Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Dear Mr. Wolff:

My partner was holding SPADES K-J-7-4, HEARTS 8-6, DIAMONDS A-9-3, CLUBS Q-10-5-4 when I opened one no-trump. He used Stayman, the next hand doubled, and I passed this around to him. What should he have done next?

—  Short-Changed, Duluth, Minn.

ANSWER: Much depends on how you play your pass of the double. I play it as denying a club stop, and now redouble is more Stayman. I would follow that route, planning to rebid three no-trump at my next turn. I see no reason not to play a 4-4 spade fit if we have one, since even facing a high-club honor in your hand, the spade game may benefit from taking ruffs in the strong hand after drawing trump.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

According to the bridge books, after a strong two-bid, one is obligated to reach a game contract. Recently a player in our friendly game said that no one can make a player bid anything. We don’t carry guns to our bridge parties, so I guess she is right, but all I could quote was tradition. Can you help me for next time? (We don’t bid weak-two openers, but with her thinking, we could if we wanted to.)

—  Pistol-Packing Mama, Durango, Colo.

ANSWER: Demand twos force a response, but after a negative response (a bid of two no-trump to a two-bid in diamonds, hearts or spades), a repeat of the opener’s suit is traditionally not forcing though highly encouraging. After a strong and artificial two-club opening, a rebid of two no-trump by opener over a negative two-diamond call can also be passed, since the bid shows 23-24 or so, balanced.

  Dear Mr. Wolff:

What is the name of this “famous” bridge hand: SPADES A-K-Q, HEARTS A-K-Q-J, DIAMONDS A-K, CLUBS K-J-9-7

—  Name That Monster, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

ANSWER: This is the Duke of Cumberland’s hand from a famously rigged deal. With small variations you can find details on the internet under that name. When the deal came up at whist with clubs as trump, the player led a trump and did not take a trick!

Dear Mr. Wolff:

I’ve sometimes seen obscure references in bridge columns to ace-asking bids other than Blackwood and Gerber. Do you play any such gadgets?

—  Aces and Spaces, Richmond, Va.

ANSWER: As a matter of fact after our side pre-empts at the two- or three-level, I DO play a bid of four clubs (or four diamonds over three clubs) as a key-card ask. The trump king counts as the fifth ace; responses are zero, one, one plus the trump queen, two, two plus the trump queen.

Dear Mr. Wolff:

In a recent bidding feature, you proffered the following hand: SPADES K-7-6, HEARTS K-9-7-6, DIAMONDS A-Q, CLUBS 10-9-6-3. You asked what you would rebid after opening one club and getting a response of one spade. I myself would bid one no-trump rather than raise to two spades.

—  Christmas Carol, Jackson, Miss.

ANSWER: I feel torn between the two actions. I can say I would definitely bid two spades if the diamond queen were the spade queen, or if I had ace-queen-fourth in one red suit and a doubleton in the other. On the actual hand it might depend on whether partner plays better than I do!


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