Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dear Mr. Wolff:

When a hand in a duplicate board is boxed so that everyone at the table sees an honor card in that hand, what is the appropriate remedy?

—  Flasher, Saint John, New Brunswick


ANSWER: The first thing a director should try to do is get the board played. If the information passed to the other three players at the table is such that they cannot play it fairly, then an adjusted score may be appropriate — but play it first, ask questions later. And the director should try to warn the guilty party at the previous table about being careless.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

I held A-Q-9-4-3, Q-3, A-J-8-7, A-Q, and my RHO bid two spades. If I doubled, my partner would assume this was for takeout. How do I show a penalty double?

—  Punitive Measures, Sacramento, Calif.


ANSWER: For the reasons you state, you can’t double for penalties here. I suggest you choose between a slightly cautious natural two-no-trump bid and an optimistic jump to three no-trump, hoping not to buy a bust from your partner. One has to give up something to be able to make the calls with the highest frequency. Here, when they have six spades, you want your double to describe a hand with short spades because such hands come up so much more often … right?


Dear Mr. Wolff:

At a club duplicate, with nobody vulnerable, you hold 9, J-10-3, A-Q-3-2, A-J-10-8-4 and open one club. What do you plan to rebid after your partner responds in a major?

—  Dream Spinner, Pueblo, Colo.

  ANSWER: I always try to avoid rebidding two clubs with only five and would not do so with any suit much weaker than this. With your hand you can raise one heart to two, and with a singleton spade, a one-no-trump rebid over a one-spade response will always be acceptable. Your failure to raise with three trumps means partner won’t insist on playing a five-carder willy-nilly.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

My rubber bridge friends and I have a difference of opinion regarding scoring of unfinished rubbers or games. I claim that points are awarded when only one pair has a partial rubber or game. They claim if both have a game or partscore, they both receive the bonus points. Please settle this controversy.

—  Nick and Nora, Lakeland, Fla.


ANSWER: On the last deal of a Chicago, for example, the bonus goes to the pair who made the partscore on the last deal. No bonus goes to the pair with the earlier partscore. In an unfinished rubber I believe the same treatment should apply.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

In third chair I held Q-9, Q-3, K-J-8-7-2, K-Q-7-4. When my partner opened three hearts at favorable vulnerability, I could not decide whether to bid four hearts to make, or to keep the opponents out. What do you say?

—  Rip Cord, Tucson, Ariz.


ANSWER: With no aces, you can be fairly sure your side won’t make game, but can the opponents make four spades? Let’s say partner has seven hearts to the ace-jack and two cards in each suit. Do you like your chances of beating four spades? I do not! Accordingly, raise to four hearts to try to keep the opponents out. It will make it harder for your LHO to work out what is going on.


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