Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, March 11th, 2012

What is the correct procedure to follow when calling the Tournament Director? I often feel my honesty or competence is being impugned when my opponents do it, and sometimes in calling for the director I fear I may have offended my opponents without meaning to.

Tactful, Kansas City, Mo.

The procedure you should follow when you need a director is to say, "I think we should call the director" and then attract his attention efficiently and discreetly. The act of calling the Director should not cause offense.

My partner held ♠ —,  A-2,  A-7-6-5-3, ♣ A-Q-10-4-3-2. There were two passes to his RHO, who opened two spades. He overcalled three clubs, and when his LHO bid three spades, he passed it out. Obviously this was not a success, but what should he have bid?

Sold Out, Arlington, Texas

I think your partner underbid his hand dramatically. Overcalling three clubs, then bidding again is reasonable (a call of four diamonds is about right), but a direct call of four no-trump for the minors over two spades would also be quite sensible.

Could you suggest an online computer site for bridge? I am interested in finding a place to play and to practice. And I'd be interested in asking questions where I can find sensible responses.

Training-Camp Enlistee, Albany Ga.

Best is You can play, watch top-level matches, or practice using their partnership room. And it is free! Two recently opened news sites are and, both of which have many expert contributors and news-gatherers.

My RHO bid one club, I overcalled one spade, and my LHO doubled. My partner passed, holding ♠ 7-3,  A-Q-9-4-2,  K-10-5-3, ♣ Q-4. Do you agree with his decision to pass? If not, what should he have done?

Silent Partner, Naples, Fla.

He should not bid two hearts, so the choice seems to be pass, redouble (if that simply shows a good hand) or pass and plan to balance with a double of two clubs. The delayed action would suggest a weaker suit and allow partner to correct, if necessary.

We are planning to enter a Swiss Team event for the first time, but I am not sure how the format works. Please explain it to me.

Heidi, Pueblo, Colo.

In each Swiss Team match, scoring is by Victory Points, meaning that you convert your team's win or loss on each deal into a narrower scale than total points. Instead of playing every other team in the event, you have a random draw for the first match, and from then on you play a team that has achieved close to the same cumulative results as you. A day will consist of seven or eight matches of approximately eight boards each.

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Jeff HMarch 26th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

A small additional point on your response to Heidi concerning the format for Swiss Teams.

When I was a non-Life Master I encountered single session “Swiss teams” events in which only 4 matches were played. On occasion there were only 5 teams entered, so it effectively became a round-robin.

At the sectionals that my local unit holds, they often have bracketed Swiss Teams. It is not unusual for one of more of the brackets to have only 8 teams, turning those brackets into round robins. (On one recent occassion, there were a total of 33 entries, so we had 3 brackets of 8 and one of 9. In the 9 team bracket, everyone played at least 7 of the other teams, and 3 of the teams ended the event in a mini 3-way against the two teams they had not played in the first 6 matches.)

So, sometimes an event may be billed as a Swiss team event but end up as a round robin or somethiing very close.

Judy Kay-WolffMarch 26th, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Hi Jeff H,

Your answer is enlightening and much more complete than any we would offer.

However, it serves a worthwhile purpose for other bridge players to begin to understand the possible complications which face the organizers which occur from time to time. I hope our TD’s are as well versed as you in determining the options.

Thanks for writing.