Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I held J-2, K-7-4-2, Q-9-7, A-10-9-4. I assumed that when partner opened one heart and the next hand doubled, my jump to two no-trump suggested a limit raise or better in hearts. What would a jump to four clubs by partner mean now — and what should I do next?

—  Tony the Tortoise, Pittsburgh, Pa.

ANSWER: When a new suit would be forcing, a jump shows shortage and implies a slam-try. Here, with third-round control of both side-suits and a working club, you have just enough for a bid of five clubs to show your ace. From here on, you should apply the brakes. Let partner bid on past five hearts if he wants to.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Is there a defined rule about late-plays in your club? What is the fair way to handle such deals, if only one side wants to play a board at the end of the game?

—  Speedy Gonzalez, Akron, Ohio

ANSWER: Though I’m not a procedural expert, I would expect most clubs to award an average to both sides for an unplayed deal, unless one side was blameless for the delay and is willing to play the deal, while the other side is unable or unwilling to play. In that case the nonoffenders might get average-plus. It would be rare but not impossible for continued slow play to be punished by an average-minus on an unplayed deal.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Holding A-J-7-3-2, A-9, Q-J-7-4, Q-10, would you overcall two spades over one no-trump in either balancing or direct seat? Would the vulnerability matter?

—  Captain Courageous, Fayetteville, N.C.

  ANSWER: If you are not playing a method that will let you show a two-suited hand (and I urge you to play such a method if you can), then you must come in to show spades here. It might work disastrously, but that should not stop you from competing over one no-trump at the slightest opportunity.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

Who is the fastest accurate player you have ever witnessed? Did any of the top players possess photographic memories?

—  Instamatic, Augusta, Ga.


ANSWER: Oswald Jacoby was in a class by himself. He had an eidetic memory, so that he recalled everything he saw, and that included bridge hands. Ozzie was in the top 10 at many games, but alas, he really only enjoyed competing against the people above him. Were it not for that, he would have died a much richer man!


Dear Mr. Wolff:

Say you pick up Q-9-4-2, K-7-6, 9-7, A-10-6-4. After a weak two-spade bid on your left and a double from partner, would you bid two no-trump, three clubs, or pass? Would you consider bidding three no-trump?

—  Multiple Choice, Kingston, Ontario


ANSWER: Pass is too big a swing action for me. Some like to use two no-trump here as artificial and weak, so three clubs would show values. But if you’re happy enough to play two no-trump as natural here, that gets your hand across just fine. You need another queen to bid three no-trump.


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