Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I can’t find an answer in any of my books to the following scoring problem. Say you play in two spades doubled and make it. Do you get the 300 bonus for making game or just the 50 for the insult? My reputation rests upon your answer!

—  Stumped, Walnut Creek, Calif.

ANSWER: The simple answer is yes, you do get the bonus. To clarify the source: Law 77 refers to the score for all possible contracts (bid and made), undoubled, doubled and redoubled, and says that a trick score of 100 or more constitutes game. Overtricks are dealt with separately. So in two spades doubled the trick score of 60 per trick times two is 120. That constitutes game, since it exceeds 100.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Recently you discussed how to bid this hand: SPADES 10-6, HEARTS K-J-9-4, DIAMONDS 7-4-2, CLUBS 10-9-4-3. Your partner opened an artificial two clubs and rebid three clubs over your response of two diamonds. You recommended a club raise — a decision you marginally preferred to showing the heart values. Two questions: Does three clubs guarantee an unbalanced hand, and would three hearts from you promise a five-carder?

—  Power Point, Sioux Falls, S.D.

ANSWER: The three-club bid shows an unbalanced hand; it might be only five, but would then be in an unbalanced hand with a four-card major. Even a 2-4-2-5 hand might elect to rebid two no-trump, for example. Your three-heart bid might be a good four-card suit, but partner tends to expect five and might even raise with just three trumps.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Your articles occasionally refer to an endplay. In simple terms, what constitutes an endplay?

—  Stuck on Lead, New York, N.Y.


ANSWER: The short and sweet answer to this is that you put an opponent on lead to force him to open up a suit to your advantage or do something equally unpalatable such as give you a ruff-sluff. Generally, he has to lead away from an honor, or locate a card for you that you would otherwise have to find for yourself.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

In a pairs game at unfavorable vulnerability, my partner held SPADES Q-9-3, HEARTS A-Q-2, DIAMONDS K-9-4, CLUBS K-J-4-2. My RHO bid three diamonds and I doubled. Partner bid three no-trump now on the grounds that one has to try to ensure the plus score when possible. But what would should I have done when the next hand bid four diamonds, which was passed back to me?

—  Middle Ground, Bristol, Va.

ANSWER: It seems clear to bid four no-trump now. Declarer rates to have an eight-carder and thus seven tricks in diamonds, so doubling four diamonds won’t score enough for our side. Even if my RHO gets the lead early on, I might still survive if my partner has a singleton diamond, or if the diamond spot-cards work out to my advantage.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

When the opponents double my partner’s opening bid, do you play a redouble as the only bid to show hands of 10-plus HCP or are there exceptions? And how strong is a response of one no-trump?

—  High Heels, Saint John, New Brunswick

ANSWER: Redouble only if you can cope with the opponents intervening at the two-level. With a one-suiter you can bid at the one-level, so do so at once no matter how strong it is. The range for one no-trump is approximately 7-10 HCP.


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