Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, March 26th, 2017

What criteria should I apply after opening a strong no-trump to make a “super accept” of my partner’s transfer bid? Our current agreement is that with four trumps opener should jump to the three level, irrespective of his HCP, if not completely balanced. Is that a sound approach, particularly for Pairs? And would you recommend anything more detailed than this?

Having a Fit,
    West Palm Beach, Fla.

Maybe you can also use a two no-trump response as specifically a maximum with three good trumps, headed by two of the top three honors? Scientists will also assign meanings to new suits here, but I’m not sure that is a good investment of brain cells.

With: ♠ Q-2,  K-9-6-5-3,  A-8-5, ♣ K-10-4 I opened one heart and heard my partner respond two diamonds. Where do you rank the raise of diamonds, the rebid of hearts, or a two no-trump call?

Seconds Out, Tupelo, Miss.

The flawed options are to raise diamonds, which should deliver a fourth trump or extra high-cards, to rebid two no-trump without a proper spade stopper, or to rebid hearts. I prefer to play that as showing either a sixth trump or a respectable five-carder. Unless you can rebid your major with no guarantee as to suit quality, the least lie is surely to opt for the two no-trump rebid. This tells most of your story and may even right-side no-trump.

When the opponents overcall against our strong no-trump, what combination do you recommend of penalty doubles or take-out doubles by opener and responder?

Red-Card Robby, Milford, Pa.

After an overcall of two clubs (unless it specifically shows the majors) use double as Stayman, with transfers still in place. A double of any other artificial call —where the opponent’s bid does not show the suit bid — should be penalty oriented. The double of any natural call from either side of the table should be take-out, if it is the first action taken by the partnership after the no-trump opener. Subsequent doubles, or doubles after Stayman or a transfer, generally suggest defending.

I wonder if you could comment on the merits of the sandwich no-trump? Do you believe in fourth seat when sandwiched between bidding opponents, that you should play the call of one no-trump as natural or two-suited?

John Montague,
    Ketchikan, Alaska

By a passed hand, use the one no-trump call as 5-5 in the unbid suits, while double suggests 10-11, probably 5-4 pattern. An unpassed hand needs the call as natural and a decent strong no-trump. These days as openings and responses get lighter, your side may be able to make slam in the face of both opponents bidding — so you must be able to bid your good hands accurately. And when you can double or jump to an unusual two no-trump, you don’t need a third call for the unbid suits.

My partner and I were discussing the philosophy of competing, and this hand caused us fits. With ♠ A-Q-3-2,  Q-5-3,  K-10, ♣ J-9-4-2, in fourth chair after LHO opened one diamond and RHO bid one heart, would you double? Assuming you pass, what if LHO raises hearts, or even if he repeats diamonds, and the auction comes back to you?

Keeper of the Clink,
    Torrance, Calif.

I would not act on the first round, even though I have opening values. I need a little more shape or high cards than this. On the second round I would double whichever red suit my LHO had bid. There is no guarantee of safety, but I hate to be shut out.

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