Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I heard that there is a Hall of Fame for bridge. Where is it, and who is included?

—  Star-Struck, Albany, Ga.

ANSWER: The ACBL has an American Hall of Fame. In its newly constructed headquarters you can find out all about the giants of the game. See for more details.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I was playing Chicago rubber bridge, and on the fourth deal, when we had a partscore of 40 points, I picked up SPADES Q-J-9-3, HEARTS A-Q-7-3, DIAMONDS K-10-3-2, CLUBS A. I opened one diamond and my partner responded one heart. I bid two hearts and he bid two spades. What would you suggest doing now?

—  Up the Line, San Antonio, Texas

ANSWER: I’m a simple soul. If my partner moves over two hearts when that would have given us game, he must have some slam interest. I have an ace more than I’ve shown, so I’ll bid six hearts and be confident he will have play for the slam. In fact, I might be missing a grand slam, but at rubber bridge I’ll settle for simplicity.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Last week I doubled a weak-two in hearts on my right, and when this was raised to three hearts, my partner doubled. I assumed my partner would bid a spade suit if he had one, so this double should be either optional or penalties, and since I had a completely balanced hand with the trump ace, I passed. We did set the contract by a trick, but my partner said his double was for takeout. Was he right?

—  Double Your Fun, Sacramento, Calif.


ANSWER: Most people agree that whenever the opponents bid and raise a suit around a double, then a second double (from either side) is indeed takeout. In the sequence you had, the double is often referred to as a responsive double, but it would tend to be oriented toward the minors, because — as you inferred — your partner would have bid a spade suit if he had one.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

My LHO opened four hearts, and I passed, holding SPADES Q-9-4, HEARTS 2, DIAMONDS K-10-8-6, CLUBS K-Q-7-4-3. My partner reopened with a double, which we play as essentially for takeout, though you are allowed to pass with a balanced hand. Here it seemed clear to me to bid, but would you think I was worth more than a simple bid of five clubs?

—  How High Is Up? Harrisburg, Pa.

ANSWER: I would surely bid here, but my choice would be to bid four no-trump to suggest both minors. This does not guarantee values, but it might get my partner to bid strongly if he can envisage a slam facing some extra shape.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Could you summarize how responder develops his hand after transferring into a major over his partner’s one-no-trump opening bid?

—  Major Developer, Trenton, N.J.

ANSWER: Responder passes the transfer with a weak hand. He invites game by reraising the suit, or he shows a balanced hand with a two-no-trump bid. A new suit is natural and game-forcing; a jump in a new suit is a slam-try, self-agreeing the transfer suit, showing shortage. A jump to three no-trump offers a choice of games, and a jump to four of the agreed major is either natural and to play (or if a Texas transfer was available, it is a mild slam-try with a six-card major).


If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, e-mail him at Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2011.