Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

Dear Mr. Wolff:

The terms “support double” and “support redouble” are used actively in our club, but I don’t understand them. What are their merits?

— In Need of Support, Walnut Creek, Calif.

ANSWER: In competitive auctions the support double and redouble apply only at the two-level and are used solely by opener at his second turn to speak, in response to a one-level action by his partner. As played by most experts, a raise in competition promises four trumps; a double thus shows exactly three trumps. Doing so allows responder to judge the fit far more accurately than when the raise could be based on either three trumps or four.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

The responder to a strong two-club opener held SPADES K-9-4-2, HEARTS K-J-2, DIAMONDS 2, CLUBS Q-9-8-5-4. You suggested that this hand should respond two diamonds to show a negative (which I did not understand), and then after partner’s two-heart call should jump to four diamonds, which lost me completely! Please help.

— Lost in the Woods, Springfield, Mass.

ANSWER: The two-diamond response to two clubs is artificial. It does not deny values, but does deny a positive with a good suit. Many play that the two-diamond call is almost mandatory unless you have an important message to pass on, like a good five-card suit. (I’m not that rigid, myself.) The four-diamond call was a splinter bid. In a forcing auction almost all unnecessary jumps of this sort show support for partner’s suit and suggest shortage in the bid suit — either a singleton or void.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

One of your recent columns raised an issue about how pure do takeout doubles have to be. When your RHO opens one club and you double with king-fourth of spades, ace-third of hearts, king-third of diamonds and ace-third of clubs, isn’t this a dangerous action? I know some opening hands should be passed when you have no sensible call. Isn’t this one of them?

— Seat of Your Pants, Orlando, Fla.

ANSWER: One of my favorite adages is “passing is too dangerous.” Here, if you don’t act in a relatively risk-free spot at your first turn, it gets harder and more dangerous at your next turn. I tend to double first over the minors and think ruefully about it later.

  Dear Mr. Wolff:

What would you bid with SPADES A-K-J-9, HEARTS A-Q-7, DIAMONDS K-10-3-2, CLUBS 10-4 when your LHO opens one club and your RHO responds one spade? I know you like the call of one no-trump to be natural here, but would the absence of a club stopper worry you?

— High Stepper, Harrisburg, Pa.

ANSWER: I’d feel uncomfortable passing (we could easily miss a game), and one no-trump without a club stop seems extravagant. Maybe I’d double and hope to come out alive.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

Recently you presented a bidding problem when responder, holding a 10-count with four hearts and four clubs, heard his partner open one club, then raise the response of one heart to two. You recommended passing as the percentage call to avoid an unmakable game. How likely is opener to have a genuine club suit here? Would that make continuing to bid more attractive?

— Double Shot, Memphis, Tenn.

ANSWER: We know nothing about partner’s clubs except that with real clubs and hearts plus a few extras he might have bid three hearts not two. So if partner has real clubs and extra shape, he rates to be 12-13, not 14-15. This is not guaranteed, of course!


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