Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I have just taken up the Michaels Cue-Bid, whereby a cue-bid of a minor opening shows 5-5 in the majors, and a cue-bid of a major promises the other major and a minor, again at least 5-5 pattern. How should one respond to the cue-bid in the latter sequence?

—  On Hold, Chicago, Ill.

ANSWER: There are two styles, the simpler of which is to bid two no-trump to ask for the minor, with bids of either minor showing that suit with a desire to play there. Better, if slightly more complex, is to use two no-trump as guaranteeing invitational values. Now a response of three clubs asks the two-suited hand to pass or correct to three diamonds. That frees up a three-diamond bid to show an invitational hand in partner’s major.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I was fourth to speak with K-J-7-4-3, J-4-3-2, 9-5-3, 8 and responded one spade to my partner’s double of one diamond. The next hand bid two diamonds, and my partner doubled again. What does that show and what should I do next?

—  Double Trouble, San Francisco, Calif.

ANSWER: Your partner’s double shows real extras and is for takeout. (You cannot convert a takeout double to penalties the next time he doubles.) Since you have a good hand in context and a second suit, jump to three hearts. After all, you would bid two hearts if the spade king were the two.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

In an unopposed sequence, I opened one diamond and rebid two diamonds over my partner’s one-no-trump response. I had six diamonds and 13 points. My partner now rebid two no-trump. What was he showing?

—  Terra Incognita, Boise, Idaho

ANSWER: Your partner knows you have six diamonds and nothing to spare in values. This sequence suggests about a 10-count with a stop in each side suit and fitting diamond cards, making it a try for game. Imagine a hand with an ace or king in each major, four clubs to the J-10, and perhaps queen-third of diamonds. If your diamonds are semisolid, you may have enough for three no-trump now; otherwise, retreat to three diamonds or pass.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

I opened one heart with K, A-Q-J-3-2, Q-9, A-Q-10-4-2. When my partner responded one no-trump, I guessed to bid three clubs — maybe a slight push. What is right over partner’s three-heart preference? I assume the sequence is forcing, but must I cue-bid now?

—  Lento, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

ANSWER: Three clubs was not unreasonable, but it set up a game force, so three hearts is forcing. That said, with so many values in your short suits, offer partner a choice of games by bidding three no-trump. If he passes, you will surely be happy you were not playing in hearts.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I know from your earlier comments that you are generally not a fan of weak jump responses. In which sequences do weak jump shifts make the most sense and in which do they make least sense?

—  Jumping for Joy, Pittsburgh, Pa.

ANSWER: Clearly a jump response by a passed hand will very rarely make sense as a weak single-suiter. If you had that hand, you would have bid already. Equally, facing an overcall, whether you are a passed hand or not, you will rarely want to pre-empt. You can hardly persuade the opponents they do not hold the suits or values they have already shown. Weak jump raises are entirely sound, and jumps in new suits by an unpassed hand facing an opening bid — in competition — make sense.


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