Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Dear Mr Wolff:

My mother said she might be interested in getting a computer to play bridge. I know there are game systems out there that may have a bridge application, but they are expensive and may be too complex. I think she may enjoy a computerized bridge game or even solitaire if I can find the right one for her.

— Dutiful Daughter, Pittsburgh, Pa.

ANSWER: Does your mother use a computer for e-mail or the internet? If so, she can play for free on She can sign up and play any time of the day or night — and should not be worried about not finding players at her level. However, for hand-held games, maybe Saitek’s bridge products would be suitable.

Dear Mr Wolff:

Holding SPADES 9-3, HEARTS A-Q-4, DIAMONDS A-J-9-3-2, CLUBS A-10-6, I assume you would open a strong no-trump, as I did. My partner (an expert) transferred into spades, then nearly made me fall off my chair by bidding five no-trump. What on earth did that call mean?

— Jumping Jack, Newark, N.J.

ANSWER: A transfer and jump to four no-trump invites slam, a transfer and bid of five no-trump generally offers a choice of slams. Normal actions are to bid spades or no-trump, but here, with a decent five-card suit, you can bid six diamonds to suggest an alternative contract. Even a 5-2 diamond fit might be best, and if you need to ruff out spades or take a ruff in partner’s hand, it could be the only making slam.

Dear Mr Wolff:

In a recent problem that you presented, you mentioned the difference between bidding a new suit in response to an overcall when the hand on your right has passed, and when that hand has raised his partner, or even doubled, or bid a new suit. Under what circumstances would a new suit by the partner of an overcaller be forcing?

— Hot Shot, Texarkana, Texas

ANSWER: New suits in response to a one-level overcall (when there is no further competition) can be played as forcing or invitational. I prefer to play them as encouraging but not forcing. But if that overcall is at the two-level, it is best to play a new suit as forcing. By contrast, if the third hand joins in, new suits should be played as natural and nonforcing, though one could hold up to an opening bid with a good five- or six-card suit.

  Dear Mr Wolff:

In a recent pairs game I had a difficult decision when partner, in first seat with both sides vulnerable, opened two spades. I held SPADES 10-7-3, HEARTS A-9-7-5-4, DIAMONDS J-3, CLUBS K-10-8. Normally I would raise to three with trump support and a weak hand, continuing the pre-empt and making it more difficult for the opponents to find a game. In this situation, however, it seemed unlikely that opponents had a game, even if they had 24 or more points. What do you recommend?

— Upping the Ante, Grand Forks, N.D.

ANSWER: Raising to three spades makes it far harder for your LHO to come into the auction — he can’t double (for fear of a heart response), and if he bids a suit, he has gone past three no-trump. I generally bid first and justify my action later on sequences like these.

Dear Mr Wolff:

How would you handle this collection of power and quality: SPADES K-J-8-2, HEARTS 9-3, DIAMONDS 7-3, CLUBS J-10-8-4-2, at matchpoint pairs with both sides vulnerable, when your partner opens one heart in first seat? Assuming you pass, your LHO balances with two diamonds, passed back to you. What now?

— Slim Pickings, Bremerton, Wash.

ANSWER: It feels clearly right to pass initially. Responding rates to get you too high, and with no quick tricks, game seems a long way off. If two diamonds came back to me, I would double for takeout, risking that we had a playable fit somewhere. That action is not gilt-edged, but you are somewhat protected by your first pass — partner won’t play you for much!


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 27th, 2011 at 2:12 am

I changed my mind. Check for more information.

This deal from that website will NOT be published to your syndicate. Here’s a new deal:

North – Spades – K J 8 4, Hearts – A J 9 4 3, Diamonds – Q 2, Clubs – A 4.

South – Spades – A 10 9 6 2, Hearts – K Q 5, Diamonds – 3, Clubs – Q J 8 6.

East – Spades – 7, Hearts – 10 6, Diamonds – J 10 9 8 7 5 4, Clubs – K 9 3.

West – Spades – Q 5 3, Hearts – 8 7 2, Diamonds – A K 6, Clubs – 10 7 5 2.

Both vulnerable, East dealer.


South West North East


1 S Pass 2 NT Pass

3 D Pass 3 NT Pass

4 S All pass

Opening lead: Diamond king

When this syndicate is published, create the B section on the syndicate. As this is, make this the NEW deal. The older deal shows on the older website. Also, do not put this on the Sunday syndicate. When you reply, place good information. Sadly, this takes months to successfully publish.