Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Dear Mr Wolff:

I noticed that the Americans dominated the recent world championships. Was this just because they were on home soil or is there more to it than that?

— Chauvinist, Fayetteville, N.C.

ANSWER: Although the Chinese women won the women’s world title, beating the Dutch in the final, most of the other major awards went to U.S. players, so it was indeed a successful event from the home country’s perspective. I’m not sure it was more than a quirk of the location of the event though. We’ll get a better perspective when the event is held in Europe in four years.

Dear Mr Wolff:

What would you bid with SPADES 7-6, HEARTS A-K-9-4-3, DIAMONDS Q-7, CLUBS A-9-4-2 after opening one heart and hearing a weak two-spade call on your left, passed back to you? What are the ethical implications if you divined a slight break in tempo from your partner after the skip-bid?

— Johnny on the Spot, Saint John, New Brunswick

ANSWER: This is a real teaser. Neither acting nor passing is “safe” — each could work out disastrously. I’m sure the expert community would balance with a double here, but switch the spades and diamonds and passing might well be the favored action — it’s that close. As an ethical player, if you think partner broke tempo, you should pass so that you can sleep at night.

Dear Mr Wolff:

You recently mentioned that a hand was played as a “dummy reversal,” and I did not understand the term. Please clarify.

— Lifting Fog, Pueblo, Colo.

ANSWER: In a trump contract the hand with the long trumps normally takes care of drawing the opponents’ trumps. In rare cases the long trumps are used immediately for ruffing, and subsequently the short hand draws trump. This is most typical in a 5-3 fit where you take three ruffs with the five-card suit, then draw trump with the three-card holding.

  Dear Mr Wolff:

In a recent deal you were in fourth chair and heard one spade on your left and two spades on your right, which was passed back to your partner, who doubled for takeout. You held SPADES 7-6, HEARTS 9-4-3, DIAMONDS Q-10-8-4, CLUBS A-10-9-2 and recommended a response of two no-trump, takeout for the minors. Suppose you held the same pattern but with four hearts and a minor. Would you have to bid three hearts now and hope for the best?

— Unsettled, Phoenix, Ariz.

ANSWER: Emphatically no. The two-no-trump call shows a two-suiter, not the minors. Partner will assume minors and bid appropriately. If he bids the suit you don’t have, you correct to the next suit up. This way you are almost sure to locate a playable fit if there is one.

Dear Mr Wolff:

My club’s cards are getting sticky. Recently, twice, I or my opponents have lost a card when one of us unwittingly played two at once. What are the implications of this faux pas?

— One Too Many, Rockford, Ill.

ANSWER: When made aware of the error, you should retrieve the card unwittingly played and add it back to your hand. The bad news is that any revoke committed will be enforced, according to the usual laws.


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