Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, March 31st, 2013

After your LHO opens one club and your partner doubles, your RHO bids one heart. You hold ♠ J-8-2,  K-9-4,  K-3, ♣ A-9-5-4-2. How would you plan to develop the auction?

Decked Out, Newark, N.J.

There do seem to be a lot of points in this deck. I’d guess not to try for game but simply to bid one no-trump and await (hope for) further developments. I’m guessing the opponents cannot make anything — I’d like to get a chance to double them.

It occurred to me that when I am on the road a lot, I never seem to find a magazine on the subject of bridge. I would enjoy reading about different hands and how to play them as well as what is going on currently in the competitive world of bridge. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Finder’s Fee, Greenbrae, Calif.

Bridge magazines come in all shapes and sizes, but they are becoming fewer and farther between as printing costs rise. Bridge Magazine in the U.K. and Bridge World in the U.S. are the two leading publications. Google these two names and you will find plenty of material — and of course the ACBL magazine has a lot of good material too.

What do you believe is the right approach to responding when partner balances with a call of one no-trump after an opening bid is passed around to him? If you assume, as I currently do, that the range for this action might be 11-15 points, then Stayman on its own doesn’t seem to address the wide range one might be facing.

Checked Off, Grand Forks, N.D.

You might use a two-club response to guarantee game-invitational values, and for the overcaller to respond at the two-level with a minimum hand, and bid at the three-level with a maximum hand. Alternatively, you can respond two diamonds with any minimum hand, any other bid at the two-level showing a medium hand, and any call at the three-level showing a maximum hand.

I had the following unremarkable hand: ♠ 8-6-2,  J-9-4,  K-Q-5, ♣ Q-10-9-6 and heard the auction (at favorable vulnerability) start with a four-heart call from my partner and a four-spade bid to my right. I tried five hearts (would you have done so?), and now came six spades to my left! What would you bid? If you passed it out, what would you lead?

Saving Grace, Muncie, Ind.

I would surely pass this out and lead a heart, hoping my minor honors might be enough to take two tricks even if our side has no heart tricks. Sacrificing is generally a mug’s game.

Why is it at duplicate bridge, that if declarer has honors, they do not get points for him as they would in party bridge?

Settled Out of Court, Union City, Tenn.

In some tournaments they do — but only those played for total points. I think playing honors in duplicate would be fun — but the rules of duplicate bridge generally mean that everyone who has the same hand gets the honors. This is somewhat misguided, but we are not going to change the minds of tournament organizers after such a long time.

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 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


John StoreyApril 14th, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Hi Bobby – IT question – your column used to show up every day in the RSS feed that BridgeBlogging offers, but it doesn’t anymore. Did something happen?

bobbywolffApril 14th, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Hi John,

I do not know to what you refer, but I have already copied your question to the person who runs the bridgeblogging site, Ray Lee, and have asked him to answer you.

John StoreyApril 17th, 2013 at 11:29 am

Hi Bobby – thanks for letting me know. I am referring to the “Subscribe to our Bridge Feeds” link at the top right hand side of this page. It hasn’t updated in a while now. I tried removing it and adding it back but that did not work either.