Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

I opened one club, and the next hand overcalled one spade. When the next two hands passed, should I have passed too, holding: ♠ 7-4, K-10-8-4, A-Q-2, ♣ K-J-4-3? I did have a minimum balanced hand, I thought.

Balancing Act, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

This is a tough one for intermediate players to understand. But when you play negative doubles, you should always re-open with a double when you are short in the opponents’ suit. Here you would expect partner either to have a minimum hand and no clear action – when I admit you might regret re-opening – or a penalty double of spades, when passing will not prove represent your side’s best result.

Holding: ♠ 9-2, K-9-6-5-2, J-2, ♣ K-7-4-3 I heard my partner open one spade and I responded one no-trump. When my partner bid two diamonds I corrected to two spades, missing a 5-4 heart fit (my partner had a 5-4-4-0 shape and was trying to find a fit). Who went wrong here?

Broken Hearted, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.

Your partner’s responsibility here was to rebid two hearts not two diamonds, to look for the higher scoring contract. The two diamonds call is almost sure to lose any eight-card heart fit (and even, as here, a 5-4 fit). Missing a diamond fit is a ‘minor’ disaster by comparison.

Do you favor opening in third or fourth seat with a four-card major? If you would, how good a suit should you have? What would be the minimum for such an action?

Robbery with Violins, Midland, Mich.

Yes, one can make such a call with a minimum, and it can be made on any hand where the quality of the majorsuit is significantly better than the minor, and the hand is only worth one call. For example, I would open ace-queen fourth of spades rather than queen-fourth of clubs in an 11-count, but not in a 14-count, where I plan to bid again if given the chance.

I’m embarrassed to say I don’t really understand what exactly people mean by the term ‘Two over one’? Is it part of Standard American?

Slow Learner, Boca Raton, Fla.

The underlying concept behind ‘Two over one’ is that a two-level response to a one-level opening, if not in competition, sets up a game-forcing auction. Many people play ‘two over one’ is game forcing UNLESS responder repeats his suit. I’m happy to play either style; I think these approaches are about as common as the old-fashioned style where a two-level response does not guarantee a second bid. The former style is becoming close to standard in tournament play.

Holding: ♠ Q-4-3-2, 6, K-J-7-2, ♣ A-K-9-6 I opened one club, (do you agree?) and raised a one spade response to two. What is the right way to continue over a bid of three clubs from my partner?

Enigma Machine, Danville, Ill.

The three-club call is forcing. I think I can show the nature of my hand precisely by jumping to four hearts. Having limited my hand by my simple raise at my previous turn, my jump in a new suit is an unusual variety of splinter-bid in support of spades. We may not be able to make slam, but my partner should envisage a hand of this approximate shape and strength, and make his own arrangements.

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 2015. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact