Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Can you explain a bid called Unusual Against Unusual? Has it something to do with the Unusual No-trump?

—  Business as Usual, Naples, Fla.

ANSWER: You have it exactly right. If the opponents overcall to show a two-suiter with only one suit specified — say, hearts and a minor — cue-bidding their suit shows a limit raise or better for partner. If they specify their two suits, you have two cue-bids. The higher can be played as a limit raise for partner; the lower cue-bid shows the fourth (unbid) suit in a good hand. This means that if you bid the fourth suit, it is natural and nonforcing.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Holding J-2, 6, Q-J-9-7, A-Q-10-8-6-4, would you always open three clubs in third seat, or would the vulnerability or scoring be an important criterion? Would you consider opening one club or three clubs in other seats?

—  Eradicator, New York City, N.Y.

ANSWER: This does not look like a one-club opening in any seat. I might open three clubs nonvulnerable in first chair because the shortage in the majors argues for pre-empting. In third seat, opening three clubs looks reasonable at any vulnerability. Mixing up your partnership pre-empting style is a useful policy.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Under what circumstances would you lead a card other than fourth highest against no-trump, assuming you do not have a sequence? When do you lead second highest?

—  Rule Breaker, Bremerton, Wash.

ANSWER: I like to lead low or top from three small, not the middle card — and I would lead the top card only when I thought it was unambiguous. From four small, second highest (if the top two cards are not touching) makes sense — but I often lead fourth highest even then because the count is often as important as the honor position to my partner.

  Dear Mr. Wolff:

With both sides vulnerable, my partner, who had K-Q, K-9, K-9-7-4-3, K-Q-10-4, opened one diamond. I responded one spade, and the next hand joined in with two hearts. Partner now bid three clubs, and I bid four diamonds over the three-heart bid on her left. Should partner pass now or bid? If the latter, what call is best?

—  Lottery Winner, Wausau, Wis.


ANSWER: The auction is fine as far as it went. Now your partner (missing four aces and a few trump honors) cannot expect you to cover all those losers and only bid four diamonds. Given that she had showed a strong hand, you would have bid game if it were feasible to make it, even though your four-diamond call promised some values and trump support. So it looks right for her to pass four diamonds. She should NOT bid four spades, which would show three trumps, not two.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

As dealer, I picked up 8-7-6-5-3-2, A-7-6, K-Q-4, A. Because of the outside honors, I reluctantly opened one spade. Although my partner was encouraging toward slam, I signed off at game, but actually made six. Was one spade the right opening bid, or was I just lucky that my partner had so much help?

—  Underdone, Atlanta, Ga.


ANSWER: In bridge, as in many aspects of life (though this does not apply either to food or my weight), quantity is better than quality. It is much more important to have trump length than strength in nearly all deals. Here your opening bid was impeccable, and the sixth trump is a great asset in any slam sequence.


If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, e-mail him at Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2009.