Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Dear Mr. Wolff:

How should we play if my partner makes a Jacoby two-no-trump response to show a raise in my major and the next hand intervenes?

—  Staying Cool, Lakeland Fla.

ANSWER: Use three no-trump to show a singleton in their suit, a cue-bid as a void. Bids are natural and show length (thus not denying a side-suit singleton), double shows three-plus cards in their suit with no ace or king. Rebidding your suit suggests extra trump length and a nonminimum; a jump to game is extra trump length and a minimum. Passing says you want to defend, or you plan to bid on with slam interest and some control in their suit. It asks responder to double unless he has a skewed hand.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Playing a team game with both sides vulnerable, my partner made a two-heart overcall (weak) over one club. The next hand made a negative double, and I held SPADES Q-9, HEARTS J-3-2, DIAMONDS K-Q-7-4-3, CLUBS K-9-4. Should I raise to three hearts, or pass?

—  On the Razor’s Edge, Twin Falls, Idaho

ANSWER: If you play pre-emptive jumps even when vulnerable (there is surely a case for playing intermediate jumps, but let it pass), then in this auction you should bid on. However, did you consider bidding three diamonds to show a fit for hearts and to direct the lead? I’d argue that you should never need to rescue your side to diamonds here, and it is even clearer if you are a passed hand. Of course, this treatment requires some general partnership agreements.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Do you prefer to lead against no-trump from four-card majors as opposed to four- or five-card minors? I’m considering auctions such as one no-trump passed out, or one no-trump raised to game.

—  Firing Mechanism, Pleasanton, Calif.

ANSWER: I’m much more concerned about the quality of the suit I lead from than whether it is a major or a minor. I would not like to lead from ace-fourth, am much happier to lead from honor-fourth, and would certainly prefer to lead from any four-card suit headed by an honor sequence, or any five-card suit, regardless of whether it is a major or a minor.

  Dear Mr. Wolff:

How do I set my suit as trumps and then use Blackwood after an opening bid of one or two no-trump?

—  Shooting the Moon, Bellingham, Wash.

ANSWER: The simple answer is that a Jacoby Transfer followed by four no-trump is quantitative, not Blackwood. To set your suit as trump and then use Keycard Blackwood, first make a four-level (Texas) transfer into a major, then bid four no-trump. By agreement, one can play that a transfer into a minor, then a bid of the minor at the four-level, should be Keycard Blackwood with the minor agreed.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Recently my LHO was in fourth seat with SPADES Q-9-3, HEARTS A-J-2, DIAMONDS K-J-4, CLUBS Q-8-4-2, and had a two-diamond opening passed around to him. He bid two no-trump and was raised to three, making comfortably enough when dummy had a balanced 12-count. Was this call well judged or lucky?

—  Feeling Fixed, Waterbury, Conn.

ANSWER: I’d say a bit of both. I would pass out two diamonds, expecting that game would not be all that attractive our way. The two-no-trump bid suggests 14-17 or so. There are very few hands where game will make, and partner cannot act over the pre-empt. This appears to have been one of them!


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