Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I thought I understood inverted minors until I bid it and later heard a variety of explanations for it. I thought it showed unlimited strength, natural support, and no four-card major. What is the most useful way to play inverted minors with Standard American?

—  Puzzled, Sequim, Wash.


ANSWER: Your explanation is basically correct. It is easier to play the inverted minors as invitational or better. (Either hand can limit the action and stop in two no-trump or three of the agreed minor if he limits his hand at his next turn.) But you can, if you want, play the inverted raise as game-forcing, in which case you need to find an artificial call to show a limit raise, perhaps a jump in the unbid minor.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

Holding K-7, Q-J-9-4 A-9-7-3, Q-7-3, you open one diamond in third seat. Your LHO bids one spade, which gets passed back to you. What action should you take?

—  Mousetrap, Pittsburgh, Pa.


ANSWER: This is a vicious problem. Partner’s hand will be good only if he has a penalty double of spades, and you are looking at enough in spades to make this unlikely — and partner is a passed hand to boot. So I’d pass. If partner does have good spades, who is to say that we also have good defense against a club contract?


Dear Mr. Wolff:

Recently you showed a deal where your partner opened one club, the next hand overcalled one spade, and you bid two diamonds. When your partner bid two spades, was he asking for a control in spades or showing one? What are your obligations?

—  Cue Tips, Miami, Fla.

  ANSWER: The cuebid here is typically forcing (when below three no-trump), asking for a stopper in the opponents’ suit. If your partner has huge diamond support and short spades, he could jump to three spades — a splinter bid — or he could bid two spades, then bid on over three no-trump.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

I’ve been reading your column for years, keeping an eye out for mistakes or for something I could comment on. (I wrote to you once about what I thought was a mistake, but it wasn’t.) At last I have found one in today’s column. There are not two diamond kings in the deck. Gotcha!!!

—  Sleuth, North Little Rock, Ark.


ANSWER: I wish I could be humble enough to say mea culpa — but I am not, I can’t and I won’t! When the column is first written, it is run through an automatic check that insures that all deals have 52 different cards, 13 per hand. Then it is edited, with corrections at every stage. Next the paper gets it, and at that point the occasional computer glitch or human error creeps in. We have no control.


Dear Mr. Wolff:

With A-3, 9-7-3, K-Q-7-3-2, 10-8-3, what is the right response to a one-diamond opening? And what would you do if you had a one-heart overcall on your right?

—  Tipping Point, Atlanta, Ga.


ANSWER: In all cases you would like to upgrade this hand to a limit raise of diamonds. The simplest way facing an opening bid is a jump raise in diamonds, or an inverted minor-suit raise if you play that method. If the opponents come in, you can cuebid in hearts to show a limit raise, assuming that a jump raise would be more shape and fewer high cards.


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