Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dear Mr. Wolff:

What is the best book to teach me to play bridge in the style described in your columns?

—  Bookworm, Phoenix, Ariz.


ANSWER: You will need more than books to play like the masters. You will need a certain spark! That said, I’m always delighted to encourage players to read about bridge. You’d be amazed at how practice makes perfect. Books by Hugh Kelsey, Terence Reese, Eddie Kantar or Mike Lawrence are all good reads and will help you improve your game.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Holding K-Q-7-4, A-J-10-3-2, K-5, J-4, I opened one heart. When my partner responded with a forcing no-trump, I was tempted to pass, but assuming that I would not breach discipline in that way, what should I do?

—  Trapped, San Francisco, Calif.


ANSWER: You actually have a hand that would accept any invitation, so should not pass and risk missing a game. Instead, your choice is to rebid two hearts, showing an imaginary sixth heart, or bid two clubs, pretending you have three of them. Unless partner passes, you ought to be well placed. And even if he does pass, he may have five trumps.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

What is your opinion about leading from partner’s suit with a low sequence such as 9-8-6 or 10-9-5? Does it matter whether you have supported your partner or not as to which card to lead?

—  Tops and Bottoms, Dodge City, Kan.

  ANSWER: It is impossible to generalize here, but my instinct is to lead a low card from 9-8-6 if I have not supported my partner. Otherwise, I would lead the nine. With 10-9-5 I would lead the top card in either scenario. Never, ever, lead the middle card, which can often cause confusion.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

My partner held Q-4, Q-9-3-2, A-8-2, K-6-4-3. I made a two-heart overcall over one spade and he jumped to four hearts. Now the next hand bid four spades and I passed. Was that forcing on him to bid? He did bid five hearts and we went down 500.

—  A Bridge Too Far, Lakeland, Fla


ANSWER: There are two issues here. The first is that the jump to four hearts is consistent with a pre-emptive raise, so that does not even announce ownership of the hand, no less set up a forcing pass. The second is that instead of bidding four hearts, maybe your partner does better to cue-bid two spades to show a high-card raise in hearts. That may make your decision easier in a competitive auction.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

Is it legal for players to consult their own convention cards during the play of the hand? We seem to have a great many players who look at their cards often, and I feel that doing so is comparable to an open-book exam.

—  Is There a Proctor in the House? Troy, N.Y.


ANSWER: No, it is inappropriate to consult your own convention card as an aide-memoire. If you cannot remember all the conventions you play, you should switch to a simpler card.


If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, e-mail him at Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2010.