The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, July 22nd, 2012
If you are in fourth seat with ♠ K-3, ♥ K-10-6, ♦ A-K-7-2, ♣ J-4-3-2 and hear a weak two-spade opening passed around to you, what are your thoughts on bidding? And if you do act, would you overcall two no-trump or double?
Splitting Hares, Kansas City, Mo.
This hand is on the cusp for action. Your badly placed spade honor makes the decision especially awkward. I can see that doubling might get you to the right partscore, but you probably won't make game unless partner has spade length and opening values. A call of two no-trump is just about possible; at least it protects your spade king.
I read recently that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were keen bridge players. Do they play in tournament events at all? And are there any other celebrities who play seriously?
Star Search, Dover, Del.
Both Warren and especially Bill are regular visitors to national events. Bill plays in the very top events and does respectably. I've seen Isaac Mizrahi play in New York events, and NASA astronaut Greg Johnson and author Michael Palmer are also regulars on the tournament scene — among many other famous people.
Last week at our friendly bridge club we encountered an incredibly odd hand that generated several suggested bidding sequences for reaching the right contract. Dealer held ♠ A-K-J-10-7-4-3, ♥ A-K-Q-10-6-2, ♦ —, ♣ —. How should you explore properly here?
Major Major, Mitchell, S.D.
I think I'd open two clubs, rebid two spades, then jump to seven hearts to get partner to choose a suit. My partner will know all I need him to do is to pick the better trump suit. Mind you I might just bid seven spades at my first turn, doing that for the first (and probably last) time in my life. The other approach is far sounder, though.
Do you have strong views about two-level pre-empts when it comes to the question of good or bad suits, and would you ever pre-empt with a five-carder?
Over the Top, Wilmington, N.C.
At favorable vulnerability in either third (or even first) chair, I've been known to treat a two-suiter with a very good five-carder as a weak two. But I would not recommend this style to others. Equally, in the same seats I might open a six-card suit which was missing two of the top honors — especially if holding decent intermediates, which are often a good substitute for the missing high card.
I was in third seat, my having partner opened one diamond and the next hand having bid two spades. I held ♠ K-4, ♥ K-Q-10-6-2, ♦ Q-7-2, ♣ 10-4-3. What were my choices now?
Options Trader, Huntingdon, W.Va.
The best way forward now looks to be a negative double. This way you find your heart fit when you have one, and if your partner rebids two no-trump, you can pass. I suggest you correct three clubs to three diamonds, and pass a three-diamond rebid. This would be a much harder task if you had three spades and two diamonds, when a double might get you to an inferior partscore.