Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 26th, 2018

The notion that one can discover large patterns or regularities in the procession of historical events is naturally attractive to those who are impressed by the success of the natural sciences in classifying, correlating and, above all, predicting.

Isaiah Berlin


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

♣2

All the deals this week comes from last year’s summer NABC in Toronto. This one cropped up in the Wernher Open Pairs.

You’d expect three no-trump by South to be the normal spot here, and on a heart lead, the defenders have no real prospect of more than four tricks when both red suits behave. Note, however, that on the first round of diamonds declarer should lead a small card to his eight or 10, not his king.

But a curious ending arose after a club lead. Declarer ducked, then won the second club. He now crossed to a spade to lead a low diamond to the 10, losing to the queen. He won the next club, pitching a heart from dummy, crossed to the spade king and advanced the diamond two, to the jack, king and ace. When West cashed a club, declarer had to be careful with his next discard from dummy, which now held two spades, two hearts and two diamonds.

In order to maintain flexibility, South must discard a diamond from dummy — but it must specifically be the nine; otherwise, a heart to the king and ace cuts declarer’s communications. However, if you unblock dummy’s diamond nine, you can always arrange to test spades before falling back on the heart finesse.

Note also that the defenders should have ducked the second diamond. Now if declarer plays a third diamond rather than testing spades, West can cash the club winner. South will then have to pitch a spade or a top heart from dummy before he knows which major is behaving.


You have the right shape for a takeout double, promising both majors. All that is standing between you and action is the absence of high cards, but should that matter? I don’t think so. You would have gladly responded to one club, so you should equally gladly double here and get your partner into the action. You’d rather have a better hand, but if wishes were horses…

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 7 5 3
 K 10 9 8
 J 6
♣ J 10 9
South West North East
    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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Those who invoke history will certainly be heard by history. And they will have to accept its verdict.

Dag Hammarskjold (on Nikita Khruschev)


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

*Forcing spade raise

6

This week’s deals come from last year’s summer NABC in Toronto. Our hero was Marc Cohen, playing with his wife Stasha in the Freeman Mixed BAM Teams. To make his contract, Marc managed to make the most of his club spots; yes, that 5-3 of clubs had a part to play.

Marc reached four spades, and after the diamond-six lead to the jack and king, Marc cashed the spade ace-king to get the first bad news, then led the diamond two to get more bad news as West showed out.

But there was some good news when West pitched an odd-even heart nine to encourage the suit, a card that he could not afford. Cohen ducked the diamond in dummy, and East won to return a diamond. Yes, a club would have been better, but the obvious power of the 5-3 was evident to all.

After West ruffed the third diamond, he shifted to the club 10. Marc won the club ace, crossed to dummy with a trump, took his diamond winner, discarding his club, and then led the club five from dummy. When East followed lazily with the club four, declarer pitched a heart and took the rest after West won the trick and was endplayed to lead hearts.

Cohen would have ruffed to lead the heart queen. With West obliged to cover, the blockage in hearts would have led to South being endplayed upon winning the heart 10 at the next trick.


The double of a four-heart opening (or any auction where the opponents bid hearts and raise to four hearts) is primarily for take-out. It is less clear how to play a similar sequence where the opponents get to four spades — I personally believe that is takeout-optional. But here you should have no problem bidding four no-trump to get partner to choose between the minors.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 3
 10 3
 Q J 7 5 3
♣ K J 7 6 4
South West North East
  4 Dbl. Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog.
Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Wit is the salt of conversation, not the food.

William Hazlitt


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

K

When South opened one club, West had a routine one-diamond overcall. At several tables, it was West who won the contract at two diamonds, against which North led a low trump and South won to shift to a low spade.

If West believes North’s failure to lead a club suggests he has the club ace, then he should rise with the spade king rather than letting the lead run to his jack in dummy. With the club ace and spade ace plus, apparently, the diamond king, North would have bid more, and South would not have an opening bid.

After the spade king wins, declarer can unblock hearts and lead a spade from hand. The defense will now have to be just a little careful even to hold declarer to eight tricks. However, if declarer doesn’t play the spade king at trick two, the defenders can beat two diamonds on the spade ruff.

But now let’s change direction: what if South ends up in three clubs on the auction shown? West cannot defeat three clubs on a diamond lead, but say he leads the heart king followed by the heart queen. The defenders should prevail by overtaking the heart queen and taking the ruff, then exiting passively in a minor. But let’s say East carelessly does not overtake the second heart; what does West do next at trick three?

A spade shift would let declarer guess spades for 10 tricks, while a diamond concedes 110; but a trump shift ties up declarer’s entries and still defeats the part-score.


You have enough to force to game here, but no clear direction to go in. The simplest way to force to game is to start with a cue-bid of three diamonds. If partner bids three hearts, you can bid three spades and let partner decide where to go from there.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 10 7 4
 J 8 3
 A
♣ Q 10 5 4 3
South West North East
  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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 23rd, 2018

When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

John Ruskin


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

♣7

Today’s deal from the North American Bridge Championship in Toronto last summer is more about the auction, and less about the play of the hand. North and South were a mixed pair, with a handful of world titles between them, but they goofed here.

With nobody vulnerable, as South you open one diamond in fourth seat, and partner responds one heart. Do you bid one spade or one no-trump now? I don’t feel strongly, but my choice would be one no-trump or pass rather than one spade; to each his own.

At the table, South bid one spade, which was passed around to RHO, who bid one no-trump. You pass (hoping your partner can double), but North balances with two diamonds. It has taken a long time to get to the two-level; what are your thoughts now?

You know a lot about partner’s hand. He clearly doesn’t have four spades (he would compete again to two spades) or four diamonds (he would have bid two diamonds at his previous turn), and he surely doesn’t have a club stopper, or he would have rebid one no-trump over one spade.

So your partner holds something like 3=5=3=2 or 3=4=3=3, and it is therefore clear to correct two diamonds to two hearts now. If you play in the 4-3 heart fit, you can see that you will be taking ruffs in the short hand — and hearts scores more than diamonds.

Partner had exactly what you’d expect: a 3=5=3=2 pattern with 7 HCP. Two hearts is cold on careful play; two diamonds will lose an additional trump trick even if you locate the queen.


Clearly a club lead looks unattractive; the choice is to lead your suit, diamonds, or to try to open up one major or the other in the attempt to find partner’s suit, or at least to avoid giving up a trick unnecessarily. Since both opponents appear to be relatively balanced, I want to try to set up tricks for partner by leading spades. My choice would be the eight.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 6 2
 Q 8 2
 J 9 5 4
♣ K 8 6
South West North East
  1 ♣ Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

I held ♠ Q-3,  A-J-9,  K-J-10-2, ♣ J-10-6-2, and opened one diamond. When my partner responded one spade, I rebid one no-trump, and now my partner bid two hearts, natural and non-forcing. What would you do now?

Settling Down, Muncie, Ind.

The choice is between giving preference to two spades and passing two hearts. I think your good hearts and weak spades argue for passing; after all, you might even be in a 5-3 fit, in which case you would certainly be pleased with your decision.

I’m about to start directing at my club, and I would welcome a little help. When a director is called to the table after a break in tempo, what is the standard procedure to follow?

Beri-Beri, Kenosha, Wis.

Ask the player who called you to the table to set out the facts. Then ask the other players to make sure you have the facts right. Decide whether a break in tempo took place (or at least was established to your satisfaction). Let the play proceed, and tell the players to call you back if they aren’t happy. If they do, and you determined that there was indeed a break, then you must decide whether it could demonstrably have suggested the action chosen by the partner of the hesitator. If it did, consider adjusting the score.

In second seat, I opened one no-trump with ♠ K-3,  A-10-7-3-2,  K-Q-3, ♣ A-10-4. I heard an overcall of two clubs on my left, showing clubs and a major. When that was passed around to me, I tried two hearts; was that too aggressive? Anyway, now my partner bid two spades. Should I bid or pass?

Lucy Locket, Galveston, Texas

The two-heart call was a little aggressive, but I suspect I would have done the same. Your partner’s decision to bid two spades might be based on a 4-1-4-4 pattern, but more likely he has five or more spades and fewer than 5 HCP, with at most a doubleton heart. So I would pass. The good news is that while you have only two spades, your cards in the side suits should work reasonably well.

How far should you compete with a fit when the opponents get in your face? I held ♠ A-10-9-7,  K-5-3,  A-J-4-3, ♣ J-9, and opened one diamond; my partner responded one spade. I was planning to raise to two, when the next hand preempted in hearts. Given that I have a minimum hand, it is easy to raise to two spades, but should I compete to three spades over a three-heart call?

Mumbles, Bellingham, Wash.

My general rule is that in competition you can be forced to give support one level higher than you wanted to go, but not two. So bid three spades over a three-heart pre-empt since, as these things go, your hand has decent controls. With the heart queen instead of the king, pass three hearts. With a real invitation to three spades, it follows that you must jump to four spades.

I need help understanding what sort of hand allows you to raise partner’s suit (be it an opening or overcall) and then double at your next turn. Is this penalty, cards or take-out?

Fruit-loops, Indianapolis, Ind.

If the opponents come in with an unsupported suit, then a double by either hand sounds like a defensive holding. Conversely, if the opponents have raised a suit, the double sounds like extras in high cards, typically with the minimum number of trumps for the action thus far.


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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, July 21st, 2018

I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot … your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.

William Thomson


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

10

Although South has only a minimum take-out double, the five-heart call asks him to bid slam with a club control. Holding the ace, he can hardly reject the invitation. With another high card, he might even make a grand slam try rather than re-raising hearts.

The defenders lead the diamond 10 to the ace. With both club and diamond ruffs threatening for the defense, it looks logical enough to draw all the trumps.

When East follows to the heart ace and king, declarer can place him with seven clubs, two hearts and at least one diamond. But what is the rest of his pattern?

The next move is to cash the diamond king. When East shows out, he surely began with precisely 3=2=1=7 shape. Careful! Do not cash the third top diamond! Instead, play the spade ace-king and ruff a spade, then cash the club ace and duck a club. East has no choice but to win and lead away from the club king. You will let a low club run to dummy’s queen, or ruff the king and use the diamond queen as the entry to the club queen.

If East had followed to the second diamond, you would cash the spade ace-king next, to get the complete count of his hand. If you find that East began with a singleton spade and three diamonds, you play off the diamond queen and proceed as above, without ruffing a spade loser in dummy, planning to use the spade ruff as the last entry to dummy. You would play in the same way if East had a 2=2=2=7 shape.


This sequence is best played as artificial. (With four spades, North would bid three or four no-trump; with five spades, he would have transferred.) The call should show slam interest with a heart fit. Your honor location and minimum values are not strong enough for a four-diamond cue-bid. But if you feel too good to sign off in four hearts now, you might use three no-trump as artificial here.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 8
 A K J 4
 A K Q
♣ Q 7 4 2
South West North East
2 NT Pass 3 ♣ Pass
3 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 20th, 2018

Ah, what a dusty answer gets the soul
When hot for certainties in this our life!

George Meredith


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

♣10

Without West’s weak two-spade opening bid, it would have been natural to take two spade finesses in six no-trump. But West’s opener puts a different complexion on the deal, and although West might have opened with a spade suit of king-sixth or queen-sixth, that eventuality is rather unlikely at the vulnerability. Why rely on that, when you can achieve almost complete certainty?

When West leads the club 10 against six no-trump, the sensible way forward is to win in dummy, then cash four rounds of diamonds. West has to find three discards, and he can comfortably release his three small spades. Declarer now needs to find out more about West’s shape. He cashes the club king, all following, then the ace and king of hearts. When the heart jack puts in an appearance from West, South should suspect that West was dealt a 6=2=1=4 shape – kudos to West if he has dropped the jack from an original four-card suit!

A heart to the queen confirms the suspicion. Of course, if West had followed suit, there would have been 12 top tricks. But what should West pitch? He must discard a club in order to keep his spade holding intact. So now we can cross to the club queen to lead a spade to the 10. When West wins the trick, he is endplayed to lead from his remaining honor into South’s tenace, and the slam comes home.


After one no-trump is doubled for penalties, you can pass if you want to play there, and use your methods over one no-trump, with redouble as a way to force a call of two clubs, to escape to either two clubs or two diamonds. My best guess would be to redouble, planning to redouble two clubs for rescue. If partner wants to play two diamonds, he will bid it. If not, he will run to two hearts, you hope.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 7 6
 10 9 7 5
 10 9 7 5
♣ J 7 4
South West North East
    1 NT 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 19th, 2018

My tears are buried in my heart, like cave-locked fountains sleeping.

Letitia Elizabeth Landon


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

*Precision: 11-15, six or more clubs

♣A

Today’s deal from a recent U.S. Nationals was accompanied by the line: “I’ll give you something to cry about.” The two bridge players who met in the bar wanted to exchange hard-luck stories; it turned out that they were from the same deal. Both were declaring the deal, one as South in the diagram and one as North, the former in four spades on the auction shown.

South led the club ace and another club, ruffed by North, who shifted to a low diamond. How would you play it? At trick three, declarer quite reasonably won the diamond ace and played the spade ace and a spade to the jack, certain that the spade king or heart king was to his left. That led to his going one down!

“You think that’s bad?” said the second sad sack. “We had a different auction, though, and stopped safely low. Our dealer also opened the bidding, but with a call of one club. I overcalled one heart and, after a negative double from my left, we came to rest in three hearts. The defense led the singleton club, and my right-hand opponent deviously won the club ace to play back the club jack (suit preference for spades) for the ruff. My left-hand opponent ruffed and obediently returned the spade eight!”

Put yourself in North’s seat; wouldn’t you sympathize with him for winning the spade ace at trick three to take the heart finesse? Now it went heart king, spade king, spade ruff, club ruff — and he was down 200. Who do you think was more unlucky?


This hand looks ideal for a response of two clubs, Stayman. Your plan is to pass any response partner makes. While you may be able to make a part-score in no-trump, surely both diamonds and spades will play more safely for a plus score, and two hearts in a 4-3 fit looks reasonable enough, too.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 8 5 2
 K 7 6
 8 6 5 3 2
♣ 8
South West North East
    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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Anonymous


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

♠3

When South opens one heart, North is too weak to respond at the two-level. His one-no-trump response merely shows that he is strong enough to keep the bidding open. South rebids two hearts, and North has to leave him there, rather than search for a better spot.

The defense leads spades, and when East wins his ace, he might shift to a club, but continuing spades is hardly absurd. Perhaps West might now shift to clubs himself, but he plays a diamond to East’s ace, and now comes the club shift. This is the defenders’ last chance: To set the contract, West must follow with the king, not the jack – but that is far from obvious.

If he does not, declarer wins the ace, takes the spade jack, pitching his diamond honor, then cashes the diamond queen to discard a club, and ruffs a diamond with the seven. When he exits with his losing club, West must win and help reduce South’s trumps by returning his last spade.

At this point, South is down to four trumps. He must lose a trick to the king, but does not want to lose an additional trick to the 10. His best chance is to lead the queen, and, when that holds, to lead the jack. West must take the jack and return a trump, whereupon South scores his ace and nine, to take the last two tricks.

Note that if South had taken the heart ace before leading the heart queen, West would let the queen hold. He would then be in position to win the last two tricks with the king and 10.


Do not be fooled into thinking, “That is a cue-bid, so it must be based on club fit.” Doubling then bidding a suit, even if it is one already bid on your left, is natural. So your partner has at least 17 HCP with a good heart suit. You have already shown values, so a simple call of two no-trump here seems right. That leaves room to get back to clubs, if necessary.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 9 6
 —
 Q 9 6 5 2
♣ A 10 8 5 2
South West North East
Pass 1 Dbl. 1
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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

I think that we communicate only too well, in our silence, in what is unsaid, and that what takes place is a continual evasion, desperate rear-guard attempts to keep ourselves to ourselves.

Harold Pinter


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

♠4

When South opens a 15-17 no-trump, North has a simple raise to game. Yes, he could invite game, but so often the more information you give away, the easier the defense becomes.

When West leads a spade, declarer must put the queen up from dummy, since if he plays low and East plays anything but the ace, the defenders will be able to run the spades as soon as they regain the lead. When the spade queen holds, declarer must try to develop diamonds while keeping East off lead, in case spades are 5-3 rather than 4-4.

So South leads a diamond toward his hand. When East plays low, declarer puts in the eight and West wins; his best move now is to shift to a top heart. Declarer ducks the queen as East encourages the lead, then takes West’s heart jack with his ace. He unblocks the diamond ace, then cashes the club ace, leads the club nine to the king and tries to runs the diamonds, pitching a small heart from hand on the last.

When diamonds break, South can cash 10 tricks. If they had failed to split, with West having the length, declarer would still have been able to bring home his game. He would run the clubs, ending in dummy, and after 10 tricks (one spade, two hearts, three diamonds and four clubs) he would exit with the fourth diamond, knowing West would win the trick and be endplayed to lead away from his spade ace. West would be unable to escape the endplay except by unblocking in diamonds, which would obviously lead to a worse fate.


North’s double is for take-out, since the opponents have announced a fit. Your soft cards in the black suits mean that your values may not be pulling their full weight, so I would just bid two diamonds, planning to compete again in diamonds if necessary.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 6
 4 2
 K 10 5 4 2
♣ K 7 6 5
South West North East
Pass 1 ♣ 1 Dbl.
Pass 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.