Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Calvin: I’m a misunderstood genius.
Hobbes: What’s misunderstood?
Calvin: Nobody thinks I’m a genius.

Bill Watterson


South North
East-West ♠ —
 K Q 9 8 6 3
 9 5
♣ A 10 8 7 3
West East
♠ 7
 A 5
 A K 8 7 6 4 3 2
♣ Q 5
♠ 8 6 3 2
 J 10 7
 Q J
♣ K J 4 2
South
♠ A K Q J 10 9 5 4
 4 2
 10
♣ 9 6
South West North East
4♠ 5 Pass Pass
5♠ Pass Pass Dbl.
All pass      

K

The line between looking foolish and being a genius is a fine one. Today’s deal comes from the Spring Foursomes, where South decided to take what she knew would be a relatively cheap sacrifice. Fortunately for her, North’s values turned out to be extremely useful. West led a top diamond, on which East played the queen. Now what should West do? switch to a club? or try to cash a second top diamond?

Influenced no doubt by East’s double, West decided his partner had a singleton and played a second top diamond. Declarer ruffed, drew trump, then played a heart to dummy’s king, followed by a second heart. When West’s ace came tumbling down, she had a parking place for her club loser. Yes, maybe it would have been right for West to shift to the club queen at trick two — since unless declarer had both the king and jack of clubs, this would probably not let the contract through.

In the other room North did double five diamonds, and led a top heart. Now, although five diamonds by West appears to have three losers, the fact that North was void in spades meant there was plenty of time for declarer to establish a club or heart trick for a spade discard. Even if South had gone down in five spades doubled, she would still have gained a bushel of IMPs. As it was, our featured North-South pair had a double game-swing.


You may not agree with the opening call of two hearts; but as long as the heart suit is good and you have a side-suit, you won't be at a disadvantage. The question is how to show the hand now. The answer is to jump to four clubs, which suggests this pattern and lets your partner go wherever he wants.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ —
 K Q 9 8 6 3
 9 5
♣ A 10 8 7 3
South West North East
2 Pass 2 NT Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, October 6th, 2014

We should look long and carefully at ourselves before we pass judgment on others.

Moliere


West North
North-South ♠ A K
 A J 6 4
 K 10 2
♣ J 8 3 2
West East
♠ J 2
 K Q 9
 Q J 8 7 4
♣ A Q 10
♠ 10 9 8 7 3
 7 3 2
 5 3
♣ 9 7 4
South
♠ Q 6 5 4
 10 8 5
 A 9 6
♣ K 6 5
South West North East
1 NT Dbl. 2♠
3 NT All pass    

Q

On the lead of the diamond queen against three no-trump, South correctly assumed this would assure his side of three tricks in the suit. A moment's less euphoria and a little more thought would have brought his contact home.

But without giving the matter enough thought, South made the play that most of us would have made when he won West’s lead of the diamond queen with the ace, removing his only sure entry to his hand.

He continued with a low heart from hand, West playing the queen, and dummy’s ace winning. Next, declarer unblocked the spade ace and king and followed with the heart jack from dummy, hoping to create an entry to his hand with the 10 — but West thoughtfully held off. Declarer played another heart, and West won and exited with a diamond. South duly made three diamond tricks, but now there was no way to reach the spade queen, and the defense ended with two clubs, two diamonds and a heart trick.

As West was known to hold all the high cards, South should have won the opening lead with dummy’s diamond king, cashed the two top spades, then led a low heart to the 10. If West ducks this, declarer can now cash the spade queen, then continue playing on hearts. Should West take the heart, he can do no better than exit with one. Now declarer takes the heart winners, pitching a spade from hand, and runs the club jack, forcing West to give declarer a trick and an entry.


While a case could be made for a club lead, in a sense the only person who has bid clubs is East. North's one club didn't really show clubs here, so I would be tempted to lead the spade nine, on the grounds that this is the suit least likely to cost a trick.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 8 6 4
 Q 10 2
 J 3 2
♣ Q 7 3
South West North East
Pass Pass 1♣ 1 NT
Pass 2 Pass 2
All pass      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, October 5th, 2014

What sort of values would you associate with the advance to one no-trump facing an overcall? Specifically, with: ♠ A-5-3-2,  A-Q-9-8-5,  K-2, ♣ J-4, would you overcall one heart over one club or would you double? And if you overcall and your partner responds one no-trump, what should you do next?

Entry-Level, Pueblo, Colo.

I don't hate doubling one club, but I would overcall and hope to find a way back into spades if appropriate. Your partner's one-no-trump call could be anywhere in the 7-11 range. I would guess to pass now, but if I could bid a second suit economically, I would do that.

Say you hold decent values and three-card support for your partner, the opening bidder, after a double to your right. Should I redouble, or to make some other call? With: ♠ 7-6-2,  A-6,  A-9-8-4-2, ♣ K-9-3, what is your best call after your partner opens one spade, and your RHO doubles? Do you raise partner, bid your suit, or redouble to show strength?

Call Waiting, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Without the double I'd go through the forcing no-trump (if I had it available) to show a limit raise, rather than force to game. My bad trumps mean I should pull in a notch here. Over a double, redouble shows 10 or more, tending to deny spade support. So I would redouble, then raise spades — indirectly suggesting good values but bad trumps.

What is the difference between an Eastern and a Western Cue-bid? Are both methods still in common usage — and are these still the common names for these calls?

Bicoastal, Worcester, Mass.

Before I answer, I remember the days when cue-bids below three no-trump showed a control in the opponent's suit and a slam-going hand! These days, most cheap cue-bids are attempts to reach three no-trump. Western Cue-bids are attempts to get to no-trump by asking partner for a stopper or half-stopper in the opponent's suit. Eastern Cue-bids are less popular in that they actually suggest a stopper.

My partner and I play weak-twos and are wondering whether we should play a convention recommended to us called McCabe, after the opponents double or overcall our bid?

Gas Fitter, Saint John's, Newfoundland

After a double of a weak-two, but not after an overcall — since you now rate to be on lead — one can play a redouble as strong, with raises natural and pre-emptive. New suits are natural and to play at the two-level, but lead-directing at the three-level, guaranteeing at least a partial fit, while jumps show decent suits together with a real fit for partner. To bail out into your own suit, bid two no-trump to puppet three clubs from your partner. Then you can name the final contract or show a high-card raise in your partner's suit.

I would like our partnership to have a simple rule to the effect that all doubles of our opponents' artificial trump raises (such as Drury or Bergen) request the lead of that suit. But is it ever better to play such doubles as takeout of the opponent's known suit?

Whacked Out, Charleston, S.C.

You should double an artificial no-trump response for takeout of the bid suit, but the blanket rule for all other sequences might well be to use value-showing doubles as lead-directing. The only exception might be to use the double of an artificial call that shows a raise with less than limit values as takeout of the agreed suit.


For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Fortune is like the market, where many times, if you can stay a little, the price will fall.

Francis Bacon


North North
East-West ♠ K J
 K J 6 4
 10 9 8 6
♣ K Q J
West East
♠ 8 6 5 3 2
 10 9 8 2
 Q 3
♣ A 7
♠ —
 A Q 7 5 3
 K J 7 4
♣ 8 6 4 2
South
♠ A Q 10 9 7 4
 —
 A 5 2
♣ 10 9 5 3
South West North East
1 1
1♠ 2 Pass Pass
4♠ Dbl. All pass  

10

At the table South would doubtless have taken the simple but unsuccessful line in four hearts of covering the heart 10 with the jack, then playing on trumps, but West's double alerted him to the danger of bad breaks. He played low from dummy at the first trick and ruffed the lead in hand with the spade four.

When he played the spade seven to the king, he received the bad if not entirely unexpected news. He shifted his attention to clubs now, and had West ducked, declarer would have reverted to drawing all the trumps, (unblocking dummy’s clubs if East lets a club go) and would then have gone back to clubs.

West actually won the club ace and played the heart eight through dummy. Thanks to South’s play to the first trick, he was still in control. He put up the jack from dummy, and when East played the queen, declarer discarded a diamond loser.

He could win the diamond return with the ace, cash a club (preserving the club 10-9 in hand), then run the trumps, discarding dummy’s remaining club honor on one of the trump winners, and conceding trick 13 to the opponents.

It looks like the natural play, but if declarer puts up the heart jack at trick one, then the defense can succeed — since whatever declarer does, West can play hearts through him sufficiently often to force him twice in hearts.


Please do not double one club here. With only two spades, your hand is totally unsuitable for that action. Since an overcall of one no-trump would be a wild overbid, pass and hope to find a way to come back into the auction. Just remember that you are never obligated to overcall just because you have opening values – and that overcalling with a weak four-card suit may lead to tears before bedtime.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K J
 K J 6 4
 10 9 8 6
♣ K Q J
South West North East
1♣
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, October 3rd, 2014

The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.

Alfred Adler


East North
Neither ♠ A 8 3 2
 A K Q 4 2
 K 2
♣ 4 3
West East
♠ J 10 7 4
 10 7 6
 J 9 6 3
♣ J 10
♠ 9
 5
 Q 7 5 4
♣ K Q 9 8 7 5 2
South
♠ K Q 6 5
 J 9 8 3
 A 10 8
♣ A 6
South West North East
3♣
Dbl. Pass 4♣ Pass
4 Pass 5 Pass
6 All pass    

♣J

In today's deal what precisely does the raise to five of a major ask for? Most commonly, as here, it asks for the control in a specific suit — one either bid by the opponents or not cue-bid by either player, while all other suits have been cue-bid.

The second meaning is for it to raise a red flag about trump quality, a less common but parallel variation being that you have good trump but nothing to cue-bid. And least common of all, typically in a contested auction, is to use the call to show otherwise unbiddable extras.

In today’s sequence North cannot have a club control (he would have cue-bid five clubs or used Blackwood) so he is demanding that his partner bid slam with a first-round club control. With the same hand and an extra king, South would try six clubs or cue-bid in another suit.

When West leads a club against six hearts, South can see that the matching distributions leave him in danger of losing one trick in each black suit if spades do not break, but he can protect himself against anything but a small singleton in East.

Declarer takes the club lead in hand and draws trumps. Then he carefully cashes just the spade king, noting the fall of the nine. He eliminates the diamonds by ruffing the third round in dummy, and exits with a club. If East wins this, he will be endplayed; if West wins, he must lead a spade and give up his potential spade winner.


When your partner produces either a forcing or nonforcing no-trump response, you aren't good enough to force to game, but equally are too good not to make a try for game. Since partner won't hold spades and already knows you have five hearts, the least misdescriptive action is to raise to two no-trump. This is an invitational call, which you are just about worth because of your good suit.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 8 3 2
 A K Q 4 2
 K 2
♣ 4 3
South West North East
1 Pass 1 NT Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

It is better to be a fool than to be dead.

Robert Louis Stevenson


South North
East-West ♠ A 6 4
 8 6 2
 Q 10 7 4 2
♣ 8 3
West East
♠ 5
 K Q J 10 4
 K 8 6 3
♣ K J 7
♠ J 10 9
 9 7 5 3
 9 5
♣ 10 9 6 5
South
♠ K Q 8 7 3 2
 A
 A J
♣ A Q 4 2
South West North East
1♠ 2 2♠ Pass
4 NT Pass 5 Pass
6♠ All pass    

K

South had to back up his exuberance in the auction with some fine play, and he proved himself equal to the task today.

Against the spade slam West had what looked like a relatively normal lead of the heart king, which went to South’s ace. South could see that both minor-suit finesses rated to be wrong, but if he could bring in the diamonds for four tricks, he would have three homes for his potential club losers.

As the cards lie, the natural line of drawing all the trumps at once clearly fails. And if declarer draws a round or two of trump with the king and queen before playing the diamond ace then jack, West wins his king and leads a third diamond to allow East to ruff, killing a critical discard. Then West sits back and waits for his club winner.

At trick two, South found a significant improvement on these lines when he played the diamond jack without releasing the ace. West gave this a good look, and eventually ducked. Declarer now combined his chances to best effect by ducking a club. When West took his jack to play a heart, South ruffed, cashed the spade king and diamond ace, then played the club ace and ruffed a club.

Had the club king not put in an appearance, South would have needed to find the diamond king falling, with trumps 2-2, but as it was, he could simply draw trumps and claim the rest.


Your partner's second double shows extras and is aimed at takeout, not penalty. You are too good simply to bid three diamonds, so I would bid two spades (natural but suggesting only three spades as you would probably have responded one spade with four) to show you are not ashamed of your hand.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ A 6 4
 8 6 2
 Q 10 7 4 2
♣ 8 3
South West North East
Pass 1 Dbl. Pass
2 2 Dbl. Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

I have never claimed to be an expert on anything except perhaps making the perfect omelet, and if you don't like spicy, you'd probably argue with me on that one, too.

Chris A. Jackson


East North
North-South ♠ K 8 6 2
 —
 A 9 7 5 2
♣ 8 7 4 3
West East
♠ J 10 7 5 4
 K 10 7 6 3
 3
♣ 10 9
♠ A Q 9
 J 9 8 2
 J 10 6 4
♣ K 2
South
♠ 3
 A Q 5 4
 K Q 8
♣ A Q J 6 5
South West North East
Pass
1♣ 1 Dbl. 3
3 NT 4 5♣ Pass
6♣ All pass    

3

It is well known that an expert will always play for a squeeze rather than a finesse. Here is Gunnar Hallberg, putting this theory into action.

After North’s negative double and five-club bid, Hallberg, took a shot at slam, which would have been easy on a heart lead. However, the defenders led a diamond to the 10 and king.

Hallberg won in hand, ruffed a heart, took a trump finesse, and ruffed another heart. Then he drew a second round of trump, cashed the diamond queen, and paused for reflection. If the spade ace was onside, simply leading up to the spade king would produce the 12th trick, and West’s decision to go to the four level might imply possession of the critical card. As against that, West appeared to be 5-5 in the majors, and there was therefore a strong argument to say that he would not have the spade ace, or he might have made a cue-bid to show both majors at his first turn. And he might not have led a singleton to trick one.

Hallberg came to the right conclusion when he took the heart ace, then ran all his trump, coming down to a three-card ending with a spade and the diamond A-9 in dummy, and a small spade, a heart and a diamond in hand.

East had been forced down to the bare spade ace to keep the diamonds guarded, and Gunnar triumphantly threw him in with a spade, to force a diamond lead into his diamond tenace, for the contract.


Despite your void in partner's suit and reasonable defense in spades, it feels right to make a negative double now. Yes, you will not be happy if your partner jumps in hearts, but the odds favor your having a decent place to play in one of the minors, and you can, you hope, rely on your partner not to go overboard just because he has six hearts.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 8 6 2
 —
 A 9 7 5 2
♣ 8 7 4 3
South West North East
1 1♠
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Forethought we may have, undoubtedly, but not foresight.

Napoleon Bonaparte


North North
Both ♠ K 6
 A 10 8 6
 Q 2
♣ A J 10 9 5
West East
♠ 10 8 5 3 2
 4
 J 10 8 5
♣ 7 3 2
♠ A Q 9
 9 5 2
 K 9 7 4 3
♣ K 6
South
♠ J 7 4
 K Q J 7 3
 A 6
♣ Q 8 4
South West North East
1♣ Pass
1 Pass 2 Pass
4 All pass    

J

What makes bridge such a challenging and enjoyable game is that it is so hard to make generalizations about how to play it. No matter what rules I give you, someone will be able to find the exception. Today's deal saw declarer playing by rote, and as a result missing his chance to turn a good contract into one that could not be defeated.

South played four hearts on the lead of the diamond jack. When this card was covered by the queen and king, declarer took his ace, drew trumps, then took a losing club finesse. East was not slow after winning his club king to shift to a low diamond for West to win and shoot a spade through dummy’s vulnerable king. With the ace-queen offside, that was one down and an unhappy declarer.

Had declarer seen the looming danger, he would no doubt have ducked East’s diamond king at the first trick. With West frozen out of the lead, the defenders can get one spade winner at most, and the contract is safe.

Just for the record, imagine that the black-suit honors were switched (so that dummy had the spade jack and club queen, while South possessed the spade king and club ace). Now, after West leads the diamond jack, South can virtually insure the contract by ducking the diamond in dummy, keeping East off lead for the duration of the deal. If he covers the first trick, East might obtain the lead in diamonds and find the spade shift.


The choice is close between rebidding one no-trump or repeating the clubs. In favor of the latter action are the good club spots and the basic hand pattern (one which tends to play better in suits than in no-trump). Against rebidding one no-trump with a five-card suit is that you do have a partial diamond stop and you get the hand range off your chest accurately at one go.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K 6
 A 10 8 6
 Q 2
♣ A J 10 9 5
South West North East
1♣ Pass 1♠ Pass
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, September 29th, 2014

The dust of exploded beliefs may make a fine sunset.

Geoffrey Madan


South North
East-West ♠ Q J 3
 J 10 8
 A Q 7 4
♣ K 5 3
West East
♠ 9 6 4
 K 9 6 4 3
 K 6
♣ A J 9
♠ A 7 5 2
 5 2
 10 9 8 5 3
♣ 4 2
South
♠ K 10 8
 A Q 7
 J 2
♣ Q 10 8 7 6
South West North East
1♣ Pass 1 Pass
1 NT Pass 3 NT All pass

4

When South rebids to show the values for a weak no-trump, he is raised to game. Your opening lead of the heart four goes to the jack, five, and queen. Now declarer plays a club to the king and a club back to his 10 and your jack. Where do you go for honey?

Declarer is playing a tricky game, but that is no reason for you to fall into his trap. Ignore that heart queen; partner’s heart five at the first trick cannot be indicating his attitude. Both defenders know that his failure to beat dummy’s card means he doesn’t like the suit. So he is giving you count, and the five is therefore clearly a singleton or the start of an echo with the doubleton 5-2. Therefore, you cannot safely continue the attack on hearts.

What you need to do is to find partner with the spade ace, so that he can play a heart through for you. To make his life easy, shift to the spade nine, just in case partner is tempted to win the spade ace and continue the attack on spades (which might be the right defense if you had four spades to an honor). So long as East takes his spade ace and reverts to hearts, declarer’s fate will be sealed.

A defender should signal attitude unless dummy wins the trick with the jack or lower. At that point, your primary signal becomes count; your secondary signal is suit preference.


A diamond lead looks less likely to cost a trick (or set up a suit for declarer) than a spade. I would be much more tempted to try to promote a trump trick for my side with a significant trump card such as jack-third or 10-third. But here, if declarer also has a doubleton club, my trumps are highly likely to be irrelevant.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ K 8 7 6
 8 7 4
 K J 9 4
♣ J 2
South West North East
2
All pass      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Occasionally I see discussions on whether there is a need for responder to find out more about opener's hand-type, when the latter opens in a minor, then raises responder's major-suit to the two-level. The objective might be both to define range and the number of trumps held in support. I imagine, as someone who advocates the liberal use of three-card raises, that you would concur.

Mister Bluesky, Union City, Tenn.

It is possible to use the first available step by responder after opener's simple raise of a major as a relay. Equally, though, simply playing new suits as forcing, promising game-invitational values or better, with two no-trump as natural and nonforcing, makes equal sense. And it is certainly easier to remember.

How valuable is a five-card suit facing a no-trump opening? When should one add on a point for it, in deciding whether to invite, pass, or drive to game?

Doubting Thomas, Midland, Mich.

You can simply add on a point for any five-card suit headed by a top honor in counting your points facing a no-trump opening. Conversely, mentally devalue honors in short suits; and if you transfer and partner simply completes the transfer, when in doubt, pass rather than inviting. Never do less than invite with nine points, but be careful of inviting with eight till you have found a fit, and maybe not even then.

How should I play the jump to three no-trump facing a major-suit opening bid? If it shows a balanced hand, should it promise or deny three trumps?

Skipped Class, Cartersville, Ga.

I'd advocate playing it as nonforcing, 14-16, with two-card support for partner. If you had three trumps, then you should have a double guard in all of the side-suits. If playing Jacoby two no-trump, then you will need to bid two of a minor with 12-13 points. A sensible alternative, however, is to play it as showing a good pre-emptive raise to four of partner's major. That lets the jump to four of the major be a weak freak with no slam interest.

I was faced with a sequence where I did not know what to do. I held ♠ Q-5,  K-Q-8-5,  9-6-4-2, ♣ J-3-2. My LHO opened one diamond, my partner overcalled one spade, and my RHO doubled, negative. My LHO rebid two clubs, passed back to me. Do I have the values or trump support to bid two spades here? It worked very badly in practice.

Unbalanced, Edmonton, Alberta

You had the right idea with your two-spade call here. This suggests scattered values but uninspiring spade support. With better spades you would have raised directly, and with more points you would have bid one no-trump at your previous turn. The problem is that sometimes one bids this way with three small trumps and less than the values for a direct raise. Partner may have to guess which you have.

When you open one spade with ♠ A-Q-9-5-2,  Q-5,  K-J-9-4, ♣ 9-6, what are you supposed to do when you hear a two-club overcall, passed back to you? The choice seems to be to bid two diamonds, double for takeout, or pass, playing partner to be weak. As a separate issue, what are the ethical implications of acting after partner has paused, or passing after your RHO has taken time over his action?

No Way Out, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

You must not take any advantage of information conveyed to you by your partner's tempo or demeanor. You may at your own risk draw inferences from your opponents' behavior. And they are not permitted to deliberately mislead you. On your actual hand all three actions make sense here, but if my RHO paused, I would definitely pass, and would surely feel ethically constrained to do so if my partner had broken tempo to suggest values.


For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2014. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.