Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 26th, 2018

Holding ♠ J-4,  J-4-3,  A-Q-7-4, ♣ Q-7-6-5, I heard my partner open two hearts, and the next hand doubled. What would you advocate bidding now, and why?

How High the Moon, Kansas City, Mo.

Since you expect your partner to be on lead to a spade game or part-score, you’d like him to lead diamonds, wouldn’t you? Rather than raising to three hearts, use a convention called McCabe, where a bid of three diamonds is lead-directing with heart tolerance. In the unlikely case that you want to bail out in three of a minor, you can use two no-trump as a puppet to three clubs. Redouble with a strong hand.

On the first deal of a Chicago rubber, I dealt myself ♠ A-J-4,  9-7-5-4,  K-8-3, ♣ Q-10-8, and heard my partner open one heart in third chair. When the next hand overcalled two diamonds, what would you say was the value bid with my hand?

Taking Care of Business, Levittown, Pa.

You have a 10-count, but a very balanced one, with the diamond king in your RHO’s suit apparently working well. Conversely, your trumps are weak, facing a third-in-hand opening. So I’d settle for a raise to two hearts and apologize later if we missed a game. My second choice would be a cue-bid of three diamonds to show my limit raise. (A jump to three hearts would be weak and distributional.)

Holding ♠ J-7-6-5-4-2,  4,  A-K-5, ♣ Q-7-6, how should you bid when you hear partner open one heart, and then over your one-spade response, he bids two clubs?

Torn Up, Boston, Mass.

This hand is almost worth a call of two no-trump in high-card terms. Your spades argue against jumping or rebidding that suit, and your clubs aren’t strong enough to raise, but you might make a lot of trick in clubs, spades or no-trump, so passing feels wrong. A call of two spades is acceptable; I might stretch to rebid two no-trump, to let partner bid game with extras, and otherwise hope to settle for a playable part-score.

Do you have any advice for inexperienced players like me who tend to get discouraged when things start to go wrong? Or for my partners, who occasionally replay their failures in their head, to their detriment on the following deal?

High Kicker, Greenville, S.C.

The best advice I can give you is that it is next to impossible to pick up a big swing on one deal to recover from a disaster on the last: The situation will likely get worse if you try. As an aside, many players tend to lose concentration on the first and last deals of a session — the first because they are not settled in, and the last because they want to get out and score up. So one should try harder to concentrate on those deals.

When my right-hand opponent opened the bidding with four diamonds, I had a 4=4=1=4 12-count, so I doubled for take-out. My partner thought this was too aggressive, so I’d welcome your thoughts. The next hand redoubled, and when it came back to me, I ran to four hearts. We ended in five clubs, down 800, but was I wrong to run, or should I have passed with four diamonds hinging on a finesse?

Sad Sack, Mitchell, S.D.

There is no question that your double of four diamonds is geared for takeout: Your call may be aggressive, but it sounds reasonable to me. My partnership plays that all passes of redoubles except at the one-level (and not all of them) are to play, so I would have passed here, like it or not.

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1 Comment 13th, 2018 at 10:02 am

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