Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dear Mr. Wolff:

We use Jacoby transfers in response to an opening one no-trump. When responder holds five or six diamonds or clubs, with or without an honor, what should the response be?

—  Minor League, Portland, Ore.


ANSWER: Rather than worrying about transfers to a minor with a five-card suit only, play in no-trump at the appropriate level with 0-13 high-card points. With six in the minor, use two spades as a transfer to clubs, and either two no-trump or three clubs as a transfer to diamonds. Additionally, use Stayman then bid a minor at the three-level as game-forcing with five or more cards in the minor and a four-card major, interested in slam or some contract other than three no-trump.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

With A-3, A-9, Q-7-4-2, A-J-6-5-4, would you open one no-trump, despite the 5-4 pattern, or would you open one club and reverse into two diamonds over a major-suit response?

—  Fudging, Troy, N.Y.


ANSWER: This is a tough one. This is truly too good a hand to treat as a balanced minimum by opening one club and rebidding one no-trump. Equally, to open one club and reverse into two diamonds shows at least a queen more. So that leaves treating the hand as a strong no-trump, right on high cards but flawed in many other ways. Oh well — nothing is perfect.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

What is does it signify if a hand passes, then bids at the two-level in a live auction? For example, you pass over one heart, but when your LHO bids one no-trump and your RHO bids two clubs, you bid two diamonds.

—  Risky Business, Lakeland, Fla.

  ANSWER: This auction shows a good hand, unable to act because of length in RHO’s initially opened suit, probably very short in the second suit by your RHO. You might be 5-5 in hearts and diamonds here.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

Recently you featured an auction where a call of five no-trump was described as pick-a-slam. Please explain how that interacts with the use of the call as the grand slam force.

—  Double Meaning, Mason City, Iowa


ANSWER: Until the advent of the more sophisticated versions of Blackwood, there was always a problem in finding the trump honors other than the ace. That was why the grand slam force became popular. These days, unless you have a void to complicate matters, the grand slam force has been superseded. But using the call to offer a choice of slams is a sophisticated way of passing the blame to partner — and one can never have enough of them!


Dear Mr. Wolff:

For the first time ever in my life, when it came to the end of a deal, I had one card left and there were THREE on the board. An opponent said that there must have been a revoke, but surely there must have been a misdeal? I thought the hand should have been thrown in and redealt.

—  Judicial Review, Great Falls, Mont.


ANSWER: At rubber bridge any hand where the cards are misdealt at the start should be thrown in. Any hand where you started out with 13 and played two at once must continue while you remain one card short. It seems more likely that the former is true, not the latter!


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