Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 30th, 2015

When you are three-three in the minors would you advocate opening the stronger minor, for the lead, in third seat or indeed in any other seat? And what about hands with 4-4 in the minors — what should you open and does the seat matter?

First Steps, Kansas City, Mo.

In third seat I tend only to open a three- or four-card minor if light when I am sure I want that suit led. I normally open one club here. In other positions with 4-4 in the minors I tend to open my better suit, whether too weak or too strong for 1 NT. After all, I’d prefer my partner to lead my stronger suit, if in doubt.

Can you tell me about a double jump by opener at his second turn to speak? Specifically, should the unopposed sequence: one diamond – one spade – three hearts show a big two-suiter or short hearts? What about a jump by opener to four clubs?

Jack Rabbit, Schaumburg, Ill.

When a call at one level would be natural and forcing, as is the case with a reverse, or jump, such as one diamond-one spade-two hearts (or three clubs) the call one level higher should show a different hand-type altogether. In the auction: one diamond – one spade – two clubs, the last bid is natural but not forcing, so three clubs is natural and forcing while a jump to four clubs shows short clubs, in support of spades.

Can you tell me how often opener will rebid a five-card as opposed to a six-card suit in an uncontested auction? Is the matter affected by whether responder bids at the one- or two-level?

Called Out, Madison, Wis.

The simple answer is that in an uncontested auction when responder bids at the one level, opener will go out of his way not to rebid a five-card suit. But occasionally (typically after a one spade response) opener will have no choice but to repeat a good five-card suit with an awkward pattern such as 2-4-2-5. After a two-level response, opener frequently opts to repeat a good five-card suit rather than bid two no-trump with a small doubleton in an open suit.

I’m having difficulty in differentiating the hand-types that opener might have when he supports partner directly, or delays support. For example, say you open the bidding one diamond and hear partner respond one heart. Isn’t it the case that a direct raise in hearts shows four trumps, while delayed support shows three?

Helping Hand, Pottsville, Pa.

Opener’s direct raise of a major shows four trump, or three trump in an unbalanced minimum. If you always raise partner when you have three trump and are unbalanced, you find your fits at once, and the failure to raise acts as a red flag to partner, who can stay lower on misfits. The delayed raise you mention, of bidding a second suit then raising partner after his minimum rebid, should be reserved for hands with three trump and a king more than a minimum opener.

Holding: ♠ A-J-9-6-2, 5-2, Q-7-4-2, ♣ 9-4 would you respond two spades to a two club opening? If not, how much more would you need to make that call?

Stretching the Boundaries, Naples, Fla.

No, with the boss suit I’m sure I can find a way to get them in somehow, no matter what my partner does next. I bid two diamonds first. Change the diamond queen to the king and I’m happy to bid two spades now; the extra control makes a difference. Even with the spade queen instead of the jack I’d opt to upgrade the hand to a positive.

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