Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Dear Mr Wolff:

Say you open one diamond and the next hand overcalls one spade. Partner doubles, and RHO raises to two spades. What would jumps by you to four clubs or even five clubs be? What jumps are available to agree hearts?

— Frogger, Troy, N.Y.

ANSWER: In the given auction, no suit has been agreed, so both club calls are natural. Four clubs sounds natural and forcing to me. (Some might argue strong but not forcing.) A five-club bid might be 6-6 without many extras in high cards. By contrast, a jump to four spades seems clearly — to me — to be a cuebid for hearts, probably with short spades.

Dear Mr Wolff:

When your RHO intervenes with a specific two-suiter over your partner’s opening call, what respnses do you have? What if he shows a two-suiter, but only specifies the major, together with an unspecified minor?

— Returning the Favor, Bay City, Mich.

ANSWER: If only one suit is specified, co-opt the cuebid of that suit to show a high-card limit raise for partner, with simple raises being weaker than that. If both suits are specified, one cuebid should be the limit-raise, the other should show a good hand with the fourth suit. Meanwhile, bids of the fourth suit are limited to invitational values.

Dear Mr Wolff:

Are you in favor of Flannery as opposed to a weak two-diamond opening bid? I don’t see either coming up more than twice a night — even if the weak hand is slightly more common. Secondly, is Flannery always used as an opening bid, or can it be a response as well? If my partner opens one club, would a jump to two diamonds be Flannery?

— Flannery Flummery, Janesville, Wis.

ANSWER: I like Flannery. I enjoy the fact that a one-spade response to one heart shows five, and a one-no-trump response may contain four spades. But the weak two-diamond opening is much more popular, in general; it does come up more often than Flannery, I think. Incidentally, a two-diamond response to one club should not be played as both majors, but as diamonds, weak or strong — depending on taste.

  Dear Mr Wolff:

Holding SPADES K-7-4, HEARTS Q-J, DIAMONDS A-K-9-5-3, CLUBS K-3-2, my partner responded two clubs, game-forcing to my one-diamond opener. We ended up in the par spot of three no-trump, but was my partner’s bid correct? We do not play inverted minor raises (we limit the strength of the raise to two diamonds to 10-12, while three diamonds would show 6-9), so he was too strong for either action.

— Minor Fudging, Newport News, Va.

ANSWER: The French play this way (no inverted minors, so they lie in the other minor with a forcing raise). It seems to work for them, though it would not be my choice. And yes, your partner told the least lie here. Making your inverted minors forcing for one round would solve the problem, of course.

Dear Mr Wolff:

In response to an opening strong no-trump, is a bid of three clubs acceptable when you hold SPADES 9-8, HEARTS —, DIAMONDS A-K-4-2, CLUBS J-10-7-6-4-3-2? Would you consider bidding five clubs?

— Gone Clubbing, Muncie, Ind.

ANSWER: There is no easy answer here. A forcing club bid might work (or a call to show both minors short in hearts — some use jumps in the majors over the no-trump opening for those hands). That would be better with a spade honor, though, because spades could be the weak suit if your partner declares no-trump. Maybe just bidding clubs rates to work out best, after all, but I prefer three clubs instead of the jump to game.


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