Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Dear Mr Wolff:

My partner opened one diamond, and over my RHO’s bid of one spade, I bid two clubs, holding SPADES J-9-4, HEARTS A-3, DIAMONDS Q-4, CLUBS A-J-9-5-3-2. The next player overcalled two hearts, and my partner bid three hearts. What sort of hand would that show and what would you do now?

— Richie Rich, Dodge City, Kan.

ANSWER: It is a good idea to play that when your side opens and the opponents show a two-suiter, you bid the suit you have stopped. So you may be missing a spade stopper for no-trump. You can show half a spade stopper here by bidding three spades, relying on partner to bid three no-trump now with any top spade.

Dear Mr Wolff:

With neither side vulnerable, I dealt and opened one diamond with SPADES A-10, HEARTS J-10-2, DIAMONDS K-J-6-5-2, CLUBS K-4-3. My LHO overcalled one spade, and my partner made a negative double. What would you bid now? I chose to respond two hearts and my partner jumped to four hearts with her four hearts and 15 HCP. This went down, with the no-trump game a far better contract. Do you have any comments?

— My Heart’s in the Highlands, Pottsville, Pa.

ANSWER: Responding in a three-card major to a negative double is generally limited to auctions where you don’t raise the level (one spade over a double of one heart, and occasionally two hearts when you have opened one spade, after a double of an overcall of two of a minor suit). With your hand your response was ill-advised. A call of one no-trump looks to be more accurate.

Dear Mr Wolff:

Playing two-over-one, partner opens one heart in first seat. You hold SPADES K-J-9-8-3-2, HEARTS A, DIAMONDS A-Q-9, CLUBS Q-10-7 and respond one spade. Your partner now bids two hearts. What next?

— No Fit Yet, San Antonio, Texas

ANSWER: Before I answer, can you guess which game should be best? I cannot; it might be spades, hearts or no-trump. Committing your side to any of these might be fatal. So don’t do that. Explore with three diamonds, suggesting values in that suit, planning to raise spades or hearts and pass three no-trump.

  Dear Mr Wolff:

If Right Hand Opponent opens with a weak or kamikaze (10-12) no-trump and you have two little spades, four cards to the ace-king in both red suits, and king-third of clubs, I assume you would double. But what should your continuations be? What if you play that your partner’s bids are as if you had responded to one no-trump and your partner transfers to spades?

— In the Mix, Augusta, Ga.

ANSWER: By agreement (it is not entirely standard) I DO play transfer responses after penalty doubles of the opponents’ weak no-trump. Equally, if the opponents run, I play the same methods as if I had opened one no-trump and the next hand had bid. If you play your partner’s two-heart call as a transfer, I’d obediently bid two spades now. Bidding two no-trump here would show 18-21 or so.

Dear Mr Wolff:

Recently I’ve been arguing about whether it is correct to respond to a possibly short minor bid with one of a suit if you have six points. I had been taught that the response should be one no-trump with any minimum hand and that you can only bid a new suit with a decent hand. Have the rules changed and I’m behind the times?

— Left in the Lurch, Columbia, S.C.

ANSWER: The standard approach is to make the response to either minor in your longer major suit, which shows six or more points, rather than 10. A response of one no-trump shows 6-10, without a four-card major. Culbertson agreed with you — but times have changed!


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