Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, August 1st, 2019

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Thomas Jefferson


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

7

‘The five-level belongs to the opponents” was one of Terence Reese’s mottoes. On today’s deal, South violated that principle successfully, but a more inspired defense would have produced a different result.

West led a heart against five spades. It might have been right for South to lead clubs right away, but declarer won in hand and crossed to dummy’s spade king, finding the bad news. Now declarer had to take the diamond finesse to discard his heart loser, at which point he exited with a club. East allowed West’s 10 to hold the trick, so West played another diamond. This allowed declarer to ruff in dummy, then cross-ruff clubs and hearts. East could eventually over-ruff the fourth round of diamonds with his trump trick, but that was the defense’s second and last trick.

When East sees South lead a low club from hand, he can more or less count 11 tricks for declarer if this is a singleton, unless he can seize the lead himself in order to switch to a trump. But if he shifts to a low trump, he is simply exchanging one trick for another — the outcome will not be affected. What East must do is switch to the spade queen, sacrificing his honor in battle to win the war. Declarer can win with the ace, but he does not have the entry to set up dummy’s clubs and can only take two ruffs in the dummy. One of those ruffs will be with the spade jack, and that repromotes East’s trump 10 back into the setting trick.



When you are 6-4 and have the opportunity to make an economical rebid in the four-card suit, you should almost always take advantage of that opportunity. (Exceptions are dead-minimum hands in which the four-card suit is weak.) Here, you have extras and a good four-card suit, so bid two diamonds happily.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 8 7 4 3 2
 A 8
 A Q 9 3
♣ 7
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 1 NT Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.

Chuck Close


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

♠J

Today’s slam was played originally by the late Terence Reese. Put yourself in South’s seat and see if you can match his line.

When West leads the trump jack against six spades, declarer can count 11 tricks, assuming the trumps break no worse than 3-1. The extra trick needed can come only from the heart suit, and for this, hearts must break no worse than 4-2.

Yet there is still a problem if West began with three spades and a doubleton heart. If, before trumps are drawn, the two top hearts are cashed and a third is ruffed in hand, West will over-ruff and will later come into a club trick.

Should trumps be drawn before hearts are set up, declarer must rely on a 3-3 heart break, unless spades are 2-2. The point is that with spades 3-1 and a 4-2 heart break, the fifth heart can be established, but there is no entry to cash it.

So, to preserve entries to dummy, declarer must win the opening lead in hand with the queen, then cash the diamond ace and heart king. He enters dummy with a spade, then plays the diamond king, on which his own small heart is discarded — the key play.

Declarer then trumps a heart, West impotently following; then a spade to the king draws the last trump. Only now does declarer cash the heart ace, for a club discard; another heart ruff establishes dummy’s long heart, for a further club discard, to which the club ace is the entry.



Should this be a take-out or penalty double? You can make a case for either, but my instinct is that this should be take-out. Yes, opener could simply bid a second suit, but it feels more flexible to double first before bidding on with extras if appropriate. With a penalty double, you can pass and wait for partner to reopen with extras. I’d bid two diamonds, looking for the safer fit, not the higher-scoring one.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

There is nothing so bad or so good that you will not find an Englishman doing it; but you will never find an Englishman in the wrong.

George Bernard Shaw


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

♠8

It is often good strategy for declarer to surrender a critical trick as early as possible in a deal so as to put the defense under maximum pressure before they have had a chance to signal.

In today’s deal, South took at a flyer at slam, since his side was playing a weak no-trump; thus, the simple raise would normally deliver extras in the form of shape or high cards. West avoided leading the club ace (which would have been fatal), but he did lead a trump rather than a heart, the latter of which would have made East’s task far easier. South won his jack and immediately took the diamond finesse, since the sooner it was taken, the better the chance East might make the wrong return. Note that if three rounds of trumps had been drawn, West would have discarded a small heart.

When he won with the diamond queen, East realized that he had to find his partner’s ace at once. With what seemed to him like an open choice, he led a heart and later tried to excuse himself on the grounds that he had simply guessed wrong.

True enough — except that it was highly improbable that South could be missing the heart ace and have so few hearts that they could be discarded on the diamonds. That would give West a six- or seven-card heart suit headed by the ace, with which he might have opened the bidding and would surely have led that suit to the first trick. A singleton club, on the other hand, was a more plausible holding for South.



Faint heart never won fair lady. You have a balanced strong no-trump, and heart stops are in the eye of the beholder — if you think you have one, you surely do (and your left-hand opponent will believe you)! You should bid two no-trump to show the basic nature of your hand, and damn the torpedoes.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 9 5
 Q 4
 A K J 10 3
♣ Q J 6
South West North East
  2 Pass Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 29th, 2019

Conscience has no more to do with gallantry than it has with politics.

Richard Sheridan


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

9

Just because South has a 19-count doesn’t mean his side can make game; he should open one spade rather than with a stronger call. If his partner passes, will his side really miss game? Additionally, no-trump may play better from North. In any event, when North raises spades, South can simply jump to game.

West leads the heart nine, and South expects to lose two hearts and one club. West’s opening lead is surely top of a short holding of some kind. South’s possession of the eight means West is unlikely to have three or more cards there.

When East wins the first two heart tricks and leads a third heart, South must decide whether to ruff with a high or low trump. Since West appears to be short in hearts, he is more likely than East to hold the spade jack. So South ruffs high.

He must next decide whether to draw trumps from the top or to finesse. Again, the odds make that decision relatively straightforward: After cashing the spade king and leading toward dummy’s Q-10, it must be right to finesse. At this point in the deal, for declarer to have a chance, East must have started with two spades and West three — so the jack is more likely to be with the length than the shortage. After finessing the 10, then drawing the last trump, South can lead a club toward his king. If it holds, he can play for an overtrick; if it loses, he will pitch his club loser on dummy’s heart winner.



The choice here seems to me to be between leading a club in the hope that you can establish a long card, and leading a heart in the hope that partner has four decent hearts. Since neither spades nor diamonds seem to be lying well for declarer, maybe a club lead is best. With Q-J-6 in hearts, however, I’d lead from that suit.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 5 4 2
 Q 7 6
 Q 9
♣ K 7 6 3
South West North East
  1 ♠ Pass 2
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, July 28th, 2019

Recently, I opened one diamond with ♠ Q-6,  J-3,  A-J-7-4-2, ♣ A-K-J-9, and I heard my lefthand opponent overcall one spade. When my partner doubled, I was not sure at what level to bid clubs, or whether to gamble on one no-trump. My partner told me later that a jump to three clubs would not be forcing here. Is that true? I thought opener’s jumps in new suits were forcing.

Shaking Stephen, Elkhart, Ind.

You must differentiate between an uncontested sequence — where your jump rebid of three clubs would be forcing — and a jump in response to a negative double. Think of the latter sequence as jump raising a suit partner has implied. Having not opened one no-trump (well done!), a jump to three clubs shows this hand nicely.

If you open one club and hear a one-spade call to your left and two hearts from your partner, what should you do next with ♠ A-Q-3-2,  Q-5-3,  K-10, ♣ J-9-4-2?

Second Chance, Winston-Salem, N.C.

You can raise to three hearts, natural and non-forcing, or you can rebid two no-trump to protect all your tenaces while also limiting your hand. I think the latter is better; you can always support your partner later on.

What is the main difference between the meanings of your calls in direct and balancing seat? Is it always about high-card ranges, or are there positions in which bids have different meanings?

Protectionist, Lorain, Ohio

When you are in the balancing or protecting seat, you tend to reopen when possible, so your actions may be made with about a king less than they guarantee in direct seat. In that seat, jumps over one-level bids, however, are 13-16, not weak, with good suits. And a jump to two no-trump would be strong, not unusual, with a range of 18-20 or so.

What are the merits and drawbacks of third-and-fifth leads, and why should I consider playing them?

Pippy Longstocking, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Third-and-fifth leads may help you work out how long partner’s suit is. Fourth-highest and second from bad suits may help you differentiate when the lead is from an honor or from weakness. The two-card disparity of a low card being from three or five cards (as opposed to the one-card disparity of fourth from four or five cards) is what may help you out here. But if you lead count cards, your partner will often have no idea how good your suit is.

I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to compete facing a negative double with extra shape but no extra high cards. I held ♠ Q-J-9-4-2,  A-Q-3-2,  5-3, ♣ K-10 and opened one spade. When the next hand overcalled two diamonds, my partner doubled. The next hand raised to three diamonds. Should I bid three hearts now, or wait for my partner to double and then show my suit?

Raising the Roof, Seneca, S.C.

You would have bid two hearts gladly in a non-competitive auction, which means you are allowed to compete to three hearts here. With, for example, 16 points or more and 5-4, you would bid four hearts here, so the problem is what to do with slight extras. There is no good answer other than to guess 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, July 27th, 2019

France and America clash so often not because they are so irreconcilably different, but because they are so alike.

The Economist


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

*Hearts and a minor

K

On this deal from the first round of last year’s Spingold, Philippe Soulet, playing with Michel Lebel, played the cards to perfection. Soulet and Lebel were members of the Payen team from France that defeated a strong Dutch squad.

West led the diamond king, and East encouraged the suit. West pressed on with two more rounds of diamonds, making Soulet suspect strongly that the attempt to weaken declarer’s trumps meant spades were divided 4-0. Soulet pitched a club from dummy, East winning the diamond queen and returning the heart queen, taken by Soulet with the ace.

Backing his reading of the position, Soulet led the diamond jack, encouraging West to discard his last heart. Soulet pitched dummy’s club and advanced the spade 10, covered by West with the jack. Soulet now crossed to the spade queen and finessed again in spades, then ran the rest of the trumps.

When the last trump was played, East — holding three hearts and the guarded club king — was squeezed. If he pitched a club, declarer would cash the club ace, dropping the king. He could ruff a heart to his hand, which would then be good. If East discarded a heart, Soulet could cash the heart king and ruff a heart. Dummy, with the club ace as an entry, would be high.

West had missed his chance to set the game, though it was far from easy; he had needed to ruff the diamond jack with the spade nine to mess up the entries for the squeeze.



When your partner reverses to show extra shape and high cards, as here, I suggest that the best way forward is to bid two spades, your own suit, whenever you have five or more cards in that suit. It should be forcing for one round but not to game — even though you intend to force to game, of course, regardless of partner’s next action.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 10 7 6 2
 A 8
 J 10 6 3
♣ Q 3
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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 26th, 2019

We must beat the iron while it is hot, but we may polish it at leisure.

John Dryden


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

*Transfer to spades

4

In a deal from a Swiss teams event at last year’s Atlanta Summer Nationals, you play three no-trump on the lead of the diamond four to the five, jack and queen. You unblock the top spades, then a heart to the king loses to the ace. Back comes an unfriendly club 10; what do you play now?

East is likely to have Q-10-(8)x or something similar. He may be setting the suit up for himself or trying to set it up for his partner. It seems reasonable to cover with the jack, which loses to the king. Are you still paying attention? Now West tables the club six: What should you play from dummy?

The answer is that it doesn’t matter what you do now. The way the cards lie, you are down no matter what you do … unless you unblocked the club seven from dummy on the first round of clubs! If you didn’t, and you win the second club, the defenders will eventually win the heart queen, cash a second club and exit in diamonds to score the setting trick there. If you duck the second club, they play back a low club and achieve the same result.

However, if you unblock the club seven at once, then cover the return of the club six with the nine while ducking in the closed hand, you have a finesse position against East’s 8-4 of clubs for the ninth trick!

The defenders were Sam Dinkin (West) and Michael Shuster (East). At the other table, East shifted to a low club at trick four, and declarer Karen McCallum played low from hand to wrap up nine tricks.



Your red-suit cards are nice, but your spades do not look especially useful. A call of two hearts is more than sufficient here; you need partner to be able to act again for game to remain a consideration.

BID WITH THE ACES

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

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 25th, 2019

Would you do me a favor, Harry? Drop dead!

Billie, “Born Yesterday”


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

J

Jan Jansma was declarer on this deal from the second semifinal session of the Von Zedtwitz Life Master Pairs in Atlanta last summer. Would you have been good enough to defeat his game?

You, West, lead the heart jack against four spades: That goes to the queen, king and ace. Declarer plays a low diamond at trick two. As West, you would play low, I assume? If you do, partner wins the diamond king to play a trump.

When declarer plays low, you win your king … and shift to a club, I hope. This is necessary if you look at the full deal. As you can see, if you try to cash a heart, declarer has time to dispose of his club loser on the diamonds.

Jansma’s play of the heart queen at trick one might have encouraged the defenders to try to cash a heart, but Marshall Lewis, playing with Jan van Cleeff, wasn’t born yesterday. He duly shifted to a club and defeated the game. After all, the heart losers were unlikely to vanish from dummy, whereas club losers might be discarded on declarer’s diamonds.

Incidentally, Jansma might have gone up with the spade ace to play a second diamond, but since van Cleeff (who happens to be a former partner of Jansma’s) was perfectly capable of leading a spade away from the king, declarer couldn’t risk rejecting the finesse. The 5-2 diamond break would have been fatal anyway, since East would have been able to ruff in before all of dummy’s clubs could be discarded.



Do you believe, as I do, that your partner will normally deliver a shape-suitable hand for his double, or at least opening values, always with three or more cards in an unbid major? If you do, then it is a no-brainer to compete to two hearts here. Your partner does not have to bid the same hand twice, but you have shape and scattered values and must trust your partner for the rest.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 10 8
 Q 8 6 4 3
 10 9
♣ Q 7 2
South West North East
  1 ♣ Dbl. Pass
1 1 ♠ Pass 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: Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own instead of someone else’s.

Billy Wilder


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

8

This deal from the first final session of the Wernher Open Pairs in Atlanta last summer gave declarers with a good nose the chance to come very close to bringing home four spades, even if not doubled.

The journalist reporting this deal recounted that at his table the heart eight lead ran to the ten jack and queen. He took a club finesse, and East won the queen to play back the heart two. This looked like suit preference to South, who put in the nine; when it held the trick, he fell from grace by playing the spade queen. The contract could now no longer be made.

A better line would have been to play a club to the ace at trick four and ruff a club. Then declarer could cash the two top diamonds and lead the fourth club. When East discards, South can pitch his last diamond.

After eight tricks, declarer has seven winners in the bag and West is down to his five trumps. A spade to the queen might see West slip up by winning this trick. If he does, then whether he plays a high or low trump, he scores only one more trump trick. He must return a low trump, then he is endplayed again at the next trick.

Curiously, though, if West ducks his trump ace, he can then ruff the heart ace with the spade 10 and exit with a low trump to ensure his extra trump winner for down one. For the record, going one down in four spades was only a skosh below average.



With a minimum opening bid and no club stopper, you cannot rebid two no-trump. So the choice is to rebid spades or raise diamonds. My preference would be to rebid spades at pairs. But at teams, you might consider raising diamonds, since that will guarantee to get you to a sensible fit, even if not necessarily the highest-scoring part-score.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K Q 8 7 6
 A Q 9
 10 8 5
♣ J 9
South West North East
1 ♠ 2 ♣ 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: Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

A lie is an abomination unto the Lord, but a very present help in time of trouble.

Anonymous


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

♠2

On this deal from last summer’s second qualifying session of the Von Zedtwitz Life Master Pairs, after passing initially, most Souths found themselves in a spade part-score.

Aggressive pairs found themselves in four spades when they decided that, as a passed hand, their offensive values were about as good as they could possibly be. They then had to make their game to justify their aggression.

Much depended on how friendly the defenders were going to be on opening lead, but declarer was still in a good place even if the defenders didn’t give him a helping hand. The point was that if West unimaginatively led the heart ace and another heart, declarer had 10 tricks without breaking a sweat. South could draw trumps and pitch a diamond loser on the heart winner.

However, at one table, West was able to see that the heart ruff could probably wait, so he led a low spade. South won the lead and played back the suit, letting East pitch an encouraging club as West won his ace. So West shifted to a club.

To make 10 tricks now, declarer should win the club ace, cross to hand in the trump suit and lead a low heart to the jack, then duck a heart to fell West’s now-bare ace. That gives declarer a discard of a diamond from dummy and an easy route to plus 620. Since West is marked with at most a doubleton, this play is strongly indicated. If East has the ace, you cannot generate a discard for yourself from the hearts.



Your partner’s double of three hearts is not best played as penalty or even defensive. It suggests he has a game try, typically balanced rather than with extreme shape. When the opponents compete to rob your partner of any game try, double replaces the game try — the socalled maximal double. I’d just bid three spades now.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q J 6 3
 J 6 2
 A 8 4
♣ A 10 9
South West North East
1 ♣ 1 1 ♠ 2
2 ♠ 3 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 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.