The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, April 8th, 2012
My bridge reputation rides on the following hand. Holding ♠ 10-9-8-6-5-4-2, ♥ A-K-9, ♦ Q, ♣ A-K, I opened one spade; my partner responded two diamonds. Opinions of what I should have rebid vary widely, but I chose three spades as the only way to get the length and strength across.
Foxy Lady, Winston-Salem, N.C.
If two diamonds did not guarantee a second call, I don't disagree with your choice — not because I LIKE the three-spade bid (I don't), but because nothing else is better! If two diamonds guaranteed a second bid (either because you play two-over-one game-forcing or you play responder's suit rebid is invitational but everything else is game-forcing), then three spades is wrong, as it shows at most a one-loser suit. Simply rebid two spades.
My partner held ♠ J-9-5-4-2, ♥ A-9-4, ♦ K-4, ♣ Q-4-3 and responded one spade to one club. I raised to two spades and he passed, missing a decent game that needed one of two finesses. What determines whether to bid on or not?
Undercooked, Casper, Wyo.
When you find a spade fit, your hand gets much better. The fifth trump really improves the hand, maybe just enough to make a game-try of three clubs. It's certainly close, but paradoxically your bad spades makes your hand improve even more when you find a fit.
A new edition of the Encyclopedia of Bridge has just been published. I own an older edition. What would justify my buying the latest one?
Bookworm, Jackson, Tenn.
Brent Manley has produced what in my opinion is a masterwork. He has reorganized the contents of the book into sections that are far easier to follow, and has updated the book so that it covers modern bidding and play conventions for everyone, no matter what their level.
At our local duplicate club most tables were confronted with a diamond pre-empt by East. At unfavorable vulnerability South had ♠ A-J-10-9-4, ♦ K-9-6-2, ♦ Q-4, ♣ Q-4. Is correct to act over a three- or four-diamond pre-empt here?
Fair Catch, Woodlands Hills, Calif.
This is indeed a difficult hand. I think I would double a one- or two-level opening bid in diamonds, but my soft values, especially the doubleton trump queen, argue for restraint. Put it this way: With the doubleton king of diamonds I would double either a three-diamond or four-diamond opening. But I'd treat your hand as a minimum and pass now.
What is the largest penalty you've ever seen recorded in a serious event?
Record Keeper, Detroit, Mich.
Funny you should ask! When I went to Veldhoven this fall, a pair of ladies (who went on to win a medal!) had an auction where one player tried to transfer into spades no less than six times. Obviously there was a partnership misunderstanding, since the final contract was four hearts redoubled on a 3-1 fit. It went down 3400.