Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I hear the ACBL is planning to move. Are there any details available?

—  GPS Owner, Phoenix, Ariz.

ANSWER: Yes, the ACBL will be moving fairly soon from Memphis to a location about 20 miles south, into Mississippi, where they will have a far larger area with some leasing and tax breaks. The extra space will let them expand their library and Hall of Fame display.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

As dealer I picked up Q-J-9-7-5-2, A-K-7, 3, Q-8-3 and naturally opened one spade. My partner jumped to four clubs, showing a singleton club, game values and spade support. Do I have enough to cue-bid, and if so, should I cue-bid diamonds or hearts?

—  Fractured Logic, Milwaukee, Wis.

ANSWER: Both cue-bids have their problems, since you would normally cue-bid four diamonds (but then you know partner will sign off without a heart control). If you bid four hearts, you are almost denying a diamond control unless you plan to bid again. I’d go for a less subtle approach. Keycard Blackwood asks about the missing aces and trump king. If I find three of those cards opposite, I’ll worry about my slow heart loser when I see the dummy, and meanwhile just bid the slam.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

If I make a natural bid and my partner mistakenly alerts it and explains it as conventional, what should I do, and when?

—  Human Error, Bristol, Va.

ANSWER: As a defender you should say or do nothing until the hand is over and then explain the position to declarer. As declarer or dummy, explain before the opening lead what the position is. You should always correct a mistaken explanation by your partner in this way. Incidentally, if you have forgotten your agreements and have misbid, you will sometimes, though rarely, get a good result from doing so — that’s the rub of the green.

  Dear Mr. Wolff:

We play penalty doubles if our opponents open a weak no-trump. Up to what high-card maximum should we play this way, and what ranges should we treat as a strong no-trump? And how should we play if either we or the opponents remove the double?

—  Ad Infinitum, Casper, Wyo.

ANSWER: A simple and efficient way to play is to treat all no-trumps that go up to 13 points as weak. If you remove your partner’s double of a weak no-trump, it is as if HE had opened one no-trump. Two clubs is Stayman; other calls are transfers. If the opponents remove your partner’s double, again treat it as if they had made that call over his no-trump. So your full methods (perhaps Lebensohl and takeout doubles?) remain in place.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

You hold Q-2, A-Q-7-3, K-J, A-Q-8-3-2. After a four-spade bid on your right, you double to show a good hand, and partner bids four no-trump. Please explain that call, and tell me what to do next.

—  Moving Experience, Corpus Christi, Texas

ANSWER: Partner’s call suggests a two-suiter, and you respond to this by bidding your better minor. Incidentally, it is possible to bid higher if you want to play slam facing a quite limited hand with shape. (Change the spade two into the ace and you might bid six clubs.) Be aware, though, that your partner might have the red suits, planning to correct five clubs to five diamonds to offer you a choice. You would bid five hearts of course, if that happened.


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