Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Dear Mr Wolff:

What is the minimum suit requirement for doubling the opponents for takeout, then bidding a suit? Does this action guarantee a six-card suit, or is a very good five-carder sufficient?

— Bare Minimum, Newark, N.J.

ANSWER: Don’t be too firm in insisting on specifics with regard to suit quality or length. It looks better to me to think of the auction as showing about an ace more than an opening bid in an unbalanced hand. You’d expect either a six-card suit or a decent five-carder.

Dear Mr Wolff:

In a recent Bid With the Aces you posed a problem when holding SPADES K-9-2, HEARTS K-J-2, DIAMONDS J-7-2, CLUBS 9-8-5-4, a hand with which you had raised one spade to two, after which your partner had jumped to four diamonds to show shortage. You recommended a bid of four hearts as a control-showing bid below game, a cooperative forward-going move toward slam in spades. Is not the consensus that this would show a first-round control of that suit?

— Control Freak, Eau Claire, Wis.

ANSWER: No, that is not the case. When you have shown a weak hand, you should certainly be allowed to cooperate by cuebidding a second-round control, be it a king or a singleton. These days partner can always use Blackwood following the start of the cuebids to check up on what sort of controls you have

Dear Mr Wolff:

We have wanted to learn bridge for many years but cannot find any local teachers or players. Stafford County tried to offer bridge in its seniors’ activities, but could not find anyone to teach it. Where can we learn?

— Bridge to Nowhere, Stafford, Va.

ANSWER: I personally don’t know the answer, but call the ACBL at 1-800-467-1623 and ask for teaching. They should help you — but if you can’t get anywhere, write me back and I’ll try to help.

  Dear Mr Wolff:

As opener, if I hold four clubs and four spades (or four diamonds and four spades), should I open the minor and rebid one no-trump instead of introducing the spades when partner bids one heart? Which is more critical, the stopper in the fourth suit or the quality of the spades?

— Fork in the Road, Charleston, S.C.

ANSWER: One spade isn’t obligatory with 4-4 pattern (it does indeed depend on the quality of your spade suit and stoppers in the unbid minor suit). Remember that after you open one club, if your partner responds one diamond, you will rebid one no-trump even with 4-4 pattern — unless you have a small doubleton in the fourth suit. Don’t cater to a 4-4 fit in a major, since partner almost surely won’t hold a fit for you (or he is strong and will be about to bid the major himself).

Dear Mr Wolff:

With both sides vulnerable, you are on lead with the opponents bidding one heart – two no-trump – four hearts. I held SPADES K-9-4-2, HEARTS 8-2, DIAMONDS 9-7-2, CLUBS K-J-10-4, and ascertained the two-no-trump bid was a game-forcing heart raise. I led the club jack, which did not work out, but I reasoned that partner needed at least a few values to set the contract, and hoped for a club honor. Was my reasoning sound? Would your view change if my opponents had not advertised a nine-card trump fit?

— On Lead and Lost, Memphis, Tenn.

ANSWER: My view is that a club stands out in either scenario. It is aggressive but there is no guarantee that going passive with a trump or diamond won’t be a disaster either.


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

1 Comment

NickJune 5th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Hi Bobby,

I would like to see the archives on What I expect is you PUT ON MORE ARCHIVES STARTING FROM JANUARY 1, 2007. Do not put this on the Sunday papers, and do not delete comments like this.