Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 9th, 2013

What is the range for responding one no-trump to a simple overcall in a major? Should it be forcing, showing 6-12 points (like the response to an opening major-suit bid), or is it more tightly defined?

Closing In, Dover, Del.

The call is traditionally played as nonforcing but mildly constructive; say 8-12 points without a fit. Overcaller will generally correct to his suit with six and will invite game with a decent 14 and up in high cards. New suits by opener are natural, jumps are invitational, and a cue-bid is forcing for one round.

Where do you stand on leading aggressively from four or five cards to one honor, as opposed to passively from weaker or shorter holdings when faced with a blind auction, such as one heart – three hearts – four hearts?

Marking Time, Naples, Fla.

Assuming that you have decided not to play for ruffs, I always start out by looking for a sequence to lead from. When in doubt, I will generally lead from honors unless I know dummy is weak and declarer strong. On the given auction, there is a case for going passive, leading from three or four small cards if you had no obvious alternative, but I'm aggressive by instinct.

I know about New Minor Forcing in response to a rebid of one no-trump as a way to discover our partnership's degree of major-suit fit. Can something similar be used after a jump rebid of two no-trump, or in two-over-one auctions?

Digging for Treasure, Phoenix, Ariz.

The two auctions you mention cannot be considered in parallel. In a two-over-one sequence everything is natural. But many experts these days play that responder's rebid of the new minor after opener's jump to two no-trump can indeed be used artificially. It searches for a fit in the unbid major or for three-card support for the bid major. You can find out more on Richard Pavlicek's website here.

Should I consider raising partner after his opening bid is doubled via some artificial responses? Is this necessary, or sensible — and if so, what should I bid?

Artificial Sweetener, Woodland Hills, Calif.

When your partner’s major-suit opening is doubled, a response of two no-trump should show a limit raise or better in partner’s suit, while a jump to three of partner’s suit is more pre-emptive than strong. This convention has no downside – so long as you remember it! When you are happy with that, you might go one step further: play a two-club response as artificial (7-9 with three trumps) and a direct raise as 4-6. Think of it as mini-Drury!

I was playing with a relatively new partner and held ♠ K-Q,  Q-6,  A-K-J-9-7-4, ♣ A-8-4. My partner opened one diamond and I produced an inverted raise. She passed the first hurdle by not passing, but over her two-no-trump call, what should I have done next?

Poor Little Rich Girl, Little Rock, Ark.

When partner has shown a minimum balanced hand, then after the inverted raise, I like to play that responder can sign off in three of the trump suit, show shortage in a major by bidding it, or make an artificial call of the other minor to show slam interest, even facing 12-14 balanced. Now if partner signs off in three no-trump, I'd make one more effort with a quantitative call of four no-trump. Frankly, though, this hand is nearly worth a drive to slam facing a one-diamond opening.

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