Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 16th, 2019

I’m looking for a way to watch expert players so I can improve my own game. I’m currently far from home, a student in the Pacific Northwest, so I’m not sure how many strong events there may be in the vicinity.

Watch Dog, Selma, Ala.

If you don’t mind watching on the internet, you can see top-level bridge on Bridge Base Online (now allied with Funbridge) almost every day. And there is live commentary from the major championships all around the world. Try BBO at for more details.

If you open ♠ Q-10-5-3,  A-K-7-4-3,  K-6, ♣ 9-3, I imagine you bid one heart and will hear your partner respond with a forcing no-trump. What is the least lie now?

Okey Dokey, Ponca City, Okla.

If someone advised you to pass and apologize to your partner when you’re wrong, I’d understand — since that’s what I’d do. Make the diamond king the ace, so that you have enough to accept a limit raise, and now it becomes much harder. Inventing a two-club rebid might work out best, but there are no guarantees.

On a recent deal, you have South opening one spade when holding six solid spades and jack-third in hearts. It seems to me that the hand is a bit shy of honor tricks. I usually expect at least two honor tricks or close to 13 high-card points. So why not open two spades here?

Jack Robinson, Newark, Calif.

The solid spades and that distracting random extra jack in the side-suit fragment would be enough to tempt me to open one spade anywhere but second seat vulnerable … and maybe even then!

I’m confused about how many bids one should take with a strong hand after doubling a pre-empt. You hear three clubs on your left and, with ♠ K-3-2,  A-Q-8-2,  K-Q-4-2, ♣ K-4, you double. When your partner responds with three spades, should you raise to game or pass?

Haircut 100, Fayetteville, N.C.

You have extras and a club stopper, but only three-card support for your partner. That suggests that if you do make a call, it would be three no-trump. But do you have enough for that? I’d say no — your partner should have 4-5 points on average, since he surely won’t have more than 9 points for a minimum action.

Recently, I held ♠ Q-9-2,  A-2,  K-Q-7-4 ♣ J-6-3-2, and I heard an opening bid of one heart on my right. I did not double, because I only had three spades, but was I then supposed to balance after my left-hand opponent bid a forcing no-trump, then corrected two clubs to two hearts?

Second Stain, Galveston, Texas

Bidding on the first round is not only safer, but better. (Doubling suggests short hearts, not an absolute guarantee of length in the other major.) But if you do pass initially, you really do not know that the opponents have a fit. Your left-hand opponent probably has only a doubleton heart at least as often as he has three. Once you have passed initially, is it better to stay silent.

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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