Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Must utilization of Jacoby transfers be announced at the start of the game, or can it be announced at the moment this convention is being used? It seems to me this second procedure would be equivalent to talking across the board.

—  TMI, Saint John, Newfoundland

ANSWER: No pre-alert is required for these bids. But the ACBL regulations do require announcements for two conventions — forcing no-trump and transfers — where the partner of the bidder actually SAYS “transfer” or “forcing.” All other artificial bids require the partner to say “Alert,” then the other side can ask if interested.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I held 9-3-2, A-Q-7-4, K-J-2, J-10-7 and in third seat opened one heart to keep the opponents out and to direct the lead. My LHO overcalled one no-trump, and my partner doubled. As a passed hand, can this really be for penalties, or is it negative?

—  Shadow of a Doubt, Woodland Hills, Calif.

ANSWER: Just because your partner is a passed hand does not mean he cannot have a better hand than you. (This would not be hard here!). He has shown 9-11 points, and either a decent suit of his own to lead or some heart fit. You may not feel like passing, but anything else would be worse.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

North opened two no-trump, East passed, South responded two hearts (a transfer), and West called the director and refused to accept the insufficient two-heart bid. The director permitted South to correct to three hearts and the auction continued. Was that correct? I thought that after an insufficient conventional call, the opener should have been barred from the auction. Has there been a change to the Laws?

—  Enforcer, White Plains, N.Y.

  ANSWER: Law 27 has been recently changed. (See The director may permit an insufficient bid to be corrected without penalty (i.e., bidding restriction) by another call that has, in the director’s opinion, the same meaning or a more precise meaning. Here the three-heart bid can replace the two-heart bid since both are transfers. So your director was right.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

My hand was A-J-4-3-2, K-Q-7-4, 9, A-Q-9. I opened one spade and rebid two hearts over my partner’s two-diamond call. Now my partner jumped to three no-trump. In our system, two no-trump would have shown a better hand, so am I justified in bidding on? And if so, with what call?

—  Upwardly Mobile, Elkhart, Ind.


ANSWER: You have extras (about a king better than a minimum), but have no fit. Your lack of intermediates in both of your long suits suggests slam would be an uphill struggle, so pass. If you had both the spade and heart 10s, you could consider bidding four no-trump because now both major suits would be easier to develop.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

Over the opponents’ strong no-trump we play a defense called DONT, which allows us to come in with two-suiters quite freely. I know I need nine points or so to act, but should I count only high-card points, or can I also count short-suit values? And do I have to be in direct seat over the no-trump, or does it also apply in balancing seat?

—  Points Shmoints, Twin Falls, Idaho


ANSWER: Points are irrelevant; shape is all that matters. To bid with 5-4, you need a moderate hand, but almost any 5-5 will suffice at suitable vulnerability, whatever the points. And yes, it applies in both direct and balancing seats. I do not think it essential for all the points to be in the long suits — within reason.


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