The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, January 13th, 2013
My partner opened one club and the next hand overcalled one spade. With ♠ 3-2, ♥ A-J-10-7-4, ♦ K-Q-9-4, ♣ 10-9, would you make a negative double or bid two hearts? How would you modify the hand to make the other choice more appealing?
Worker Bee, Dallas, Texas
Two factors to consider are that a two-heart call should have real prospects of game facing a mildly suitable hand in the 12-14 range. More important, try not to endplay yourself in the auction. If you double, what will you do if the opponents raise themselves to two spades? If you bid two hearts, are there any rebids partner can make that will fix you? I dislike the first scenario more, so I would bid two hearts, but turn my heart 10 into the two and I double.
If you respond with Stayman to a one-no-trump or two-no-trump opening bid, what is a subsequent jump to four no-trump? Is that quantitative, or Blackwood for partner's major? What if he denies a major?
Gone Fishing, Kansas City, Mo.
Stayman followed by four no-trump should be quantitative whatever partner's response. So one needs a way to set partner's major, if he has shown one. After Stayman in response to a no-trump opening finds a major, the cheapest call in the other major at the three-level or higher (thus one no-trump – two clubs – two hearts – three spades) sets partner's major as trump, and a subsequent four-no-trump call would be Blackwood. Other jumps are splinter raises of the major.
I opened one club somewhat light, holding ♠ Q-6-3-2, ♥ A-Q-4, ♦ 4, ♣ K-10-6-5-3. The next hand overcalled one diamond, my partner bid one heart, and when my RHO bid two diamonds, I bid two hearts. Afterwards, my partner suggested that I show my minimum hand best by passing here. What do you think?
Talking Heads, Staten Island, N.Y.
I agree with the opening call and would raise hearts for sure at my second turn. Whether I bid two hearts or doubled (the so-called support double showing a three-card raise) would depend on the methods I used.
After partner opens and the next hand doubles, when is it right to redouble with tolerance or support for partner? Has it to do with the values held, or the quality of the support?
Sporting Life, Bellingham, Wash.
Normally when partner opens a major and the next hand doubles, you show support immediately rather than redoubling. Exceptions come when you have a full opening bid so that you are worried you might miss slam, or when the trumps are weak and outside defense is very strong. I like to have a way to make a simple constructive as well as obstructive raise, and a way to invite and pre-empt with a jump. More on this in due course…
I'm sure you would use Stayman over your partner's strong no-trump with this hand: ♠ J-7-2, ♥ A-J-9-4, ♦ K-J-7-4, ♣ 10-2. When the next hand doubles two clubs and partner bids two spades, would you consider playing spades, not no-trump?
Second Thoughts, Laredo, Texas
I do not have to commit myself. I can cuebid the opponents' suit to ask partner whether he is happy with our side's club stopper. In this sequence the cuebid simply asks partner to describe his hand, with clubs clearly the danger suit.