Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dear Mr. Wolff:

My partner and I play support doubles, so that in competition a raise promises four trumps, while a double shows three-card support. In auctions where you raise partner, should you alert the call?

—  Fair Warning, Durango, Colo.

ANSWER: The technical answer is no. At the end of any auction involving such calls, I always tell my opponents whether we play support doubles. I consider that a courtesy, but not technically required by the laws. However, I think one ought to clarify the auction for the opponents if there is a chance they might not know their way around.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I assume you would open one spade with A-Q-8-4-3, A-9, 3, Q-10-7-5-4. If so, when the next hand overcalls two diamonds and partner makes a negative double, you would probably bid three clubs, but what would you do when partner now rebids three spades?

—  Late-Breaking News, Rockford, Ill.

ANSWER: Your partner’s bidding suggests a little less than a limit raise in spades, probably with three spades and four or five hearts. You have a minimum in high cards, but your extra shape should probably persuade you to raise to game.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

What should I do if my LHO, while arranging his cards, drops them in my lap, showing me the club queen and heart jack? Can I play the hand out, using that information? Should we call the director and ask him to adjust the score?

—  Double Exposure, Dover, Del.

  ANSWER: It is one thing if a player shows you his hand and another thing if you try to look at it. Here, you have done nothing wrong. Unless you feel you cannot sensibly play the hand anymore, just go ahead and complete the deal as best you can. By the way, if you see cards in your partner’s hand, things get much messier.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

With A-J-6-3-2, K-10-3, Q-7, 10-3-2, I responded one spade to one diamond. When partner rebids two diamonds, should I pass or bid two no-trump?

—  Wild Thing, Cartersville, Ga.


ANSWER: I don’t like either option: I would raise to three diamonds, expecting, if partner is minimum, that this may prove an easier part-score. Although partner might conceivably have only five diamonds (with four hearts and a minimum, unsuitable for a one-no-trump rebid), it is still possible even then that diamonds might be best.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

Partner deals and opens one diamond. RHO passes and I respond one heart. LHO overcalls two clubs, and partner bids two spades. What kind of hand should I expect from partner?

—  Painting by Numbers, Selma, Ala.


ANSWER: Let’s contrast what a one-spade call — if available — would show (4-4 in the suits, any range hand) with what this auction shows. Opener would always pass with any minimum hand without support, unless he had real extra shape. He would wait for partner to double or make a suitable call with extras. So here, his decision to bid a suit higher than partner’s suit shows a real reverse. Both extra shape and high cards would be expected.


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