Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Dear Mr. Wolff:

What should I do if I think that one of my opponents has taken advantage of his partner’s slow double? When should I say something?

—  Kindergarten Cop, Olympia, Wash.

ANSWER: It is very important to call the director and, as politely as you can, explain the situation. The director will listen to both sides and, if all agree about the hesitation, will generally ask you to call him back if you think you’ve been damaged. You can then wait till the end of the deal to reassess the position and decide on what action to take.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

What would you bid with SPADES J-9-6-4-3, HEARTS A-2, DIAMONDS K-10-3-2, CLUBS Q-7 when your partner opens one club and your RHO makes a one-spade overcall? Would you play for penalties, or would you bid no-trump yourself?

—  Attack or Defend?, Elmira, N.Y.

ANSWER: This is a tough call. My inclination is to play for penalties, so I would pass smoothly and await a reopening double from my partner, when I can pass it out. Using negative doubles, my partner will know to reopen with shortage, catering for this sort of position.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

When my partner opened one heart, I responded two clubs on a hand with opening values, five clubs and four diamonds. My partner raised me to three. I now wanted to get to no-trump, but had only two spades to the queen. Should I bid three spades or just gamble on no-trump?

—  Shooting Craps, Houston, Texas


ANSWER: First of all, when two suits have been bid as here, you bid where you live, so a call of three diamonds might get you to no-trump when it is right. Your partner could now repeat his hearts if he wants to be raised on a doubleton, or he could bid three spades as a probe for no-trump, allowing you to bid three no-trump with your actual holding.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

What do you think my partner should have done with SPADES 10-6, HEARTS K-J-7-3-2, DIAMONDS Q-10-9-7-2, CLUBS 6 when I opened one spade and rebid two diamonds over his one-no-trump response? He passed, claiming I would not make game because I had not jumped to three diamonds at my second turn. He was wrong: I made slam!

—  Level Best, Saint John’s, Newfoundland

ANSWER: A jump to three diamonds by you would have been a game force – rarely made except with 18-plus in high cards or real freak distribution. But your partner does not have to guess. He should raise to three diamonds and allow you to tell him what you have. My guess is that you will know better than he!

Dear Mr. Wolff:

You recently published an auction where one player responded five diamonds to a four no-trump inquiry. This means, to my knowledge, that he has one ace, whereas he actually had two aces. Please explain this bidding.

—  Puzzled, Panamas City, Fla.

ANSWER: You are absolutely right; a footnote was missing. The partnership was playing a variation of Keycard Blackwood (where the trump king counts as one of the five aces). Here the variation they played meant South had shown zero or three key cards, and South had in fact three key cards. Apologies!


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