Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, February 23rd, 2020


AviMarch 8th, 2020 at 12:29 pm

Hi Bobby

May I intruduce a bidding question from the club game?
At unfavorable vulnerability, you are dealt J975, J873, –, A9842, and begin by passing.
LHO preempts to 3D, and partner doubles, passed around to you.
What would you bid now?
Is this hand strong enough to bid 4d and ask partner to pick the major?


jim2March 8th, 2020 at 12:48 pm

I am not Our Host, but I would hesitate to bid 4D … but ONLY long enough to remain in tempo.


The situation is perfect. Having passed, pard knows I am limited. The hand in the partnership with shortness has an increased duty to act. The AC is a great card.

bobbywolffMarch 8th, 2020 at 3:27 pm

Hi AVRR & Jim2,

Am as close as possible to 100% agreement with Jim2, since my scarcity of values is easily made up with the perfect distribution of length in all three unbid suits, the ACE of clubs, and the blessing of having already passed.

Strangely, my lack of high cards will then contribute to my passing whatever partner’s response might be, obviously because partner will not (and least should not) be sorely disappointed with my lonely high cards.

If partner holds s. AKQx, h. AQx, d. xxx, c. KQx, we’ll probably score up a spade slam without having bid it, but what”s a fella to do?

Thank you AVRR for allowing me my daily rant
with your interesting and informative question.

The only minus will be with your connection to Jim2 and his answer since with the hand in question both black suits will probably break 5-0, except since you will be playing it, not him, you have, at least not of yet, caught his talked about virus. TOCM TM.
In these situations, distribution seems to be of more value than high cards, meaning if my two jacks were a king and a queen with the same void, I would have fear of missing a laydown slam when partner only takes out minimally, once he bids his choice of games.

No doubt though, if part of partner’s double includes two major diamond honors I may have bid too much, but maybe then and without a 4 card+ major partner should probably have ventured 3NT instead of opting for a TO double.

jim2March 8th, 2020 at 3:47 pm

Our Host is not kidding about moi and bad black suit breaks. I had one black trump suit break 8 – 1 against me, and the length was behind me!

Opened 1S and it was passed out. I had AJxx and my mother (LHO) had been about to call 3C or 4C and elected to Pass instead (holding KQ109 ……).

I do not think I made it.

That was about 60 years ago (and before 5-card majors), but some things are never forgotten!

bobbywolffMarch 8th, 2020 at 9:38 pm

Hi Jim2,

The good news is that spades was likely to have been the trump suit at the other table as well.

And if your LHO was a gloater type he might have later claimed that “while I was holding a two suiter, (both in spades), my brash RHO had the nerve to bid that same suit so, of course, I thought about bidding a lower ranking suit at the one level and then when told it was insufficient, changed my bid to double since partner was then barred.

So finally you have become at least slightly lucky, you were not playing against one of those card sharks.

And who can blame your mother anyway for not then bidding her clubs, being barred or not, since she only held 5 hcps?

jim2March 8th, 2020 at 10:22 pm

I mis-typed. My mother had her 8 cards in my black suit. I think it was spades (but it could have been clubs). I was around 10 at the time and can no longer remember which black suit it was.

bobbywolffMarch 8th, 2020 at 10:59 pm

Hi Jim2,


Since I’ve always loved 4 card majors, and for a couple of hundred years exclusively played them, I just discovered another advantage.

One’s partner can actually hold nine card support, instead of only eight.

jim2March 9th, 2020 at 2:13 am

So can LHO …

bobbywolffMarch 9th, 2020 at 2:53 pm

True, but in a scary session, it only seems like he does.

bobbywolffMarch 10th, 2020 at 6:45 pm

Hi Avi,

Am embarrassed I did not address my letter to you as Avi, not AVRR.

Charge it off to old age or maybe just senility, but please forgive my above.

Just caught my mistake now, days later!

Hope to hear from you again.