Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I’m curious about a problem that arose after a reversing sequence in your column. With SPADES K-Q-6, HEARTS A-K-6-2, DIAMONDS A, CLUBS K-7-4-3-2, you open one club and bid two hearts over your partner’s one-spade response. What is now forcing and what is not?

—  Vertical Leaper, Spartanburg, S.C.

ANSWER: The two-heart bid was forcing, but not to game. Responder can put on the brakes with a bid of two no-trump. Responder’s repeat of his own suit shows five or more cards, but does not set up a game-force. Responder’s raise of either of opener’s suits is best played as natural and forcing. Be aware: these bids require partnership agreement.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

What is the interaction between a tournament director and an appeals committee? And in what circumstances does the latter have a role to play?

—  Court of Appeals, Torrance, Calif.

ANSWER:In tournament play, when an irregularity has actually (or possibly) taken place and a director is summoned, he will give a ruling. If one side or both are unhappy with that ruling, either side may appeal it. The laws provide that such an appeal must be heard, whether the committee is one person or a group. They can uphold or overturn the ruling, or make a new ruling.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Most systems use a three-point range for a one-no-trump opening, but allocate a two-point range for a bid or rebid of two no-trump by stronger balanced hands. If responder invites game or slam, the decision is easy for hands in the two-point range. However, facing the no-trump opening, there is always a hand in the middle. Why do we use the ambiguous three-point range for the most frequent hand?

—  Free-Range Chicken, Clarksburg, Ontario


ANSWER: You answered your own question in a way. Because the call with the three-point range occurs at the one-level, the other hand can always invite and give opener a chance to define his holding intelligently. With the midpoint hand, you must use judgment — but that’s bridge. With a rebid or an opening of two no-trump, responder has to commit himself to game, or pass, and cannot invite. Hence the two-no-trump opening is best played as 20-21, or the range would be too wide.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

You recently posed a rebid problem where partner opened one diamond and you responded two clubs, rather than one heart, holding SPADES 7-6, HEARTS K-Q-7-3, DIAMONDS Q, CLUBS A-10-8-7-3-2. After a two-spade overcall you now had an awkward rebid. Is there a general agreement on how to respond with a four-card major and a six-card minor? It doesn’t seem right to me to bypass such a good major suit.

—  Minor Disagreement, Anchorage, Alaska


ANSWER: I try to avoid bidding a shorter suit when I can bid my longer one. My hand here is not quite worth a two-club call, but without (the somewhat unexpected) opposition bidding, I could have bid hearts conveniently at my second turn and have shown my shape as well as I could. Sometimes we have to distort our HCP to show shape or vice versa. In such instances, overbidding is generally right — the upsides are so much higher.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

My foursome plays strong two-bids. My RHO opened two diamonds, and after a response of two no-trump by her partner, she bid three diamonds, which ended the auction. There was some dispute as to what if anything would have been forcing here. Please clarify.

—  Brakeman, Elkhart, Ind.


ANSWER: A strong two is forcing for one round but not to game. Opener can stop short of game by repeating his suit, or by bidding a lower suit (forcing for one round) and have responder sign off in the long suit. After a two-club opening, two sequences let you out short of game. Opener can rebid two no-trump, nonforcing; or responder can make the negative response, then produce a second negative over opener’s two-level suit bid, after which opener repeats his suit at the three-level.


If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, e-mail him at Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2011.