Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Recently you discussed an auction where opener started with one club, heard a one-heart response, and jumped to two spades. Over his partner’s preference to three clubs, he now jumped to four hearts. Would this sequence show a balanced hand with both majors? If not, what sort of hand should he have?

—  Supporting Goods, Holland, Mich.

ANSWER: The jump to two spades shows an unbalanced hand, normally with five clubs and four spades without four hearts. (In this example a JUMP to four hearts does show four trumps. Preference to three hearts would show 4-3-1-5 pattern.) With a balanced hand and four hearts, opener raises hearts, ignoring the spades. With four spades and three hearts in a balanced hand, he rebids two no-trump.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

On the third deal of a Chicago, I held SPADES Q-9-7-2, HEARTS A-J-2, DIAMONDS 7-4, CLUBS K-J-4-2; our opponents were vulnerable with 40 on. After my LHO opened two diamonds and my RHO raised to three, should I double for takeout? I did so and found my partner with a flat four-count. We went down 1100!

—  Doghouse, Albuquerque, N.M.

ANSWER: Oh dear! Defending partscores in this position is a very hard thing to do. I might well have duplicated your action in this scenario, although the call is technically rather too aggressive, given partner’s initial failure to act. But let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Can you comment on the minimum distribution required for opening one diamond, then bidding two clubs over either a one-spade or one-heart response? If 4-4 is acceptable, what high-card range would your hand fall into?

—  Minor Key, Elkhart, Ind.


ANSWER: Over a one-heart response (and in theory also over a one-spade response), a two-club call guarantees 5-4 in the minors, generally with longer diamonds. So with 12-14 and 1-4-4-4, I tend to open one club and rebid one no-trump. (Incidentally, with 15-16, one can open one no-trump here with a singleton spade honor, thus avoiding the whole rebid problem.)

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I recently read your advice on how you would develop two tricks from a holding of A-10-7 facing three cards to the queen. Would you take the same approach if you had the nine instead of the 10?

—  Taking Chances, Willoughby, Ohio

ANSWER: In your first example, best is to lead to the queen, then back to the 10 if the queen loses to the king. In the second example cashing the ace then leading low to the queen is fractionally better than low to the queen at once. Possession of the 10 is critical, since in the first example, if low to the queen loses, you still have a 50 percent chance that the jack is under the A-10. By contrast, with the nine instead of the 10, you would be left with an inevitable loser.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

In one of your bidding problems, South held SPADES 7 4, HEARTS K-8-4-3, DIAMONDS K-5, CLUBS A-7-4-3-2. North opened one diamond and rebid one spade over South’s one-heart response. You proposed a rebid of one no-trump because prospects for game facing a minimum 12-14 HCP were poor. Would you have considered an invitational bid of two no-trump if the responding hand had better spot cards?

—  Mighty Mouse, Fayetteville, N.C.

ANSWER: To answer your question better, consider a typical suitable minimum opposite this hand, with five diamonds to the A-J and four spades to the A-K. Even if the diamonds behave very well, you may need a finesse for your ninth trick. Change our example hand to include the diamond 10 and some club spots, and you might just tempt me to invite game, but, frankly, it is still a stretch.


If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, e-mail him at Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2011.

1 Comment

JaneFebruary 20th, 2011 at 11:44 pm


This is not related to the above column, but another comment about Gerber.

Just finished reading Mr. Colchamiro’s article about Gerber in this month’s Bridge Bulletin. He describes the system much like you did in discussions on a previous post. (Imagine that!) Your explanation, along with his, makes so much more sense to me. I realize systems can vary according to partnership agreements, but it is nice to read about systems from the experts and get their opinions on how to play them.

Thanks again. No need to respond to this. I just thought it was a coincidence to discuss Gerber with you, then find the same topic in this month’s magazine.