Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Is there still room in the World Championship events taking place in Philadelphia this October? As a moderate duplicate player, will I have more fun as a spectator, a player, or an online kibitzer?

—  Tiny Tim, Kansas City, Mo.


ANSWER: Yes, you can still sign up to play, and although preregistration is encouraged (see here), you can also simply turn up and play in what rates to be the tournament of a lifetime. In almost all other world championships, you would need to qualify through national trials or zonal events, so make the most of your chances here.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

A recent bidding problem featured this hand: J-9-3-2, A-K-Q-2, —, A-J-10-7-4. You opened one club and rebid one heart over your partner’s one-diamond response. Now your partner bid one no-trump. You passed, settling for what you thought to be a reasonable contract, without risking getting too high. I would have invited to game by bidding two no-trump. Any thoughts?

—  Risk-Taker, Muncie, Ind.


ANSWER: I was suggesting that I was about a spot-card short of an invitational bid. Even the club nine might have made me feel more optimistic about getting four or five club tricks facing a doubleton club.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

What are the rules when an opponent makes a call and his partner forgets to alert it on time? Does the next player (who passed before the alert) get to reconsider?

—  Mulligan, Lorain, Ohio

  ANSWER: The tournament director should allow a defender who has not been alerted promptly to take back his call, unless that player’s partner has already acted, in which case it would be too late to change the call. Now an adjusted score may be the only remedy for the nonoffenders, assuming they have been damaged.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

Recently you ran a problem featuring this hand: K-10-9-2, Q-3-2, J-6-5, K-9-4. In the auction, this hand passed over RHO’s one club, heard one diamond on his left, and one no-trump from partner. You described this as strong, but how can this show 15 points if both opponents have bid and the featured hand has nine?

—  Doubting Thomas, Pleasanton, Calif.


ANSWER: I’m not sure if you are overly trusting of the opponents or cynical about your partner. In these sequences I always trust partner and mistrust the opponents; they frequently respond light when they don’t fit their partners’ one-club opening. If partner has what he says, one opponent is lying — I assume it’s LHO!


Dear Mr. Wolff:

With this hand, Q-4, A-Q-9-3-2, A-2, A-Q-7-4, you asked what you would rebid after you had opened one heart and heard a one-no-trump response. You suggested either a direct rebid of two no-trump, or two clubs (followed by a correction to two no-trump if partner took a preference to hearts). What are the pros and cons of the two actions?

—  Fielder’s Choice, Dallas, Texas


ANSWER: The advantage of bidding clubs, then no-trump, is to get to clubs when it plays better than no-trump, and keeping the auction low if necessary. The advantage of bidding no-trump directly is that facing, let’s say, a 3-2-4-4 eight-count, you might stop at the two-level and miss out on a makable no-trump game or even five clubs.


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