♣ Pass 3 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

When is it right not to lead a count card against suits or no-trump at the first trick? And does it matter whether you are playing fourth-highest leads or third- and- fifth leads?

Spot the Dog, Durango, Colo.

Playing third- and- fifth leads, you should always lead the true count card if you don't have a sequence. The exception is that from three or four small in a suit you have bid or raised, you might lead the top card. Playing fourth highest, I tend to lead second only from four or five against no-trump, and then only when I have a second suit I might want partner to shift to.

When you respond one spade to one club and hear the next hand overcall two hearts, passed back to you, what should you bid when holding ♠ Q-9-7-3-2,  A-J-7,  Q-9-4, ♣ J-10? I thought the choice was to repeat my suit or try two no-trump. What do you think?

Fighting Ferdinand, Augusta, Ga.

It cannot be absurd to pass out the deal. Is your side really that likely to make game? Even if not playing support doubles (where partner's double of two hearts would show three spades) repeating that feeble suit looks a little rich, and since double is takeout here, I'm left with two no-trump as the least offensive action, if I bid at all.

I know transfers and Stayman apply after an opening bid at no-trump. Do they apply after an overcall in no-trump? And in an uncontested auction where opener makes a simple or jump rebid at no-trump after a pair of suits have been bid, is there any place for subsequent use of transfers?

Wheels Within Wheels, Waterbury, Conn.

The simple answer to your question is yes, use the same system of Stayman and transfers after an overcall in no-trump. But although you can use transfers in an uncontested auction after a rebid at no-trump, this requires detailed agreements, and has only marginal benefits. You can see a discussion of this here.

Holding ♠ Q-8-2,  A-Q-4-3,  J-7, ♣ K-J-9-4, I opened one club and bid one heart over my partner's response of one diamond. When he jumped to three clubs, I knew I had a little extra, but I thought I had already shown clubs and hearts since I did not rebid one no-trump at my second turn. So I passed and found that three no-trump had 11 tricks when the finesse for the club queen was onside. Did I undercook my hand?

Lying Low, Orlando, Fla.

I might have taken a shot at three no-trump with your hand if I had held the spade 10 instead of the two. But as it was, I agree with your valuation. You had indeed suggested at least as much shape as you actually had, and partner could have used fourth-suit if he wanted to force to game.

I noticed that at a recent world championship in Bali, our men did not win a medal. Where do they stand in the world rankings currently?

Need to Know, Twin Falls, Idaho

Before I answer that, I should congratulate our women and seniors on their gold and silver medals respectively. Having said that, our men are still in the top five teams — Netherlands, Italy, Monaco and Poland have all been very successful recently, with Sweden in the mix as well.


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, March 22nd, 2014

But once in a while the odd thing happens,
Once in a while the dream comes true,
And the whole pattern of life is altered,
Once in a while the moon turns blue.

W.H. Auden


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

♠Q

When the spade queen is led against four hearts, it seems you need the diamond ace to be onside, since you have one club and two diamonds to lose.

However, you have two extra chances: The first is that if West has both club honors, you might throw him in on the third round of clubs, pitching a diamond from hand. But note that if West, a passed hand, holds both club honors, the diamond finesse will surely succeed.

However, there is one additional chance: that East holds the club K-Q. In that case, to prevent East from gaining the lead and firing a diamond through you, the opening lead should be ducked in both hands! Win the next spade in hand, lead the heart jack to dummy’s queen, then play the club two. If the club honors are split so that West wins the first club, you will dispose of a diamond on the spade ace, cash the club ace (in case the remaining club honor falls), then fall back on the diamond finesse.

As the cards lie, though, East must split his honors. Take East’s queen with the ace, play the heart king to the ace, then throw the club jack on the spade ace and lead the club 10.

After ruffing out the club king with a high heart, you can cross to dummy’s heart 10 and pitch a diamond on dummy’s master club. Now you may lead a diamond to the king to play for the overtrick.


A response of one heart tends to show five or more cards, but here the five-card restriction should be waived, since your four-card suit looks very much like five. This is surely the best way to get your values across, when coupled with diamond support at your next turn.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 7 3
 A Q 10 4
 6 3 2
♣ 10 9 2
South West North East
1♣ 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.