Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Great abilities are not requisite for an Historian… Imagination is not required in any high degree.

Samuel Johnson


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

♠3

Yesterday's deal from Augie Boehm's excellent new memoir, Big Deal, saw a successful bluff. Today's deal shows Boehm also using poker skills, but this time drawing the right conclusion from the 'tell' that only an expert can detect.

At the table the auction went as shown, but Boehm sensed that East had flickered before passing, and inferred that he must have been contemplating doubling three no-trump, to call for the lead of dummy’s first-bid suit, hearts. This conclusion was one Boehm drew at his own risk — if he was wrong he would have had no recourse.

At the table West led a low spade, and Boehm captured East’s king with his ace. To make the contract, Boehm apparently required East to be dealt queen-third in diamonds and West three small diamonds — no better than one chance in six. The normal line of play would be to lead to the king and finesse the jack on the way back.

But now remember East’s ‘tell’. He was surely favorite to hold both top hearts, as he would scarcely consider doubling three no-trump with less. The spade king was already known, and if he had also been dealt the diamond queen he would have opened the bidding. Thus Boehm posited West with the diamond queen. Reasoning this way, Boehm decided on a backward finesse — leading the diamond jack and planning to run it, finessing against the diamond 10 in East if necessary. In fact when West did not cover the jack, Boehm let the jack ride; result, happiness!


The three club call is forcing (it makes sense to play everything but a pass of two no-trump as setting up a game force here, in the absence of any conventional agreement). The issue is whether to show your three-card heart support or make some other rebid. Despite the weak hearts I would bid three hearts and let partner decide what to do – he knows much more about our hand than we do about his.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A Q 5
 7 6 3
 A J 9 4
♣ A K 5
South West North East
1 Pass 1 1♠
2 NT Pass 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

O monstrous! But one half-pennyworth of bread to this intolerable deal of sack.

William Shakespeare


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

J

In today’s column we feature a deal from the latest book by Augie Boehm, a noted bridge player and pianist. The book is ‘Big Deal’– both a memoir and a teaching tool.

During the auction South made a cardinal error when he preempted then bid again in competition. He might have done better to open one spade, but having initially underbid, he endplayed himself into a later indiscretion. Of course if he had passed five hearts, North would have happily collected a sizable penalty.

Against five spades doubled, Boehm’s famous pianist partner Leonard Pennario led the heart jack. If South had routinely covered with dummy’s queen, East would have been compelled to win, and with an easy shift to his singleton diamond queen he would have collected his penalty of plus 300.

But when South didn’t cover with dummy’s queen, Boehm had a problem. Overtaking to shift to diamonds would work poorly if West held the diamond ace. If so, dummy’s hearts could be established for discards of South’s losing diamonds.

At trick one, Boehm therefore discouraged with the heart two. Pennario realized that Boehm must have both top hearts when his jack held, but he must have discouraged the continuation for a reason. He therefore accurately shifted to the diamond ace and gave his partner the ruff for plus 500.

Boehm comments sagely that average opponents usually assume an expert knows what he is doing, hence South’s sacrifice over five hearts. This is one of the reasons bridge experts often excel at Poker; play the opponents not the hand.


Despite your lack of fit for diamonds I would compete to three spades. Yes your red suits might argue for defense but your black-suit holdings have a lot of actual and potential tricks. Game might so easily be cold facing a hand with a void in spades!

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A Q J 10 9 3
 7
 K 7
♣ J 10 9 8
South West North East
1
1♠ Pass 2 3
?      

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

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, December 1st, 2014

When people come and talk to you of their aspirations, before they leave you had better count your spoons.

Logan Pearsall Smith


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

10

If simple arithmetic tells you that your partner is highly unlikely to have an entry, there may be a better defense than trying to set up his suit and hoping for a miracle.

Against three no-trumps West led the heart 10 and East overtook with the queen. South played low on this trick, and ducked again on the continuation of the heart king. East now continued with a third round of hearts, and South won and set about the diamonds. East was able to come to his ace and queen, but that was all; nine tricks made.

By adding up declarer’s and dummy’s high cards East should know that West can have a jack at most. Since the spade or diamond jack cannot help the defenders’ cause, the only suit in which the defenders might be able to establish an extra trick is clubs. For this to transpire, West must be assumed to hold the 10. Accordingly leading a third heart could accomplish nothing, and more importantly, it was a waste of a tempo.

Having taken his two heart tricks, and with the confidence of two more tricks to come from diamonds, East should have switched to his low club at trick three. If South held the club 10, along with the ace and queen that arithmetic tells you he possesses, then nothing has been lost – even assuming declarer guesses to put in the 10. But, on the actual lie of the cards, so long as East returns a club each time he comes on lead in diamonds, he can defeat the game.


Dummy rates to put down a 5332 pattern, or perhaps a hand with four spades and five hearts, the latter being far less likely. In these situations, while one can make a case for leading spades – in that your partner may well have four of them, the lead is also quite likely to cost a spade trick. I'd settle for the fourth highest diamond. Even if partner has no honor in diamonds, the lead may not cost a trick.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ A 7 4
 Q 10 5 3
 K J 6 4
♣ J 8
South West North East
Pass 1 Pass 1 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, November 30th, 2014

I dealt myself this beautiful hand: ♠ K-7-2,  J-6,  A-K-9-6-3, ♣ A-Q-J. I opened one diamond, playing a 15-17 no-trump, and my partner responded one spade, whereupon the next hand bid three hearts. Was I wrong to bid three spades? It worked extremely badly when my partner had king-queen-third of hearts. We went down in three spades with three no-trump laydown.

Embarrassment of Riches, Vancouver, Wash.

While you were surely unlucky that you had neither a heart stop (when you could have tried three no-trump) or better spades to make the raise more palatable, I believe you had a better choice. The double of a preempt in this position should show extras, with no clear direction; so it would have been my preferred choice.

We had a hand last week which has sparked a bit of controversy as to how to reach the optimum contract. I heard my partner open two clubs and with: ♠ 3,  5,  A-Q-J-8-5-3, ♣ A-Q-J-7-4 responded three diamonds, then bid four clubs over my partner's three spade bid. Now my partner bid four hearts and I bid five diamonds, passing my partner's six diamond bid. We were cold for seven no-trumps facing a powerhouse 5-5-2-1 shape with both minor kings.

Love in Bloom, Bristol, Va.

Your partner's four heart call looks wrong. Had he simply bid four diamonds, you can jump to six clubs and he can do the rest. Even Blackwood might get you there if you can bid six clubs after finding the keycards are all present.

When your partner opens a weak two bid, should new suits by you be natural and forcing, or can they be passed by a minimum preempter?

Force of Nature, Dodge City, Kansas

This is to some extent about partnership agreement, rather than a rule of law, but having said that, it would seems normal to play a new suit as natural and forcing, but not necessarily forcing to game. After this start to the auction, anything by either hand that sounds non-forcing may almost certainly be passed.

I picked up: ♠ J-2,  K-J-8-5-4-2,  Q-2, ♣ Q-4-3 and heard my partner open one diamond and the next hand overcall one spade. Clearly I had enough to bid one heart over one diamond, but is this hand strong enough to bid two hearts here? If not, what call is best?

Keeping it Real, Peru, Ind.

A free bid at the two-level should guarantee 10 or more high-card points but you can shade the requirement with a strong suits or good controls, or even with fit for partner). This hand feels too scrappy for a direct call in hearts. If playing negative doubles, I would double and hope to back into hearts later.

Do you think that four-suit transfers over a TWO no-trump opening are a good idea? If so, how exactly would you play them?

Truffle Hunter, Woodland Hills, Calif.

While that system works well over one no-trump there is not quite enough space over two no-trumps. One simple solution is to use a three spade response as one or both minors. It forces a three no-trump rebid by opener, whereupon the minor suits now show single-suited hands, while four hearts, four spades and four no-trump show both minors with 5-4 pattern and 5-5 respectively.


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, November 29th, 2014

If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same.

Rudyard Kipling


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

♣9

This defensive problem proved too hard for the pair who encountered it at the table, when John Lusky, declarer, had competed to three hearts in the expectation of buying a little more high-cards or shape from dummy. Before we come to the play at the table, do you put your money on declarer or the defense?

Against three hearts doubled West led the club nine. What East did at the table was to win the ace and return the heart nine — which was clearly an inferior play since it might have destroyed his partner’s second trump trick or solved a guess for declarer.

While he had not actually committed either of these solecisms, it left his partner forced to guess at trick three in which suit his side had further defensive tricks to come.

At the table, West shifted to a spade on winning the heart king (playing for his partner to have the queen-jack of spades and not the diamond jack. Now declarer could draw trump and dispose of one of his diamonds on the long spade. Cui culpa?

East’s winning move at trick two would have been to return either the club seven or the club 10, in context suit preference for the low suit. West then has to rise with the heart king on the first round of the suit and shift to diamonds, playing for precisely this position. But he should know East doesn’t have, for example, the queen-jack of spades, or he would have returned a high club at trick two.


Normally one requires four trumps to raise one's partner, but this hand looks like a raise to two diamonds. Your hand seems to offer the equivalent playing strength as a four-card raise. Incidentally, some would play the double here as showing three trumps. Others use it to distinguish between a balanced and an unbalanced hand with four spades — you double with the former and bid one spade with the latter.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 10 3
 9 7
 K J 5
♣ A Q J 10 7
South West North East
1♣ Pass 1 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

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

A sadder and a wiser man
He rose the morrow morn.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge


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

*Pick a minor

♠K

Today's deal from the Phoenix nationals cropped up in the second qualifying session of the Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs.

In three clubs doubled dummy’s shape is no doubt a disappointment to you, but you have to make the best of your contract. You receive repeated spade leads: play on. At the table declarer went down one for a near bottom instead of making his game for a top score. See if you can do better.

The auction has told you that spades are 4-4 and clubs surely 3-3, so is it too much to expect both opponents to be 4-3-3-3 given that East would have bid hearts had he held them? Yes, you would need West to hold the diamond jack, but that is hardly an unreasonable request.

So you ruff the second spade, play a diamond to dummy’s 10 (whew!), ruff a second spade, play a diamond to the ace, ruff a third spade, and now exit with a club to the ace and a second club. In practice, when East follows with a low trump, you will see West win the club jack and return a heart. By now you know West has three or four HCP in clubs and the spade ace-king plus the diamond jack. East’s double of two no-trumps and three clubs must therefore include both the heart king and queen, so you duck the first heart honor East plays. Now in the two-card ending the defenders are endplayed to give you your ninth trick.


Rather than drive your hand to four spades, start by cuebidding two diamonds to shows a strong hand, asking your partner to describe his hand by bidding suits up the line. If he bids two hearts, you can bid two spades, which is forcing as far as suit agreement here. This gives you room for proper exploration.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A K 5 2
 10 4 3
 J 7 5
♣ K J 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: Thursday, November 27th, 2014

A fool… is a man who has never tried an experiment in his life.

Erasmus Darwin


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

8

Although the defenders can take a spade ruff to beat six hearts on this deal from the second semifinal session of the Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs from Phoenix last fall, many declarers were given the chance to make slam after the West player had given away his spade holding by an incautious overcall or double.

On a passive trump lead, declarer can play West for a singleton spade jack or spade nine, by stripping off the hand and leading the spade king from hand. If you guess well, you might succeed against a doubleton holding of one of these cards. An alternative and winning approach would have got your name in the Daily Bulletin.

After a heart lead you win in hand draw a second round of trumps. If they didn’t split you would need to take a club finesse against East now but when hearts are 2-2 you ruff out the clubs, then the diamonds. You have reduced everyone down to five cards, and you have four spades and one trump in hand, with three spades and two trumps in dummy, and the lead in South.

At this point you must lead the spade king from hand, to which West has no answer. He must win or you will simply lead to the spade queen next. However, after taking his spade ace he is endplayed, forced to lead away from the spade jack round to your 10 or offer a ruff-sluff by playing his diamond.


While there is a case for a simple call of three hearts, I prefer to rebid two no-trumps, to describe the essentially balanced nature of my hand. The only concern about this call is whether it would be consistent with a hand with short spades and three hearts, but with that hand one would rebid three clubs now.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 8 4
 A 10 6 3
 K 9 7
♣ A 7 5
South West North East
1♣ Pass 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, November 26th, 2014

Life doesn't offers charity, it offers chance.

Amit Kalantri


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

*Diamonds and a major.

K

This deal was played in the first final session of the Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs, with Yichoo Chen as South, playing with Jinjie Hu.

Against three spades doubled West led the heart king, to the two, 10 and six. Next came the heart jack to the nine, eight and three. This play suggested West did not have the club king-jack, or he would have led his low club to force East to win and play a club. What next?

At the table, West switched in uninspired fashion to the club queen. Chen took full advantage. He won in dummy and led a spade to the eight, nine and jack. Then he took the club continuation in his hand and advanced the spade queen to pin West’s 10. The intra-finesse brought home nine tricks, but the defense could have done better.

West knew that East did not have a singleton diamond – he would have overtaken the heart jack to play one – but he couldn’t have the club king either – or he would have initially discouraged in hearts. The heart 10 followed by the heart eight ought to suggest a diamond switch. At trick three, West can lead a club if he has the king-queen but here he should lead the diamond ace and another diamond, giving his partner a ruff if declarer tackles trumps as he did at the table.

Incidentally, if East follows with the spade 10 at his first turn at trick four, declarer might go wrong in the play.


When your partner makes a negative double here it would be wildly speculative to pass and pay for penalties, though I'm not saying it might not work on a different day. Instead your real choice is to rebid one no-trump or repeat diamonds. Put me in the former camp.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 7 5 4
 9 2
 K Q 7 6 3
♣ A 10
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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

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

To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes
Is delicate and rare:
But it is not sweet with nimble feet
To dance upon the air!

Oscar Wilde


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

♠J

Today's deal from the Life Master Pairs at the fall nationals in Phoenix last year saw South playing a delicate heart contract. As declarer discovered, if you play five hearts on a club lead your task is straightforward. You win the trick cheaply and draw trumps ending in dummy, before leading a club towards your tenace. East must split his intermediates again, and you can win and drive out the club king. That way you establish a discard for your diamond loser painlessly. Thus you can hold your losers to one trick in hearts and clubs.

But consider what might happen on the lead of the spade jack. East can see no future in spades, so he should overtake the jack and shift to a diamond. That makes it clear to declarer that West has the diamond king (or else East would leave West on play for the diamond shift), and therefore presumably East has the club king to make up his opening bid.

The critical play comes at trick two. You must duck the diamond in hand — so that only one defender can win the second diamond. Win the diamond ace, then cross to the heart ace to ruff a spade, and come over to the heart king to ruff a second spade.

Now you finesse in clubs and cash the ace, finding the 4-1 break, and finally exit with a diamond to West for the ruff and discard. Whether he returns a diamond or spade, your club loser goes away.


There are two reasonable approaches (given that your partner has shown a limit raise or better in spades, and your weakest action here is to rebid two spades). A call of three clubs shows extras and is natural; alternatively, you could pass, and sell out if partner simply bids two spades, while moving on if your partner does anything else but sign off. I prefer the latter (slightly conservative) approach.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A K Q 8 2
 9
 9 8 7
♣ K 10 9 2
South West North East
1
1♠ Pass 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 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

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

It is better to be a fool than to be dead.

Robert Louis Stevenson


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

*One ace
**The trump queen and diamond king

♣A

This week's deals all come from the Fall Nationals held at Phoenix this time last year. Currently this year's event is taking place in Providence, Rhode Island. You may be able to follow the action live later this week on Vugraph at www.bridgebase.com.

Since the point eluded quite a few pairs in the Blue Ribbon finals, let’s look at the contract of six hearts by South on the auction shown.

Using Keycard Blackwood South can locate first the missing keycards, then ask for the trump queen, planning to stay in five if partner does not come through for him.

There is no defense to the slam to trouble declarer, but at the table, playing pairs, West might sensibly lead the club ace, for fear that it will get away if declarer has the diamond queen instead of the jack.

After the club ace lead and a trump shift, it may seem that declarer will have to rely on the diamond or the spade finesse, but he can do better. Declarer wins the trump shift in hand and cashes one diamond, then comes to hand with a second trump, and leads the diamond jack toward the king. He plans to put up the king and pitch his diamond loser on the club king unless the diamond queen appears. Of course when the diamond queen does put in an appearance from East, declarer can simply draw the outstanding trump and claim the rest.


This is close; with a likely reentry, and your opponents not expressing concern about spade stoppers for no-trump, I'd lead a top heart and prepare my apologies in advance if I'm wrong. It is the outside entry that persuades me to go after hearts; with the club queen instead of the king I might go the other way.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 2
 J 10 9 4 3
 9 8
♣ K 10 3 2
South West North East
1♠ 1 NT
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.