Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, September 21st, 2014

How should one play a redouble of a negative double by overcaller's partner? I have heard mention of using it as a way to show trump support — is that sensible?

Maid Marion, Indianapolis, Ind.

To my mind the redouble should show opening values by an unpassed hand, and a maximum pass with secondary support by a passed hand. Keeping the sequence to promise a top trump honor is useful on very rare occasions, but gives up an otherwise useful bid for a sequence that seems to come up only rarely — and where the distinction about the honor may not be important.

My partner and I would appreciate your thoughts on the right bidding to reach the easy slam. She opened one heart and I held a 3-3-5-2 pattern with the heart K-J, both top diamonds and the doubleton club K-Q. I responded two diamonds, bid three hearts over three clubs, and heard my partner re-raise to four hearts to suggest a minimum. What now? Should I gamble on Blackwood?

Nancy Drew, Naples, Fla.

With no spade control, Blackwood is unjustified. I think a five-heart bid asks partner to bid on with a spade control (the only unbid suit) rather than asking about trump. A five-club cue-bid might also make sense.

Say an opponent revokes on a side-suit trick that you took on your way to making six spades. When the partner of the revoker takes the last trick with the trump ace, is there a penalty trick that is due to you? As the director, I ruled that there should not be a penalty trick taken with the trump ace after a revoke, since no harm was done. Was I correct?

Forgiving Director, Framingham, Mass.

Your ruling is understandable — but wrong. The revoke law is not about equity but is a fixed penalty almost totally unlinked to what would have happened without the revoke. The exception is that if the revoke ends up benefiting the offenders, the director can adjust the score. Assuming the defenders took a trick on or after the revoke, the penalty is one trick. It may even be a two-trick penalty if the revoker personally won the revoke trick, and his side took two tricks after the revoke.

I found myself unsure as to what to do in a pairs game recently. I heard one spade to my left and a pre-emptive three-club call from my partner. The next hand made a negative double, and at favorable vulnerability I held ♠ Q-3-2,  9-6-5,  A-Q-9-8- ♣ Q-4-2. Should I pass, raise, or sacrifice? For the record, my partner is a sound bidder, but on this occasion he had the doubleton diamond king and we had four tricks against four hearts — on a diamond lead.

Found Out, Newport News, Va.

Your last sentence fortuitously suggests to me what I might have recommended you do here. After a pre-empt I play that a bid of three diamonds by you would be lead-directing with a club fit. I play you can't rescue a pre-empter until a double has been passed for penalty.

I was in second seat and opened with ♠ K-10-4-3-2,  A-9-6-5,  A-9, ♣ 4-2. We reached two no-trump, which was something of a lucky make. My partner wondered if this hand was really worth an opening bid when vulnerable — so we decided to ask the experts.

Princess Pushy, Kansas City, Mo.

You should only open this hand on days finishing in a Y. With good controls in the form of aces and kings, plus an easy rebid, this one stands out as an opening bid. I'd never risk passing and being frozen out of one suit or both. Eleven-counts should not be routinely opened, but 5-4 hands with good controls and easy rebids offer much more promise than balanced aceless 12-counts.

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