Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, March 4th, 2012

A few weeks ago my bridge foursome drew for partners and each of us drew an ace. Have you ever heard of that happening before? What are the chances of that ever happening again?

Long Shot, San Francisco, Calif.

The chance is approximately one in 250,000. To calculate it precisely, multiply four by three by two and divide that by 52 times 51 times 50 times 49.

I’ve never heard of it happening, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened — or won’t happen tomorrow!

I held ♠ J,  A-J-10-9-4,  K-Q-8-5-4, ♣ Q-4. I overcalled one heart over one diamond, and heard two clubs on my left and two no-trump on my right to end the auction. I don't like to lead singletons against no-trump, but I felt leading a heart was likely to cost a trick, since declarer surely had a good heart stopper. Leading a club seemed likely to help set up dummy's suit, while the auction suggested strongly that partner had five or six spades. What do you think?

Double Bogey, Bellingham, Wash.

Your lead was a little fanciful, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't work, Personally, I would have led from my own long suit, expecting that even if a spade was passive, this deal would not boil down to setting up an eighth winner for declarer.

When your partner opens the bidding and the next hand overcalls one no-trump, how much do you need to double for penalties? And what does the bid of a new suit suggest?

Mythbuster, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Double could be made on a balanced hand with as little as the right eight-count, if you have a decent holding in partner's suit. Since you tend to double with all good hands, a new suit by you is nonforcing. So the typical range is 6-10 high-cards — one of the very few sequences where a new suit in response to an opener is not forcing.

My partner, who held ♠ A-K-7-3,  A-9-4-2,  Q-10-5-3, ♣ 4, opened one diamond and heard me respond one heart. He raised to two hearts — which seems reasonable to me, although might one jump to three hearts with that hand? If you do make the simple raise, would you consider bidding on when your partner jumps to game?

Second Movement, Dayton, Ohio

You are right, the hand is close to a jump raise, but a 4-4-4-1 pattern never plays quite as well as you'd expect. Having limited your hand with the simple raise, you transfer captaincy to your partner. Once that happens, you must not override your partner by bidding on over a sign-off.

At what point in the play can a player no longer legally request a review of the bidding"?

Forgetful, Grenada, Miss.

You can always ask for a review during the auction or at trick one. Normally, at trick one the review is fine, but once the lead is made, I believe that is the last moment for reviewing the bidding. However, please note that you can always ask for an explanation of the bidding at your turn to play.

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