ACES ON BRIDGE

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - We find great things are made of lit­tle things, And lit­tle things go less­en­ing till at last Comes God be­hind them. — Robert Brown­ing If you would like to con­tact Bobby Wolff, email him at bob­by­wolff@mind­spring.com

In to­day’s con­tract of six clubs, fo­cus on en­sur­ing that your spade win­ners do not get ruffed away. Trump the heart lead at trick one and cash two high clubs from your hand. When East shows up with three, he is likely to be the hand short in spades, if any­one is, so take the spade king and lead to­ward the ace. If East ruffs, you can later cash the ace and ruff the fourth round of spades. If East dis­cards, take the ace, give up a spade, then ruff the fourth round with dummy’s king. (If East ruffs his part­ner’s win­ner, he no longer has a trump to play.)

Your tar­get is to pro­tect your spade hon­ors by fol­low­ing suit with your sec­ond honor af­ter the de­fender with the last trump. Had you cashed the ace and led to the king, East would ruff, and you would lose an­other spade later. Had

West turned up with three trumps, you would have played spades by first cash­ing the ace from hand.

One other point is that you must re­tain a high trump in dummy to be able to ruff the fourth round of spades high. If you use dummy’s king to draw an early round of trumps, East can dis­card on the sec­ond round of spades and later ruff the fourth round with the club 10.

The al­ter­na­tive ap­proach, of cash­ing just one round of trumps be­fore play­ing spades, loses when trumps are 2-2 or 3-1 and you mis­guess who has short spades. It gains only when the same hand has sin­gle­tons in both red suits.

AN­SWER: What is the min­i­mum in high cards and shape that will al­low you to dou­ble a two-level jump over­call with im­per­fect shape? This is about it, but I pre­fer to bid two no-trump in­stead, and hope to find my way back to hearts if part­ner has ex­tras and short di­a­monds. Pass­ing here might cause us to miss game. Rightly or wrongly, I’m part of the school that be­lieves in get­ting in a blow as early as pos­si­ble.

BOBBY WOLFF

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