Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

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

Dear Mr Wolff:

When the opponents make a one-heart overcall, can I use a double to show four spades?

— Boss Suit, Peoria, Ill.

ANSWER: If you play Standard American, the double shows four spades. Bidding one spade shows five or more. If you play a loose club, which could show two or even fewer clubs, you may not be able to raise clubs in competition, even with four. Then it makes sense for a one-spade bid to show four or more; a double of one heart shows the minors.

Dear Mr Wolff:

Why are most of the national tournments held on the East Coast or in the Midwest or in California? Why not the Northwest?

— Forgotten Corner, Seattle, Wash.

ANSWER: With a major, the fact that you have two ways to get to four no-trump (via the Jacoby transfer and Texas) means that the first sequence can be quantitative; the second, ace-asking. With a minor you can do the same if you are prepared for just a touch of complexity: transferring to a minor and then bidding four no-trump remains quantitative, while reraising your own minor is not invitational, but Key-card.

Dear Mr Wolff:

Over a strong no-trump, I’m trying to improve my slam bidding and I want to confirm how to use Key-card Blackwood after showing my own suit. We play four-suit transfers, so we use two spades for clubs, two no-trump for diamonds, and Texas transfers to the majors at the four-level.

— Transferred Out, Doylestown, Pa.

ANSWER: National events tend to be organized wherever decent attendance can be expected and a local organizing committee will put on a good show for the attendees. The problem with the Northwest is that there are very few venues that meet those criteria. However, this fall Seattle will host a national championship, and maybe one of these days we will get back to Oregon. Portland has hosted very successful events in the past.

  Dear Mr Wolff:

In first position, my partner opened four spades with SPADES A-J-10-8-5-3-2, HEARTS 9-4, DIAMONDS K-Q-3, CLUBS 6 and ran into a penalty double, down 500. Perhaps it was my fault for putting down a hand with no spades, but would you open four spades here?

— Over the Top, Midland, Mich.

ANSWER: Opening four spades (as opposed to other four-level pre-empts) often acts as a transfer to double, so one wants to be careful with that call. I admit I’d be tempted with slightly better spades or a four-card minor. As it is, an opening bid of one spade seems just fine to me.

Dear Mr Wolff:

I assume you would open one no-trump in second seat with SPADES A-J-3-2, HEARTS K-J, DIAMONDS Q-5-4, CLUBS A-10-7-6. I did, and my partner bid Stayman, then over my two-spade response bid three clubs, natural and forcing. Because I had a minimum hand, I bid three no-trump. Although we made 10 tricks, we missed a decent club slam. Did I do the wrong thing?

— Mystic Pizza, Galveston, Texas

ANSWER: Your partner’s three-club call showed game-forcing values with clubs, and in this case four hearts, with a doubt about strain or level. Whenever, as here, you hold good clubs, heart-ruffing values, and a reasonable number of controls, you do not have a minimum! Raise to four clubs to see where your partner wants to head next.


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