Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dear Mr. Wolff:

What are attitude leads? How do they work, and are they used only against no-trump contracts?

—  Adam Ant, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.


ANSWER: Attitude leads are generally used only at no-trump. Instead of leading fourth highest, the smaller the card you lead the better your suit. So you might lead third from four, lowest from five to an honor, but a higher spot-card from five small.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

In a club duplicate game, I held Q-10-9-8-5-3, J-2, A-Q-J-10, 4. My partner opened one heart, RHO overcalled two clubs, and I bid two spades. When my partner rebid three diamonds, was I right to raise diamonds (and would that be forcing?), or should I have repeated spades? I followed the latter course and played in three spades when five diamonds was a making spot.

—  Johnny One-Note, Montreal


ANSWER: I would have raised three diamonds to four — with 100 honors I think I must show support. This would let partner bid four spades with a doubleton honor — he has already almost denied three trumps when he did not raise spades at once, hasn’t he? Support with support is a valid concept even at one’s second turn, and yes, I think it would have to be forcing here.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

What does an adjusted score at duplicate mean, and how or why is it awarded?

—  Maladjusted, Anchorage, Alaska


ANSWER: When, in the bidding or play, an infraction occurs that may have led to a player or partnership being damaged, the director should be called to the table and asked to adjudicate. If he decides that without the infraction a different result would or might have taken place, he is empowered to change the result to protect the nonoffenders. This generally results in the nonoffenders getting the benefit of the doubt, but the issue is an exceedingly complex one and hard to summarize in this limited space.

  Dear Mr. Wolff:

You recently posed this bidding problem: A player with A-5-3, J-5, A-J-9-7-6-2, K-Q made a two-diamond overcall over one spade. When he received a raise to three diamonds, you advocated a cuebid of three spades. Does this promise a spade stop or deny one? What about the hearts? Don’t you need to worry about them too?

—  Openhearted, Springfield, Mich.


ANSWER: Judging from the auction, the opponents MIGHT run hearts. But if you focus on getting to no-trump with the danger suit (spades) stopped and don’t worry about unbid suits, you will generally be right. In the auction shown, the cuebid suggests something in spades but no more than one stopper. As a general rule, if you have space, you can temporize (with a three-heart call) without a stop and cuebid with about half a stop. This gets you to no-trump when it is right more frequently than just bidding no-trump with a single stop while probing without a stop.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

You showed a deal in which the opening bidder held J-7-5, A-K-9-7-3-2, 7-3-2, 9. You recommended a jump to four clubs after opening two hearts and hearing a two-spade response. While I agree with that, how should your partner’s response of two spades differ from a response of two no-trump?

—  Subtle Difference, Rockford, Ill.


ANSWER: The responses differ not in terms of high cards, but in terms of whether it is more important to tell partner about your hand (by bidding a suit) as opposed to asking partner about his. Normally the relayer is balanced or has heart support, though he may have a minor he does not want to emphasize. A player who bids a suit tends not to have primary support for partner.


For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2010. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact