Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 14th, 2019

‘Tis hard if all is false that I advance, A fool must now and then be right by chance.

William Cowper


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

Q

West was asleep at the wheel on today’s deal, in which South landed in four spades after his partner’s pre-emptive raise. It is unusual to make such a bid with three kings, but North felt he had to drive to game and had no other way to do so without overstating his high cards.

The lead of the diamond queen went to the ace, and East, unwilling to open up the hearts, returned a diamond. Declarer could see that he would need to resort to a swindle. He won and, since a heart would give the defenders too many chances to play that suit, immediately led a deceptive club jack to the king and East’s ace. Back came another club to South’s queen, and now declarer advanced the heart 10.

After West played small, not wanting to save South a guess if he had the jack-10, declarer went up with the king. He then drew trumps in two rounds, cashed the club nine and put West in with the heart ace to generate the critical ruff-and-discard.

Declarer had done well to play a heart to put West to the test at a moment when he did not yet know much about the hand, but West should not have fallen for it. He needed his partner to have the heart queen, but when there is a decision between making a legitimate play and one that requires an incorrect guess on an opponent’s part, one should opt for the legitimate line. Had West acknowledged this, he would have gone up with the heart ace, escaping the endplay and ensuring a second heart trick for the defense.



Your hand should fit your partner’s well, with all of your high cards in his long suits. You cannot afford to pass — you must make sure the opponents stay out and see whether your side can make game. The only question is how much to bid. With an extra queen, you would bid the “impossible” two spades to show a value raise to three diamonds. As it is, a direct raise to three diamonds suffices.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 4 2
 A 4
 Q J 10 2
♣ 8 7 6 4 2
South West North East
      Pass
Pass Pass 1 Pass
1 NT 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Time is the school in which we learn, Time is the fire in which we burn.

Delmore Schwartz


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

*Four-card raise

♠7

Knowing his partner had a bust, West eschewed a club lead against four spades in favor of what he hoped would be a passive trump. South won in hand, cashed the spade 10 (West throwing the diamond queen) and led a heart toward dummy.

West could now place all the missing minor-suit honors with South, and the impending danger was clear. If he played small on the heart, he would eventually be thrown in, whether it be on the next heart (should South be 5=2=2=4) or on the third round of clubs (if South had temporized with three clubs on a 5=3=2=3 shape).

So West inserted the heart queen, hoping to create an entry to his partner’s hand with the jack. Declarer won dummy’s king and returned the suit, but East alertly hopped up with the jack to shift to the diamond two. Unwilling to present East with another entry, South played small. After winning cheaply, West cashed the diamond ace and played a third diamond, giving South a useless ruff-and-discard. West had seen his partner show an even number of hearts, so there was little danger in letting declarer pitch a club from either hand. When the club ace-king failed to drop the queen, declarer conceded defeat.

If West had played small on the first heart and been thrown in with the second heart, declarer could have afforded to guess incorrectly on a low club shift. Then, eventually, he could have put West back in with the club queen to open up the diamonds or give him a helpful ruff-andsluff.



You should overcall two spades. With fair values and a four-card suit on the side, this is a perfectly respectable overcall. Good things happen when you get the boss suit into the game, as your chances of winning the auction are good. If not, this is still likely to make it harder for your opponents to find their best fit.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 10 6 5 2
 10 2
 K 3
♣ A K 5 2
South West North East
      1 NT
?      

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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

To find a young fellow that is neither a wit in his own eye, nor a fool in the eye of the world, is a very hard thing.

William Congreve


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

*Four-card raise

♣2

Even playing a sound style, many would open today’s North hand. But after North’s disciplined pass, South made a simple overcall of one spade. West stretched to two diamonds, and North bid two no-trump, conventionally showing a constructive four-card spade raise. South then took a shot at game; a threeheart bid might have helped his partner (but also the opponents) to judge the hand.

Declarer won the club lead and ruffed a club with a middle trump, crossed to dummy with a heart to ruff the last club, then cashed the spade ace-king. He next got off lead with a heart, taken by West’s king, who was now forced to open up the diamonds.

Declarer still had a guess as to which diamond honor West held, but decided that it was unlikely that East would have rebid three clubs with just a 10-count. He played small from dummy and landed the game.

Well played by South, but West had a slim chance to defeat him. Had he imagined the position, West could have freed himself of the heart king on the first round of the suit. Then East could win the second heart, cash the heart queen and exit with a fourth round. South’s heart nine would be set up, but for no useful discard, and declarer would have been left to open up the diamonds for himself.

While that would have been the winning defense today, it would have looked silly if declarer had two small diamonds and the heart jack, so we can hardly blame West for his actions.



Respond one no-trump. This is not worth a two-level response, with soft values in the black suits and an average long suit, even if you don’t play the sequence as game forcing. Bidding one no-trump, followed by two diamonds over partner’s two-club rebid, is fine. If partner does not act over two diamonds, you will not miss anything.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 6
 K 10
 Q 10 9 6 3 2
♣ J 4 2
South West North East
    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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, November 11th, 2019

Laughter is humanity’s mechanism to escape suffering.

Deepak Chopra


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

*Spades and a minor

♠2

This week’s deals are all about breaking up endplays. Defenders often have the chance to avert the embarrassment of a forced ruff-and-discard or leading into a tenace, but all too often the escape is only found in the postmortem.

Here, when South played three no-trump after a two-suited opening by East, West had been put off his natural (and fatal) heart lead. West led a third-and-fifth spade two, East’s jack holding the trick. East continued with the spade queen, West following with the five. Now East had a lot of choices, but he eventually cleared spades, leading the eight (his middle card) to advertise a diamond entry.

Declarer next ran off all his clubs. West could easily part with two hearts and a diamond, but the fourth discard was crucial. A heart would make it easy for declarer, so West shed a second low diamond.

That proved to be costly when declarer’s next play was a diamond. Had West played low, declarer would have little choice but to go up with the ace and throw West in with the diamond king for a heart lead. So West played second hand high with the diamond king. Declarer countered by ducking the king, then won the next diamond and ran the heart eight to West, forcing a lead back into the heart tenace.

Since West could tell that declarer had nine tricks if he had both the diamond queen and the heart ace, he should have discarded the diamond king on the last club to escape the endplay.



Lead the club seven. East is clearly prepared for a spade lead, so unless he is playing poker with you, you should look elsewhere. A heart could be right, but partner did not bid two hearts, making that option slightly less likely. Your best bet is to establish the clubs, which requires partner to have three of them. A slim chance may be better than none!

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 4
 Q 9 7 3
 7 5
♣ J 9 8 7 6 3
South West North East
    1 ♠ Pass
Pass 2 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, November 10th, 2019

I have been taught that jumps in response to partner’s one-level opening should be weaker than a pre-empt. I know you think there is a better use for jump bids — what is your system?

Bidding on Nothing, Richmond, Va.

Weak jump responses in competitive auctions are reasonable if made by an unpassed hand. But I believe that a jump in response to an opening bid in an uncompetitive auction is best played as strong with a good suit and at least some slam interest. A jump by a passed hand or in response to an overcall shows a decent side suit and a fit for partner. More on this soon.

In third seat, after you hear partner open one club and your righthand opponent bid one spade, what would you bid with ♠ J-7,  A-Q-5-4-2,  10-3, ♣ K-10-7-6? It seems to me the options are to raise clubs, bid hearts or make a negative double — but if you double, how do you cope with a pre-emptive raise to three spades on your left?

Ant Hill, Edmonton, Alberta

Raising clubs seems wrong — you might easily miss hearts. Because of the club fit, I’d bid two hearts, planning to raise clubs later. Indeed, a fit jump to three hearts by a passed hand would be ideal, though not everybody plays them. Switch the minor suits, and double might be wiser since you have no guaranteed fit. With that hand, you can (if you want) double three spades for take-out at your next turn.

I generally manage to count trumps when I am about to draw a few rounds, but if playing a cross-ruff or needing to delay drawing trumps, I find it hard to keep track. Any advice?

Paul Poncho, Durango, Colo.

Before playing to the first trick, add up your trumps and dummy’s, and subtract that number from 13. Focus on that number from now on. So, with seven combined trumps, you keep count of the missing six. When an opponent ruffs in, the number goes to five; if you draw two rounds of trumps and one opponents shows out on the second round, then there are still two trumps outstanding.

In which seats does this hand qualify for an opening bid: ♠ A-Q-10-7-6-4,  Q,  K-9-2, ♣ 10-8-5? What call would you make?

Sensible Steve, Twin Falls, Idaho

Never, ever pass a hand with a good six-card major. Always open either one or two, since there is no gap between the ranges. This hand has a good six-card major, so I’d open it two spades in second seat vulnerable, one spade in most other positions. The idea of pre-empting with this sort of shape in third seat might make sense (especially with a long red suit as opposed to long spades).

If you decided to attack at no-trump from a three-card suit such as K-10-5, are there any scenarios in which you would lead high to try to unblock the suit? If so would the king or 10 be a better shot?

Traffic Jan, Riverside, Calif.

Before answering, I would need to know my overall strength and that of my partner, and also what kind of stopper declarer had promised. I’d tend to lead low unless I could see that my partner had so few entries that I would need to protect them. Leading the honor can cost a trick in a variety of ways, and the 10 is hard for partner to read!


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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, November 9th, 2019

Ah Love! Could you and I with Him conspire To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire, Would not we shatter it to bits — and then Remold it nearer to the Heart’s Desire!

Edward Fitzgerald


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

♣J

Omar Sharif played in the 1998 Macallan tournament with Paul Chemla, and in the spirit of true repentance, he revealed a painful mistake he had made in a column. I am passing it on so that you can learn from it. Save your trump on defense to ruff winners, they say; well, up to a point.

Against four spades, Paul Chemla led the club jack. Declarer Tony Forrester won with the ace and crossed to dummy in spades to lead the singleton diamond. What he intended to do if Sharif (East) had ducked smoothly, we will never know. In practice, Sharif must have given the show away, for when he ducked, Forrester put up the king. Next, he played the heart eight, ducking Chemla’s 10.

At this point, Sharif could see a cross-ruff looming. He carefully overtook the heart 10 with the queen to lead a trump, won in dummy. Forrester correctly led a club, and, following the general rule of not ruffing partner’s trick away, Sharif discarded. However, Forrester won his club king, ruffed a diamond, then played the heart ace and ruffed a heart. Another diamond ruff left him with the trump ace for his 10th trick.

If Sharif had trumped the second club and played his last spade, Forrester would have had only nine tricks. He would have had no extra club winners, and the defense would have simply eliminated a trump from both hands, saving a trick.

In the end, I suppose all we can say is that there is an exception to every rule in Bridge — except this one.



You should double. As a non-passed hand, you would pass or overcall one heart without the values for a take-out double (also being worried about losing a 5-3 heart fit). As a passed hand, though, you should double, to get both major suits into play. The fact that your partner is a passed hand does not mean it cannot be your hand in a majorsuit part-score. This may also push the opponents too high.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 8th, 2019

What men or gods are these? What maidens loth? What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?

John Keats


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

♠Q

Some of the most interesting positions in bridge arise when declarer is trying to create an endplay. The following deal shows the defenders needing to determine the problem and then finding the best way to escape from declarer’s toils.

South has a straightforward jump to game when North supports his hearts. If he had the same values but more quick tricks in the side suits, he might consider angling for three no-trump. With three slow side-suit tricks, the heart game should be superior in theory, but as the cards lie, the no-trump game would be easier to play.

West’s natural lead is the spade queen. Declarer wins in hand and cashes the heart aceking, East discarding a spade. South next tests spades by leading a small one to the ace and ruffing the third round. West correctly discards a club on this trick, so South now exits with a trump to West, as East throws a small club.

What is West to do now? A club is immediately fatal, of course, and any diamond up to the nine also fails to do the job. South simply covers the card in dummy, and East’s goose is cooked. No matter what East does, South can now play the diamond suit for no losers.

But what if West exits with the diamond jack? (This is the right card whether or not West has the nine, since South cannot have four diamonds or he would have maneuvered to ruff one in dummy.) Now declarer cannot avoid losing three tricks in the minors.



Two spades. You are allowed to have a maximum hand from time to time. It is still permitted in 27 states, I believe. Two aces and a fourth trump are big plus features, but the sterile shape should deter you from stretching to a limit raise. Especially if you play the raise as constructive, it is highly unlikely you will miss a game by doing this.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 9 7 6
 10 7 6
 A 10 7
♣ 6 5 4
South West North East
    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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 7th, 2019

The art of being able to make a good use of moderate abilities wins esteem and often confers more reputation than real merit.

Francois de la Rochefoucauld


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

6

North-South did not reach the best spot here, but careful play saw them home. Some Souths (including me) would raise one spade to two, but the featured declarer preferred to rebid his good six-bagger. North could have marked time with a three-club advance, but he judged the singleton queen to be ample support and raised straight to game.

When West found the best lead of a diamond, declarer won dummy’s ace and ran the heart queen. He then had to decide how to return to his hand. A diamond ruff might cede trump control, while a club might put the defenders a step ahead in the race to establish the setting trick from that suit.

South decided that even if the defense could take a spade ruff, it would probably be from trump length not shortness, leaving declarer with just one subsequent trump loser. So South called for a low spade from dummy. When his queen held, he cashed the heart ace and reverted back to spades, to try to establish his pitch for the club loser.

East took the spade ace and switched to a club, but declarer rose with the ace, keeping a late entry to dummy for the spades. East trumped the third round of spades and tried to cash the diamond king. Declarer ruffed, gave up a heart trick, and claimed the rest.

Had South played a club to the ace at trick three, the defense would have been a tempo ahead. East would win the second spade to set up a club trick, then ruff the third spade to cash the club.



You cannot pass here. You could raise to two spades, overstating your spade support and understating your high-card points; bid one no-trump, for which your hand is ideal, minus a club stopper; or cue-bid two clubs, for which you really need a third spade. All choices are flawed, but the one-no-trump advance feels the least deficient. If West has long clubs, he may bid again and let you off the hook.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 7
 K 10 5 2
 K J 9 5
♣ 7 6 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Everyone who receives the protection of society owes a return for the benefit.

John Stuart Mill


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

*Spades and a minor

**Maximum with clubs

5

Safety plays are all well and good, but it pays to know when to use them.

North-South did well to brush aside the strong no-trump opening to reach a perfect-fitting game on this hand from the White House Juniors. South’s two spades promised a minor suit, and North — expecting his trump support, side ace and fitting honor in either minor to be useful — inquired with two no-trump. South had extra shape and all of his honors in his long suits, so he correctly showed a maximum with clubs. That was all North needed to hear.

The heart lead was won in dummy, and declarer saw that, apart from the three top losers in the minors, there was nothing to worry about but the trumps. Needing to avoid a loser with this spade combination, one would usually play them from the top, but when the hand on your right is known to be balanced and strong, the odds are clearly in favor of a finesse. Still, declarer would like to cash one top spade before finessing, in case West has a singleton queen.

Declarer looked deeper into the situation, though, and saw that he could not afford this safety play, for he might not be able to get back to dummy conveniently. East could have the doubleton club ace; if so, he would duck the club queen, take the second round, then tap the South hand and later over-ruff the dummy on the third club.

Judging this club layout to be more likely than a singleton spade queen on his left, declarer ran the spade jack at trick two and scored up his game without a fuss.



Overcall two no-trump. It may not be elegant, but you should strive to make the value bid when you can. Your hand is barely worth this call, but if you pass and partner has 9 to 13 high-card points with three or more spades, he will surely pass, and you can kiss your game bonus goodbye. Should you take this action if your partner is a passed hand? Maybe not!

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 6 2
 Q 10 8 6
 A K 7 5
♣ A 9
South West North East
      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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

When men grow virtuous in their old age, they only Make a sacrifice to God of the devil’s leavings.

Alexander Pope


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

*Shortage, agreeing hearts

J

When South responds one heart to one club, North jumps to three diamonds. Since two diamonds would be natural and forcing, it is reasonable to agree to play this as extra values with heart support and diamond shortness.

With excellent trumps and an ideal diamond holding, South can imagine a slam. He cue-bids four diamonds, then five diamonds when North signs off. This all but demands that North bid six with decent black-suit controls.

Against the slam, West leads a trump, both to protect his diamond honors and to cut down dummy’s ruffing potential. South’s best plan seems to be to trump diamonds in dummy, since taking spade ruffs in hand would promote winners for the defense.

He should aim to win two spades, his own four trumps, one top diamond, and two diamond ruffs in dummy. The problem is to make sure of three club tricks. How can South arrange to ruff a second diamond and guard against losing a club at a moment when the opponents could cash a diamond trick?

The solution is to give up a club early on while dummy can still ruff a diamond return. This solves the timing problem, even if it runs a small risk of losing to a club ruff.

He wins the trump lead, cashes the diamond ace, ruffs a diamond and leads the club jack from dummy. East can win and play another trump, but declarer wins and ruffs a second diamond. He can then use the club 10 as a re-entry to hand to draw trumps and run dummy’s clubs.



Respond one diamond. Facing an opening in first seat, it is worth responding light with a decent five-card suit, if only to make it more difficult for the opponents to get into the auction. What is more, your bid will tell partner where your values are and may direct the right lead. While partner may hope for more values from you, it is unlikely that he will hang you if the opponents compete.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 7 3
 J 10
 K 10 8 5 2
♣ 8 5 4
South West North East
    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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.