Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dear Mr. Wolff:

If one player describes his partner’s bid and it turns out that the player has something else, is there automatically a penalty, or an adjusted score?

—  Out for Blood, Wilmington, N.C.

ANSWER: Imagine you jump to three clubs over one no-trump, explained as both majors. Let’s say you forgot, and just have clubs. If the call was properly explained, then you just got lucky — not yet a crime! — and it is unlikely the opponents will have their score adjusted. (I agree, equity may not be achieved this way.) But if your partner wrongly explained your bid and the opponents were damaged by that, it is likely an adjustment would be appropriate. In summary: You can psyche or forget your bid from time to time and you get to keep your result. But a wrong explanation will put you in jeopardy of a score adjustment.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I was in fourth chair, holding 10 6-3, J-2, K-Q-7-5-3, Q-9-4. When my partner overcalled one spade over one heart, I raised to two spades. Now my partner bid two no-trump. What should I have done next?

—  Stumped, Twin Falls, Idaho

ANSWER: Your hand is closer to a maximum than a minimum, so do not pass. With all your points outside spades, simply raise to three no-trump, though if feeling intellectual, bid three hearts to let partner choose which game he wants to play.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

When is it right to overcall with 5-4 or 4-5 in the majors, and when is it right to do something else?

—  Major Nuisance, Corpus Christi, Texas

  ANSWER: After the opponents open a minor at the one-level, you would normally bid a five-card spade suit with 5-4 in the majors, unless the spades looked like a four-card suit and the hearts were good. By contrast, you might elect to double with five hearts and four spades, unless you were strong enough to bid twice or the hearts were very good. And you might double a two-level minor-suit opening.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

My hand was Q-3, J-9-4-3-2, K-7-3, A-10-4 and I elected (rightly or wrongly) to overcall one heart over one club. My LHO raised to two clubs, my partner bid two diamonds, and the next hand bid three clubs. Should I pass, or should I raise to three diamonds despite my minimum?

—  Poised for Action, Staten Island, N.Y.

ANSWER: Although you have a minimum, you have your honors in the right places. (Partner’s failure to raise hearts suggests he may be short there.) So raising to three diamonds looks like the right action — support with support.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I dealt myself K-9, A-4-2, 10, A-K-J-10-8-7-4 and opened one club, jumping to three clubs over my partner’s one-spade response. My partner now bid three hearts. What are my options?

—  New Directions, Casper, Wyo.

ANSWER: Three hearts is forcing to game, so your options are to bid three spades (for which you would like three trumps though it would be my choice), to raise hearts (which might show four), or to repeat your clubs. If you do bid clubs, then a jump to five should show a solid suit, so you would have to bid four clubs.


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