Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 13th, 2018

There exists in the world a single path along which no one can go except you: Whither does it lead? Do not ask; go along it.

Friedrich Nietzsche


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

*Pre-emptive

K

In today’s deal, South elects to open one spade rather than one no-trump, after which the auction escalates rapidly, and South has to decide whether to save over four hearts. It would certainly be a smart move, since on a spade lead, four hearts looks relatively comfortable.

On the other hand, four spades on a club lead would prove impossible, but West has a natural top heart lead. Declarer must lose a trick to the two outstanding aces, and he needs to ruff hearts in dummy while trying to avoid losing two club tricks.

South wins the first trick with the heart ace, of course, and needs to ruff a heart at once rather than playing on diamonds. (If he plays the diamond queen at trick two, the defenders can win the diamond ace. Then, after the best defense of a trump switch from East, followed by a second diamond, declarer can no longer arrange to ruff two hearts in dummy without running into a trump promotion of the spade 10.)

At trick three, South leads a diamond to his queen and plays back a second diamond — this time, ruffing a heart would disrupt his own entries. East wins his ace to shift to the club queen, and South must make his third critical play: He must duck, then win the next, ruff his last heart loser, then discard the club loser on dummy’s diamond winner.

Only now is it safe for declarer to lead a trump. West takes the trump ace, but can no longer cross to his partner and promote a trump trick.


Your partner appears to be short in hearts, so your cards, such as they are, must be working. Your partner surely has four spades and at least four diamonds, so I would not be surprised if your side has good play for three diamonds, even in a 4-4 fit. Therefore, I would bid three diamonds now.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 6
 10 6 4 3
 A 10 8 2
♣ Q J 9 5
South West North East
    1 Dbl.
1 1 NT Pass Pass
2 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 12th, 2018

So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.

Christopher Reeve


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

♠3

Great Britain’s last victory in the European Championships was in 1991, in Killarney, Ireland. These days, Britain counts as four separate constituent countries, meaning it no longer competes as a single entity. This hand is from that 1991 event, reported by one of the Spanish players on the losing end of the swing.

North’s exuberant jump to slam saw the Spanish West select not the killing diamond, but the spade three, which ran to the eight. Declarer was not yet out of the woods, of course. Assuming the diamond finesse would lose, he needed three discards for his diamond losers, and the spades would only provide two.

If East held both heart honors, the contract would be hopeless. Since East likely held the ace rather than the queen, South decided to play on the assumption that this was a singleton.

The winning line is to ruff the club loser in dummy at trick two and follow up with the spade jack to the king, before taking the trump finesse. When East scores his ace, he has no exit card — he will be forced to open up diamonds or concede a ruff-sluff.

At the table, declarer eliminated three rounds of spades before taking the heart finesse. East missed his chance, though. He had to ruff in with his bare ace and exit with a club to give a ruff-and-discard. Declarer must ruff in dummy, since one discard from the board is not enough. But now he has no way to return to hand to take the trump finesse!


It may not be very scientific, but I’d jump to three no-trump at once, expecting my RHO not to have full values for his opening bid. Your partner’s redouble suggests club tolerance and maximum values, so your chances of having nine tricks to run are pretty good.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 6 2
 A
 K 9 2
♣ A K 9 8 6 5 3
South West North East
  Pass Pass 1
2 ♣ Dbl. Rdbl. 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Baldrick: Have you got a plan, my lord?
Prince Edmund: Yes, I have — and it’s so cunning, you could brush your teeth with it!

“Blackadder”


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

*Singleton club, agreeing diamonds

8

The single mistake more players make than any other is failing to devise a detailed plan as declarer before playing to the first trick. Today’s deal saw two declarers in six diamonds, with only one of them taking his time — and, as a result, taking his tricks.

Both Wests found the testing trump lead. The first declarer won in hand, then set off on a cross-ruff spree. He ruffed two clubs in dummy and a heart in hand; but when he exited from dummy with the spade king, East took his ace and returned a trump. That took the last trump from dummy, so that although one of South’s clubs could be discarded on the spade queen, there was no place to dispose of the other one. The contract had to go one down.

The second declarer quickly noticed that setting up clubs was unlikely to work, assuming the defenders would persist in trumps at their next turn.

He, too, won the lead in hand, but he then led a spade to the king and ace. Back came a trump, and upon winning in dummy, South ruffed a spade in hand. A heart to the ace allowed another spade ruff, with the 4-3 spade break a welcome sight.

Now declarer led a heart to the king and ruffed a heart with his last trump. The club ace and a club ruff in dummy saw him draw the last trump. Dummy’s spades took tricks 12 and 13. In essence, this was a dummy reversal; the hand with the shorter trump suit drew the last trump.


Your partner’s jump to three hearts suggests real extra values, and your combination of the fifth trump and singleton are just enough to bid game — if you trust your partner. There are many people who would bid this way without too much in the way of extras; is your partner one of them?

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ J 9 8 3
 Q 10 9 4 3
 8
♣ 9 6 2
South West North East
  1 ♣ Dbl. Pass
1 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: Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.

Neil Gaiman


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

♠2

In today’s deal, the Three Little Pigs were all declarers in three no-trump on broadly similar auctions, but with very different results.

At each table, East and West bid and raised spades, but North put his partner into three no-trump. Both the spade two and nine make sense on opening lead here — I prefer the nine. In order to succeed, South must carefully decide on a way forward.

The first little pig cashed his three spade winners, pitching a heart and club from dummy. When he played on diamonds, East could win and cash out the spades, then the hearts for down four.

The second little pig was more cautious. He won the first spade and played on diamonds at once from the top, expecting the defenders to continue spades. But West discarded a spade and a club on the second and third diamonds. East shifted to the heart king, and that let West take the top hearts and exit in clubs, for down one.

The third little pig found the golden mean between cashing spades and abandoning them. He cashed precisely one more spade, discarding a club, then led a diamond to the jack. If that held the trick, the diamonds would run; if it lost, the diamond eight would serve as a re-entry to the South hand to allow him to cash the last spade winner.

Have you notice what might happen if South finesses in diamonds at trick two? At double-dummy, East can duck the first diamond. Now declarer has no reentry to his hand and only eight tricks.


Despite your sixth spade, you essentially have a run-of-the-mill overcall with no extra values or shape. The question is whether to rebid two spades or pass the auction to your partner to describe his hand. It feels right to pass to me; but give me the spade jack instead of a small spade, and I’d rebid two spades. If the redouble shows two spades, bidding two spades now seems reasonable.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 10 7 5 4 3
 K 3
 Q 4 3
♣ K 10
South West North East
      1 ♣
1 ♠ Dbl. Rdbl. 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 9th, 2018

Technique in a pianist never impressed me. I never in my life heard a pianist whom I liked just because of his technique. The moment they start to play very fast I want to go home.

Vladimir Horowitz on Heinrich Neuhaus


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

♠K

There are some elements of technique that recur both for declarer and defender, which you can learn and put aside for future use. This deal reflects just one such point of technique that, once seen, should not be forgotten.

As West, you pass initially, but back in with your spades, and the opponents compete to the three-level. If you lead the ace from ace-king, then you might choose to lead the king from a bid and supported suit, or when planning to shift to a singleton. Here, though, your partnership agreement is always to lead king from ace-king.

You shift to your singleton club at trick two. Declarer wins the ace and leads a second spade, which you cannot afford to duck. You shift to the diamond 10, to the jack and partner’s ace. Back comes a small club, and declarer ruffs in with the heart 10.

To ensure the defeat of the contract, you must not over-ruff; instead, discard a diamond. Now your heart spots will be good enough to ensure a second winner in the suit when partner is kind enough to contribute the invaluable nine.

If you over-ruff the heart and play, for example, a diamond, declarer wins in hand and ruffs a spade, then draws trumps and has the diamond jack as an entry to dummy for the club king. He will be able to make his contract when either diamonds or hearts break.

The techniques of promoting trumps by the uppercut and refusal to over-ruff are well worth studying carefully.


We’ll see later this week what works here. You’d expect dummy to have big trump support plus maybe a club void and a source of tricks. The choice seems to be between spades and diamonds, and my instincts are that dummy is more likely to have long spades than diamonds, making a diamond lead more attractive. (It would have been the winner today.)

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 5 3
 Q 2
 10 8 3
♣ Q 10 7 4 2
South West North East
    1 ♣ 1
Pass 6 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 8th, 2018

I understand that opener’s jump shift at his second turn is forcing to game. Is there a way for responder to hit the brakes after this start to a sequence?

Trapper John, Atlantic City, N.J.

Some people use the same basic idea that they employ over a reverse, a call that is forcing for one round but not to game. They play that responder’s only weak action is the cheaper of fourth suit and two no-trump. So after opener opens one club and jumps to two spades over a one-diamond response, responder’s two no-trump call is artificial and weak. Over opener’s jump to two hearts, a call of two spades would similarly be weak.

In a recent article, you described dealing and picking up a hand of ♠ K-J-9-8-3,  A-9,  J-6, ♣ Q-7-4-2. Passing worked well with this hand, but I must admit I would have opened the bidding with one spade. What are the precise criteria for bidding or passing here?

Fishhooks Miami, Fla.

This hand is a marginal opening bid. While opening would not be out of line, the possibly awkward rebid over a response of two diamonds or two hearts argue against bidding. With a side suit of hearts or even possibly diamonds, the rebid problem looks less awkward. Non-vulnerable at pairs, I might open, but I would surely pass if vulnerable.

Please discuss how modern experts use a jump to five no-trump these days. Has the grand slam force gone the way of the landline telephone?

Old-fashioned, Newport News, Va.

The use of Key-card Blackwood among many experts has led many top players to use the call of five no-trump as a maneuver to try to locate the right strain, a “choice-of-slam” request. This helps the partnership identify strong or long suits when there is some ambiguity about the best fit.

Is there a role for asking bids, as opposed to cue-bids, these days?

Filet Mignon, Washington, D.C.

Asking bids fit well into a strong club base, but (with the exception of some Danish experts) top players tend to use a cue-bidding style instead. The closest thing to asking bids in common usage might be fourthsuit calls to look for a stopper, not a control.

When you play two-over-one and a semi-forcing no-trump with ♠ A-K-7-3,  K-J-4-3-2,  Q-6-4, ♣ 9, you would open one heart, I assume. But if you hear a one-no-trump response, do you pass or rebid two diamonds, two hearts or two spades?

Blinky Bill, Selma, Ala.

Clearly, a two-spade rebid is out; that shows at least an ace more than your current hand. Rebidding two hearts with a weak suit is unattractive, so the choice is to pass (which I would do if the diamond four were the club four) or bid two diamonds, which suggests but does not guarantee four. I prefer to bid two diamonds, but on the actual hand I’d be more likely to pass if my partner were a passed hand, since I won’t be facing a limit raise in hearts. And since a response of two clubs would be artificial (Drury), that means he is more likely to have length in clubs than any other suit.


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 7th, 2018

That wild-goose chase of yours is going to lay an egg.— Lou Costello in “The Wistful

Wagon Gap”


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

♠4

Today’s deal came up at the second IOC Grand Prix, held in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. The event was set up to try to help make the case for bridge as an Olympic sport.

There appear to be two inescapable losers outside the trump suit in South’s four-heart contract, suggesting that his chances of success are slim indeed. But though the contract went down each time it was played, perhaps declarer could have found a way home.

West would typically lead his partner’s suit against four hearts. When dummy plays low, East wins the spade 10 and shifts to a club. When South wins and plays a heart to the ace, dropping the king, there is no obvious reason to treat this as a false card; so the prospect of two trump losers is clearly threatening.

For South to have a chance of success, West needs to hold at least three clubs, but declarer might as well go after diamonds at once. The defenders are likely to duck the ace, win the second diamond and play a second club. Declarer wins in dummy, discards a club on the diamond queen, ruffs a spade in hand, crosses to a third club and ruffs dummy’s last spade in hand.

10 tricks have been played; one in hearts and three in each of the other suits. When South leads his last club, West is helpless. If he ruffs high, he will be endplayed to lead a trump into declarer’s tenace. If he ruffs low, dummy over-ruffs with the five and loses just one further trump trick.


This hand is not really worth a drive to game. The choice is whether to cue-bid two clubs en route to two no-trump, or just to jump directly to two no-trump. I prefer the latter route, since the first sequence might suggest a four-card major. I only want to play a major if my partner can introduce it voluntarily, suggesting a five-card suit.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 3 2
 A 5 2
 Q J 4 2
♣ Q 10 8
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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, July 6th, 2018

As distrust, in some sense, is the mother of safety, so security is the gate of danger. A man had need to fear this most of all, that he fears not at all.

Thomas Brooks


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

2

Against four spades, West leads the diamond two to East’s four and your 10. When you cash the trump ace, both defenders follow with small cards.

With just 22 HCP between you, do not waste energy fretting about the missed excellent spade slam. This is not the time to worry about what might have been; focus your energy on coming to 10 tricks against any distribution.

It appears to be smooth sailing if the trumps divide 3-2 or East has the length — in fact, you will end up with 13 tricks. However, there are breakers ahead if West has four trumps, as shown in the diagram.

To guard against that, after cashing the trump ace, follow up with the queen. When the trump distribution is discovered, you change tack and advance the diamond queen. West’s best defense is to ruff this and play the ace and another club. (A heart would let you win and draw trumps.) You ruff the second club with the king and play the diamond ace, throwing your remaining club from hand. West can ruff in with his last trump, but that is the final trick for the defenders. You will ruff the likely club continuation and then cross to the heart ace to throw your heart losers on dummy’s master diamonds.

You make five trumps, a heart, three diamonds and a club ruff for a total of 10 tricks. Note West’s uninspired choice of opening leads; a heart lead is more logical, given his natural trump trick, and it would have worked better today.


Illogical as it might seem, this hand is closer to driving to three no-trump than it is to a pass of two spades. Your intermediates, especially the spade 10, suggest that you might make game on very few values altogether if you can set up spades. I would bid two no-trump, but would have sympathy for a jump to three no-trump.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A Q 10 5 4
 10 8 3
 Q 10
♣ 7 3 2
South West North East
    1 NT 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, July 5th, 2018

The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.

Ken Kesey


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

*Majors

♠4

Wandering into the bidding over a strong one-no-trump opener and not buying the contract can prove to be an expensive exuberance. Today, West’s reasonable decision to show the majors painted a picture for declarer.

Against three no-trump, West led the spade four, and South saw he could count on eight tricks — four in spades, one in hearts, two in diamonds and one in clubs.

Declarer noticed that the likeliest source of the ninth trick lay in hearts, but he also knew that, in view of the bidding, West was almost certain to have the king. Thus, simply leading a low heart to the queen was unlikely to pay dividends.

So at trick two, when dummy’s spade queen held, he played a low heart, hoping that East might hold at least one of the four top cards in the suit. When East followed with the six, South inserted the seven and West won with the nine. (Had East played the 10, South would have covered with the queen.)

Now West guessed well to get off lead with a diamond. Taking East’s nine with the ace, South continued with the heart queen. West played the king, which was allowed to hold, the 10 dropping from East.

West exited passively in spades, and South won and drove out the spade king. When West took his king and returned a spade, South took his spade winners and successfully finessed the heart eight. He cashed the heart ace and led a club to the queen and ace to bring home nine tricks.


Although your heart honors are well placed, you can see that you have no real fit for partner’s suits, so no source of tricks. It looks logical here to bid two no-trump, the value of your hand, rather than jump to the no-trump game. If partner passes, I’d expect you to struggle to come to eight tricks.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 8 5 4 3
 K J 9 3
 7
♣ A 9 3
South West North East
    1 1
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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

Never wrestle with a pig. You’ll both get dirty, but the pig will like it.

Irish proverb


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

*Pick a slam

10

In today’s deal, three different declarers all reached six no-trump rather than six diamonds. That contract looks best at both pairs and teams, since there are some additional chances in no-trump when diamonds do not behave.

The first declarer won the heart lead in dummy and played a diamond to the nine and queen. The defenders persisted in hearts, so declarer cashed a top diamond to find the bad news, then took the club ace and the heart winners. He pitched a club and diamond from dummy and ran the spades, squeezing West in the minor suits.

The second declarer won the heart jack and cashed the diamond ace and king. The bad break made him pause, but he eventually decided to cash the hearts, pitching a diamond and club from the table, then run the spades. West came down to two diamonds and the bare club king, but declarer had no option but to play a club to the ace. When the king came tumbling down, he had his 12th trick.

The third declarer played a diamond to the ace and ducked a diamond; this was technically best, since if the suit had split 4-1, he would have been home regardless of the rank of West’s singleton, as well as when East had a bare honor. As it was, when West won the diamond jack and returned a heart, declarer had transposed into the first declarer’s line. He took his club ace and heart winners, and ran the spades to force West to concede in the two-card ending.


Facing what you hope is a maximum pass, you should try to compete in a major suit. It looks sensible to try to make partner declarer to protect his tenaces, and you want to try to find a 4-4 major-suit fit. The easiest way here is to cue-bid two diamonds to get your partner to pick a major.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K Q J 10
 10 7 5 2
 J 2
♣ Q 8 3
South West North East
  Pass Pass 1
Pass Pass Dbl. 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 2018. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.