Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

When would you open a weak two in fourth seat? I can understand that you would pass most hands with 8 points. What would you open, if anything, in fourth seat with ♠ J-10-7-3,  A-K-10-9-3-2,  —, ♣ Q-10-3? My view is that it should be a better hand than one in which you would open one heart and rebid two hearts.

Sally Fourth, Elkhart, Ind.

My two-bids in fourth chair start at 9 points. A two-spade opening with ace-king-jack-sixth and an additional minor honor is probably a dead minimum. Your example looks like a two-heart opener. We might belong in spades, but I’d be willing to take my chances on that.

I know Lebensohl applies as a way to compete when the opponents overcall over a strong no-trump. Are there other applications of this convention that we should be playing?

Handy Man, Pottsville, Pa.

Yes, indeed! Once you have bought into the concept, use it after reverses or when responding to the takeout double of a weak two. It can also be employed when partner opens, then balances with a double of a two-level overcall or jump overcall. Finally, you can (with some caution) use it after partner doubles a one-level opener and the opponents raise that suit. For more information, see Extended Lebensohl and Blackout.

I am returning to bridge after an extended hiatus. I suspect my methods 30 years ago (16-18 no-trump and four-card majors) are now out of date. What approach is standard these days?

Long Gone, Memphis, Tenn.

I believe almost everywhere in the world new players are taught five-card majors, and to open 12-counts rather than waiting for 13-point hands. In turn, that fits best with 15-17 for the no-trump range. I’d recommend learning from the ACBL free teaching tool.

What happens when a tournament director gives a decision at the table that appears to you to be wrong or unfair? Is there a right of appeal, or is a director’s ruling final?

Last Call, Charlottesville, Tenn.

I believe there is always a right of appeal against a director ruling, except where that ruling is a matter of law rather than interpretation. For example, you cannot appeal a penalty for a revoke, no matter how unfair or inequitable you think it is. But you should chat to your club director (or an impartial expert) before doing anything dramatic.

How should our partnership play the range of a jump in partner’s opened minor? We play a strong no-trump, and specifically I wonder when, if at all, we should consider moving on to three no-trump facing the jump raise.

Razor’s Edge, Tupelo, Miss.

I’m going to hedge a bit. I suggest that if you have a normal balanced 18-19, you do not head for three no-trump facing a non-vulnerable pre-emptive raise. In other words, the raise typically shows values of 0-5 high-card points with five or six cards in the suit raised. But facing a vulnerable raise (which tends toward showing slightly more than a purely preemptive raise), I would at least try for three no-trump, expecting partner to have closer to 4-8 high-card points.

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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Jeff SOctober 7th, 2018 at 3:41 pm

Hi Bobby,

I don’t know if it is a temporary glitch on the ACBL site, but your link to their teaching tool gives an error.

bobbywolffOctober 7th, 2018 at 4:51 pm

Hi Jeff,

Yes, I just tried reaching the ACBL’s teaching tool, shown in the above answer to Letter #3, and it shows an error at the source (ACBL site).

Sorry, I’ll have to wait until my resident computer expert, Judy, arises, since I am an electronic dunce, (and that ugly description still gives me the best of it).

However, if the problem is at ACBL’s home office in Horn Lake, MS., and since today is Sunday, even Judy’s magic may not be enough.

We’ll keep trying and Judy is always very determined and never gives up. although it may take until tomorrow.

Peter GallOctober 7th, 2018 at 6:27 pm


Thank you so much for your post. I have your book the Lone Wolff, which I really enjoyed. And thanks for the recommendation of the bridge book for a beginning player.

And thanks for your elaboration on how fixed spades could be made on what you described in your column from September 15, 2018 (the same as your column in the September 1, 2018 edition of the Vancouver Sun) on a more difficult lead of a club. However, I can’t figure out how either six no trump can be made on a diamond lead, which you describe in your column as easier to make. It seems to me that you have to lose the king of diamond and queen of spades on a diamond lead. Is that so?

Finally, do you personally give bridge lessons? I would very much like to meet with you and talk about bridge.

Thanks again.


David WarheitOctober 7th, 2018 at 7:01 pm

Peter: North, somehow, was the declarer at 6S, so a D lead would have been away from the K.

bobbywolffOctober 7th, 2018 at 7:37 pm

Hi Peter,

First, thanks to David for explaining the circumstances of how a diamond lead (from the other side) allowed 6NT to make.

Second, I appreciate your thoughts about personal bridge lessons, perhaps in the next life, but for this one, I will take the fifth amendment and politely say I’d love to, but have to decline.

Glad you loved my book, the first step in the prophesies predicted, with perhaps others to follow.

bobbywolffOctober 8th, 2018 at 2:48 pm

Hi Jeff,

The ACBL glitch concerning the prompt apparently has been remedied.

Since yesterday was a busy day for me, I do not know the particulars, but hope it was not too inconvenient for you.

At least, and for the ACBL, Judy and I appreciate your patience.

PeterOctober 10th, 2018 at 1:11 am

Thanks David and Bobby.