Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Vulnerable against not, I dealt and passed holding: ♠ Q-5-3,  K-7-5-2,  A-Q-8, ♣ 10-8-3. When my RHO opened one club in fourth chair, I doubled to show I had a maximum pass. Was that action unduly aggressive? My partner certainly thought I needed more shape, though playing two diamonds down a trick actually scored us reasonably enough.

Fearless Fred,
    Perth Amboy, N.J.

It is certainly wrong to double as a passed hand just to show points — after all, your partner could not bid in third chair, when he would surely have found a reason to bid with shape. And if he does have enough shape and points for it to be your deal, he may well act of his own volition at his next turn. Bottom line: only bid here with shape not just a maximum pass.

Has there been any progress in getting bridge into the Olympic movement? Is the struggle worth the effort of manpower and expenditure?

Seeking the Rings,
    White Plains, N.Y.

Linking bridge to sport has led in some countries to government funding, and official recognition, which can only serve to help to increase bridge’s popularity. My view of the best way to sell bridge is to go through the schools system. But some success has been had in getting bridge into the 2018 Asian Games. We must watch this space to see what consequences that will have.

Playing matchpoint pairs I was in third seat looking at ♠ Q-10-8,  J-7-5-4,  K-10-3, ♣ K-Q-4. When my partner opened one club, I chose to conceal my weak hearts to invite game with a call of two no-trump, since I had no ruffing value, and wanting to conceal my hand type if we did end up in no-trump. My decision worked reasonably, since the defenders allowed me to make the same number of tricks at no-trump as I would have done in our 4-4 heart fit, but how would you bid my hand?

Caught Off Base, Grenada, Miss.

I do not blame you for taking a view and bidding two no-trump even though you may be playing against the field here. So long as your partner will not get upset, you should do what you think is right. But if that approach keeps failing, then maybe you should revert to a less idiosyncratic approach?

Could you suggest an approach for describing two-suited hands over opponents’ two- or three-level pre-empts? Is it right to use a cuebid for any two-suited hand or specifically the majors?

I Like Mike, Willoughby, Ohio

A simple scheme is to play the cuebid of a major shows the other major and a minor, the cuebid of a minor shows both majors. Jumps to four of a minor show that minor and a major after the opponents’ opening bid of two diamonds, two hearts, two spades and three clubs. It is possible to go even further and give up on playing a simple overcall of four of a minor over a three-level preempt as natural. If you are interested details are at:

What are the rules for when a player opens out of turn with a bid?

Misplaced Modifier, Durham, N.C.

A player’s call is canceled if he bids out of turn when he was third or fourth to speak, and the auction reverts to the real dealer. While the offender may bid what he likes, the offender’s partner must pass throughout, and there may also be lead penalties if you end up on defense. A second seat opening will escape any penalty if dealer passes. Otherwise the penalty reverts to what was described above, namely you silence your partner and may incur lead penalties.

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.
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