Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, July 14th, 2013

There is always a quote with your column and I wondered why. Is there any significance to the quotations that run with Aces on Bridge?

Bartlett Junior, Richmond, Va.

The quote has been part of the column for as long as I can remember. My twisted mind tries to produce a link between the column material or a participant in the deal, and the quote. Where I cannot think of anything to link to, I look for an entertaining or thought-provoking line.

To a player holding a balanced hand with four decent clubs, you recommended a passive lead of a spade against the unopposed sequence of one club – one diamond – one spade – one no-trump – two no-trump. Since his partner rated to have four hearts and moderate values, why would you not lead the heart five from ace-third?

Attack Dog, Park City, Utah

Partner has likely heart length (declarer might be 4-5 in the reds, I suppose), but it feels that leading from an ace is only right if we want to be active. Even when partner has four hearts, we could easily be setting up a critical trick for declarer. When dummy's long suit doesn't rate to be splitting, go passive.

This was my partner's hand: ♠ A-Q-7-5-4,  A-K-7-5,  4, ♣ K-9-4. He opened one spade, and after I bid the Jacoby two no-trump to show a spade raise, the next player jumped to four diamonds. My partner bid Blackwood, and the player to his left bid five diamonds. How could we have combatted this?

Running Wild, Spokane, Wash.

Many experts play DOPI when the opponents intervene after Blackwood below your trump suit. Double shows no aces; pass shows one ace; step one shows two aces, etc. If you play keycard responses, use those steps instead. With higher intervention, one can play DEPO — double is an even number of aces, while passing shows an odd number, typically one, and the steps start at three.

When my partner opened one spade and the next hand overcalled two no-trump for the minors, what should I have done with ♠ A-6-4,  K-J-4-3-2,  9-4, ♣ Q-3-2?

Unusual Suspects, Janeville, Wis.

Where there are two known suits on your right, you can use the higher cue-bid to show a limit raise in spades – so a three-spade bid by you becomes competitive, what you would do if your spade ace were the jack. You can use the low cue-bid for a good hand with hearts, the fourth suit, planning to raise spades later to invite game. Meanwhile, a three-heart bid would be nonforcing with six hearts.

What precisely is a support double? They seem to be all the rage at my club! Do you advocate playing them? And when you have a long suit and support for partner, which takes priority?

Learner, Miami, Fla.

Most expert pairs playing strong no-trump use support doubles, though in my opinion they should be optional, not compulsory. Opener can double any action below two of his partner's suit to show three-card trump support, while a direct raise of partner guarantees four trumps. However, with a terrible hand you should have discretion to lie. Equally, you may care to repeat a good six-carder, then raise partner later if the suit quality suggests it.

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