Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, November 11th, 2012

If you play weak jump overcalls, what would you be showing if you overcall and later bid that suit again? For example, I held ♠ A-Q-9-8-3-2,  J-4,  K-3, ♣ Q-6-2. I overcalled one spade over one diamond, then, when my LHO doubled and my RHO bid two diamonds, I did not know if I was right to bid two spades.

Come Again, Winston-Salem, N.C.

An overcall followed by a second free bid suggests a decent six-card suit and 13-16, say. That is less than you would need for a double and a new suit, but still shows a good hand. Take your example hand; with the spade jack instead of the two no one would criticize bidding two spades in the auction under discussion. And if the opponents had found a fit, you would be more inclined to bid again with your actual hand.

My LHO opened five diamonds and my partner bid six diamonds. He immediately apologized and said "sorry, six clubs," but my opponent said the call could not be changed. Please clarify the rules here.

Lapsus Linguae, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

The rule about changing bids is that normally you would be permitted to do so if it was done in the same breath. In most friendly games you would be allowed to change without penalty! Using bidding boxes, by the way, you get to correct inadvertent errors of this sort until it is your partner's turn to speak.

What is the right way to play Q-10-8-6-2 in hand facing K-4-3? And should your strategy change if you lead low to the king and ace with the nine appearing on your left?

Underpinnings, Torrance, Calif.

Your plan for four tricks is to lead low to the king and then back to the 10. You should make this play whether or not the king loses to the ace. However, when the nine pops up on the first round, you may need to form an opinion about the strength of your LHO. Against anyone less than a real expert (or a dedicated signaler of distribution), you might well play him for the J-9 doubleton — and if he has false-carded from a doubleton nine, congratulate him.

I've taken to heart your advice about not overcalling at the two-level on bad suits. But say you have opening values with four spades and five clubs, plus two cards in each red suit. If the opponents open one diamond or one heart, what can you do if you don't bid two clubs?

Rags to Riches, Doylestown. Pa.

If the opponents open one heart, it would not be absurd to double, hoping that if partner bids diamonds, he might have enough of them to be able to tolerate your shortage. If they open one diamond, you are probably best advised to pass and wait for the opponents to bid and raise hearts so that you can double. Otherwise you may be forced to pass throughout — not necessarily a bad thing!

Yesterday my wife said she wanted to learn bridge. Do you have any suggestions on how to proceed other than very carefully and with patience?

In Big Trouble, Hoboken, N.J.

You are a brave man! My first suggestion is to get her Sheinwold's "Five Weeks to Winning Bridge" and then the Audrey Grant Series. Teaching your wife will not be easy; the normal rules of politeness between spouses seem to get suspended over bridge. But when the roles of teacher and learner are firmly established, there is a slim chance that you will survive without bloodshed.

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 2012. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact