Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dear Mr. Wolff:

To handle interference after partner’s one-no-trump opening, you recommended using “systems on” over a two-club overcall, with a double as Stayman (unless this call shows majors) and to double any natural overcall for takeout but to treat a double of any artificial call as card-showing. Does this apply if we use weak no-trumps? And how many points do you need to double?

—  Running Interference, Texarkana, Texas

ANSWER: I’d use the same methods over both weak and strong no-trumps. The weakest hand for a double of two clubs could be quite light — but one must bear in mind that partner can pass. I’d double a natural call if I was short in the opponent’s suit and thought our side had half the deck. If we have a fit, who needs HCP? Partner only passes with trumps — a four-card suit is enough, though.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

In a recent column declarer held K-Q-J-9-7-4, K-4, A-K-Q-3, 10 and opened one spade. Would you consider driving the hand to game by opening two clubs?

—  Onwards and Upwards, Harrisburg, Pa.

ANSWER: I’m strongly against shading the two-club opener if I need an ace from partner to make game. Remember, if he has a trick, he is likely to respond to you. The problem with light game-forcing actions is that partner with high cards will take you seriously and go beyond the safe level, looking for slam. There ARE hands where opening one spade will miss game, but few enough that I’ll put that down to bad luck.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Declarer and his partner each had 13 cards, but one opponent had 14 cards and the other 12. It was not noticed until 10 tricks had been played, at which point the contract had gone down two tricks. Is there any penalty, or is it just a redeal?

—  Uneven Steven, Palo Alto, Calif.

ANSWER: In rubber bridge this is just a plain old misdeal. For the record, Law 10c covers the discovery (before the end of play) that one player has too many or too few cards and mandates a misdeal.

  Dear Mr. Wolff:

Should my response of two hearts be forcing after my partner overcalls two diamonds over one spade? There was total disagreement among the five experts I consulted.

—  Five Experts, Six Opinions; Grand Forks, N.D.

ANSWER: While this is all about partnership agreement, I believe that facing an overcall at the one-level, new suits are encouraging; jumps are natural and forcing.

Facing a two-level overcall, new suits are forcing; jumps are fit-showing. Never use weak jumps in new suits facing overcalls! But raises and jump raises are weak, so you must cue-bid for all limit raises or better.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Holding 4, Q-4, A-Q-J-9-3-2, K-J-4-2, I opened one diamond and heard a response of one heart. How do you feel about rebidding two diamonds as opposed to two clubs? Whichever call you choose, partner will bid two spades, which we play as forcing on me at this and future turns. What now?

—  Minor Leaguer, Durham, N.C.

ANSWER: You ask a tough question. If my clubs were slightly better or my diamonds slightly worse, I would bid two clubs confidently. As it is, I still do so, but less confidently. Over the two-spade call, I repeat my diamonds if I had rebid two clubs, but introduce the clubs if I had rebid diamonds. I am not prepared to support hearts, but plan to do so next.


If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, e-mail him at Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2009.