Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dear Mr. Wolff:

What do I need to know about percentages to improve my game?

—  Innumerate, Seattle, Wash.

ANSWER: There are simple books on the subject (Kelsey and Glauert wrote one) and complex ones by Borel and Roudinesco. Ignore them! If you remember a few basic numbers, you will be fine. Learn the probability of normal splits missing three, four, five or six cards, and you really don’t need much else.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

My partner recently recommended a bid to me called BROMAD. Is this a patent medicine, a piece of soothing advice, or a convention I need to know?

—  Pharmacist, Durham, N.C.

ANSWER: BROMAD (Bergen Raise Of Major After Double) suggests that when partner opens a major and the next hand doubles, then a simple raise to two will never be stronger than 7 HCP. A jump raise is weaker still, but with 8-10 and three trumps you begin by bidding two clubs — a purely artificial call to show these values with trump support. More and more people play this style — or something similar.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

In a duplicate pairs game I was second to speak with Q-10-2, J, K-10-5-3, A-Q-8-3-2 and passed when I heard one spade on my right. This was raised to two spades, and now I balanced with two no-trump. My partner explained this as hearts and a minor! What should I do when he bids three hearts, and this gets doubled?

—  Sinking Ship, Portland, Ore.

  ANSWER: The ethical player asks himself what he would have done if his partner had explained the bid as clubs and diamonds — may have no hearts. I think you will see there is no option but to pass, expecting to find partner with seven hearts or so. That being the case, ignore the unauthorized information partner has given you, pass, accept your bottom, and move on to the next deal with head held high.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

When a deal is passed out on the first round of a duplicate tournament, my club allows the hand to be redealt. Is this legal?

—  Mulligan, Atlantic City, N.J.

ANSWER: No, it is not legal. I can see the argument that implies the customer will have one less deal to play, but that is not the point. Say I had mistakenly passed a 13-count; should I not suffer for my incompetence or benefit from my opponent’s lapse? And since a few people open third in hand whatever they have, rest assured the deal will not always be passed out.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I picked up Q-2, K-J-7-6, Q-8-3, A-Q-4-2. I opened one club, and over my LHO’s overcall of one diamond, my partner doubled to show both majors. I bid one heart and eventually played in two hearts. My partner had 10 points, so game our way was nothing special, but it made when a finesse succeeded. My partner said I had enough to bid two hearts at my second turn. Is that right?

—  Monday Morning QB, Huntington, W.Va.

ANSWER: If the worst thing you do all day is miss a game on a finesse, you will never lose again! That said, this is a thorny area of the game. A jump to two hearts suggests extras in high cards or shape, so I too would bid just one heart with this hand, but it IS close. Give me a fifth club or make the shape 1-4-4-4 and you’d tip me toward the aggressive action.


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