Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Do you like the Sandwich No-Trump as a way to show the unbid suits?

—  Hold the Mayo, White Plains, N.Y.

ANSWER: The Sandwich No-Trump refers to a one-no-trump overcall in fourth seat after both opponents have bid, to show 5-5 or more in the unbid suits. No, I do not like the idea. I want to keep the call to show a good strong no-trump, and since I have double and two no-trump for the unbid suits, I do not need a third call.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I held 3, A-5, A-Q-8-6-5-3, K-10-4 2. When my RHO opened one spade, I bid two diamonds. My partner told me I should have doubled, but I disagree. This was passed back to my RHO, who bid two hearts. What is the right way forward?

—  Marching Orders, Richmond, Va.

ANSWER: First things first: Two diamonds is the mandatory action here; you would need at least another ace to consider doubling first. When you hear two hearts on your right, the choices are to double for takeout or to bid two no-trump, suggesting diamonds and secondary clubs. A direct call of three clubs would suggest five of them. All three calls are better than passing, by the way!

Dear Mr. Wolff:

In rubber bridge, what is the protocol for who deals next after four initial passes? Is the next dealer the original one for that thrown-in hand, or does the next dealer simply follow in normal sequence?

—  Taking Turns, Newark, N.J.

  ANSWER: When a deal is thrown in, you should redeal, and the dealer remains the same. Incidentally, my record is three deals passed out in four hands.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

Suppose you pick up K-Q-9-7-6-3, 2, A-10-5-3, K-4, and your partner opens one no-trump. Are you good enough to drive to slam, to invite slam, or just to settle for game?

—  Level-Headed, Levittown, Pa.


ANSWER: Settling for game would be to count points while ignoring your excellent shape. However, driving to slam could get you to a hopeless spot. Your choices are to transfer to spades, bid diamonds next, then move on if you find a fit. Or, my preference, transfer to spades, then jump to four hearts to show a singleton heart and a one-suited spade hand. This sequence is only a try for slam, but gets partner focused on what matters.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

How do you recommend playing direct jump-responses to one no-trump?

—  On the Spot, Bellevue, Wash.


ANSWER: Simplest (not necessarily best) is to use jump-bids in the minors to show a 5-5 pattern with both minors, invitational and forcing, and jumps in the majors for the same values but both majors. Somewhat better is to keep the minor-suit jumps with those meanings, but use the major-suit jumps to be game-forcing with 5-4 in the minors and a singleton in the bid major.


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