Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I read your “Aces on Bridge” every day in the Vancouver Sun. Please tell me when it is proper to declare honors.

—  Honor-Bound, Vancouver, British Columbia

ANSWER: Honors can be declared after dummy comes down, but it may not be in your interest to do so. So wait until you’ve played them all out, or claim them at the end of the deal. You have until the end of the rubber to claim them if you have forgotten at the proper moment.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

In fourth seat at duplicate I held the hand of a lifetime: —, A, A-K-Q-J-7-3-2, A-K-J-10-3-. Naturally the opponents got in my face, but only to the extent of a two-spade opening on my right, passed around to me. Any thoughts as to the best way forward?

—  Ripley’s Revenge, Elmira, N.Y.

ANSWER: After the two-spade call came around to me, I’d bid five no-trump (pick a minor at the six-level, partner) and raise the response to seven. With hearts and a minor I’d cue-bid five spades instead, and work it out from there. I could not stand to stay out of a grand slam with a hand that good.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

What behavior is permitted at the table in terms of mannerisms or tempo if the object is solely to confuse or deceive the opponents?

—  Truthful James, Pleasantville, N.Y.

  ANSWER: The short answer is that nothing is permitted if the sole purpose is to deceive. You can of course deceive the opponents by the card you play but not the manner in which you play it. You can try to equalize the tempo — do not rush to make your easy plays, thus giving away the show. But you may not hesitate without a reason.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

Are there any partnerships left who do not defend against pre-empts by doubling for takeout?

—  Old-Timer, Bristol, Va.


ANSWER: Again, the short answer to that question is no. Almost everyone plays takeout doubles to one-suited pre-empts. There are variations possible against two-suited pre-emptive openings, but the simplest and most effective way into most if not all auctions is to double for takeout. After all, if they are long in one suit, you will most commonly be short in that suit, not long.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

I was in second seat with A-8, K-Q-9, J-7-3-2, Q-10-3-2 and decided not to open because most of my points were in my short suits. My LHO opened one heart and we ended up defending one no-trump, conceding 120. Everyone else opened my hand and went down in one no-trump our way, sometimes one trick, sometimes more. Was it acceptable for me to pass here?

—  Slow Coach, Doylestown, Pa.


ANSWER: Your judgment was quite sound although I might not have been as discreet as you. I’d look at the guarded honors and simply open one of the minors. With 4-3-3-3 pattern or with the spade nine instead of the heart nine, I would pass, disliking the honor locations and the balanced nature of the hand. But you and I might be in a small minority here.


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