Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dear Mr. Wolff:

At a recent duplicate the director asked my partner never again to open one no-trump with a singleton king. I was not aware of the reason, but was shocked to learn that bidding no-trump with a singleton king was actually against the rules of bridge. Is that really true?

—  Busy Lizzy, Jackson, Tenn.


ANSWER: Your director was wrong; you can bid what you like. What the laws frown on is significant distortions that your partner might expect and the opponents not. A singleton king with a hand in the right range would never (in my opinion) be a significant distortion. Regularly bidding one no-trump with a bare honor would probably require you to note it on your card and maybe explain it when you announce range. But as long as the rest of your bidding does not cater to such irregularities either way, your director should have a hard time finding anything to complain about.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

Recently you asked about this hand: Q-9-7, K-Q-J-3-2, Q-J-2, A-K. You suggested that older players would tend to double first and rebid hearts to show a strong hand, while many younger players would overcall, confident that the auction would allow them to make later bids that show extra values. Please discuss this in more detail. What do you think of opening the hand one no-trump?

—  Mad Max, Surrey, British Columbia


ANSWER: Either route is fine by me. If I overcall, I’d plan to double for takeout in any sequence where the opponents have limited their hands or found a fit. I thus get to show most of my extras, although if the opponents bid strongly, I may not come in again. My concern about bidding my long suit is to make sure I get it in early. I do not like bidding no-trump here — we may well regret missing an eight-card fit.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

If you open one of a suit and hear a double on your left and a redouble from partner, followed by a pass on your right, what do direct bids and jumps by you mean? Why you would rebid without waiting for the opponents to rescue themselves?

—  Quick-Draw, Duluth, Minn.

  ANSWER: All direct actions promise low defense, but the more you bid, the more shape you have. I’d expect a new suit by opener to be at least 6-4 shape, a jump rebid to be at least a seven-card suit, a jump in a new suit to be 6-5.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

Would I be allowed to participate in the upcoming World Championships in Philadelphia, either in one of the main games or a side game? I’d like to scope out the events, either as a player or spectator.

—  Unseeded, Newark, N.J.


ANSWER: Bravo! Everyone who is able to should come either to play or to watch. There will be one-session events and longer championships to play in. It will be, if not a once-in-a-lifetime event, at least an unrepeatable opportunity to meet the best in the world and measure yourself against them. See details at the USBF’s website.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

My partner opened 1 NT (15-17), and I held A-9-2, K-10-2, A-2, K-9-7-4-3. I thought I was worth a quantitative jump to four no-trump but could see no reason not to transfer to my club suit first as a help-suit and then bid four no-trump. Or was this sequence Blackwood?

—  Hyperactive, Albany, Ga.


ANSWER: The sequence you define is not a help-suit. A help-suit slam-try occurs when you have agreed a suit and then bid another suit where you have length and need help. But you are spot-on that your sequence of transfer and four no-trump was natural and quantitative — as would be the case in a major. Having agreed that, you also need to define how you would set your minor as trumps and then use Key-Card — maybe transferring to the minor, then bidding the minor at the four-level?


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