Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I opened a strong two clubs and my partner gave the weak response of two diamonds. I had 22 high-card points but no long suit, so I bid two no-trump. At this stage, can my partner use the conventions of Stayman or Jacoby Transfers, just as if I had opened the bidding in no-trump?

—  Goldfinger, Worcester, Mass.

ANSWER: What a sensible question! Yes, after this start, one plays exactly the same as over a two-no-trump opening bid. And the same applies when you overcall a weak-two bid with a natural two-no-trump call. As soon as one player has made a natural call, though, transfers no longer apply.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I’ve played bridge for 40 years, but I still cannot keep track of all 52 cards! When it’s a suit contract, I keep track of the trump cards, especially the honors. In no-trump, I remember the high cards, but have difficulty in accounting for the intermediates, which are sometimes crucial in making the game or defending successfully. Any ideas?

—  Inventory Clerk, New Orleans, La.

ANSWER: Most expert declarers count only the suits that matter to them. When dummy comes down, I strongly recommend thinking only about trumps and ONE other suit. With trumps, add up the number in your hand and dummy and subtract that from 13; then ONLY count the opponents’ trumps from there on. With a side-suit, you can do that too, or focus on the total count.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I am in third seat with A-8-4-3, A-9-7-3, Q-7-3, 10-3 and hear the bidding start with a weak two hearts from my partner and a double on my right. Should I pass, or should I raise hearts? If the latter, to what level?

—  Excelsior, Grenada, Miss.

  ANSWER: Raising to three hearts looks right to me. I’d expect game my opponents’ way to be unmakable. Taking away one round of bidding makes it much harder for them to get their act together, and the raise exposes our side to virtually no risk, given our good fit.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

In defending against three no-trump and on lead holding spades K-Q-10-4, I say lead the king. My partner says it is right to lead the 10. What do you say?

—  High-Middle-Middle, Trenton, N.J.

ANSWER: Your choice from K-Q-10-4 depends on what your agreed style of honor leads is. Let’s say your agreement (like that of most partnerships) is that at trick one against no-trump, the ace or queen asks partner to unblock an honor (or to give count if he lacks an honor), and the king asks for attitude. OR you play that the king asks for an unblock (or count) while the ace or queen asks for attitude.

Depending on which agreement you have, you lead either the queen or king from this holding, NEVER the 10. Only very rarely would you lead low.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Is it appropriate to open with a pre-empt in third seat holding 4-3, K-7-3, K-Q-9-7-3-2, K-3? I assume you would never pass, but do you prefer to bid one diamond, two diamonds, or three diamonds?

—  How High the Moon?, Jackson, Tenn.

ANSWER: You are right that I would not pass. Nonvulnerable, I might mix it up with a call of three diamonds, but a simple opening of one diamond may prove even more obstructive, since the pre-empt can be a confession of weakness sometimes.


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