Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Is there a source for clear definitions of such terms as negative double, balancing seat, protective seat, etc.?

—  Glossary Gus, Albuquerque, N.M.


ANSWER: The best is “The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge.” For definitions of bridge terms online, go to Wikipedia, or The Bridge World’s Bridge Glossary.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

I was in second seat, holding Q, 10-3-2, A-J-8-7-2, K-Q-7-4. My RHO opened a weak two hearts. I passed, my LHO bid four hearts, and my partner doubled for takeout. Would you bid or pass? If you did act, what call would you make?

—  In the Hot Seat, Dayton, Ohio


ANSWER: It seems clear to bid since there is a decent chance your side can make slam, and there may be big double-fits for both sides. Your best call is four no-trump. This suggests a two-suiter with the minors, since you would bid spades if you had them.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

What does “cooperative double” mean? I saw the term in print, but I’m not sure if it is the same as “optional double.”

—  Double Play, Spartanburg, S.C.


ANSWER: In simple terms a cooperative double tends to be made under the opponents’ trumps. It is oriented toward takeout, but lets partner pass with trump tricks. The typical sequence sees responder to an opening bid hearing a subsequent overcall on his left, passed back to him. Doubles by responder at his second turn were for penalties in the old days, but currently would be aimed more toward takeout, suggesting ownership of the hand and asking partner to do something intelligent.

  Dear Mr. Wolff:

In fourth chair I held Q-9-7-3-2, K-Q-3-2, 4, K-6-4, and my partner overcalled one spade over one heart. There was a negative double to my right, so I jumped to four spades and heard five clubs on my left, passed back to me. Am I supposed to bid again? If so, what call should I make?

—  Nowhere Man, Doylestown, Pa.


ANSWER: Without any sure tricks you do not have any reason to bid again. If partner had real extras, he might have found another call, but as it is, your side might not be able to defeat a slam, so pass.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

What is my best opening bid with —, A-Q-9-7-3-2, Q-10-7-4-3-2, CLUBS 4? Would the vulnerability matter?

—  Seeing Red, Bristol, Va.


ANSWER: I’d be inclined to open it with a weak two hearts vulnerable, planning to jump to four diamonds at my next turn facing an inquiry of two no-trump, or to compete to three diamonds if the opponents let me. Nonvulnerable, I might try four hearts (but I’m not sure I would recommend this to others!). Incidentally, with the red-suits switched, I would probably pass and hope to get my hand across later.


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