Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, July 8th, 2012

What is the right way to signal on declarer's lead? I assume attitude is rarely relevant, but when should one signal at all?

Signal Corps, Wichita Falls, Texas

Never signal attitude on declarer's lead. Partner never needs to be told declarer is playing a suit he should not have tackled. Only give count if you think partner needs to know (because his subsequent play may depend on how many cards you or declarer have in that suit). Conversely, when following from a selection of equivalent cards, where your play in the suit cannot affect the number of tricks your side takes, consider showing suit preference.

My wife did not like my action yesterday, when I held ♠ K-J-4,  K-10,  A-K-Q-7-2, ♣ 9-4-2. My RHO opened one heart. I overcalled one no-trump and sat it out after being doubled. My LHO had six club winners and I also lost the two major-suit aces for a disastrous result. She claimed I should have overcalled two diamonds or run to two diamonds.

Shoulda-Woulda, Corpus Christi, Texas

Oh dear. Much as I hate to spread dissension between spouses, I strongly agree with your one-no-trump bid and suspect that I too would have sat out the double and duplicated your result. Maybe it's just a guy thing.

I understand the next world championships are going to be in Cardiff, Wales. Will you be going?

Anchors Away, Charleston, S.C.

Actually, the event has been moved at short notice to take place next month in Lille, France. The playing venues were not suitable for all the Mind Sports Games, but Lille housed the 1998 World Championships and has a large Palace which will be ideal. I just hope the weather is better than it was 14 years ago. As of now, I do not expect to be there.

What should I open in first seat with this hand: ♠ 10-9,  A-K-9-8-2,  —, ♣ K-Q-9-8-7-2? What about other 5-6 patterns where you have length in the minor and a five-card major?

5-6, Pick Up Sticks, Portland, Ore.

I would open one club, planning to reverse to two hearts over a one-spade response. My experience with concentrated 5-6 hands is that finding the right trump suit by bidding the suits in the correct order is the best way to win out in competitive auctions. Give me five hearts and six diamonds and I might go the other way – but that's because with touching suits I KNOW I'll have a rebid problem if I open one diamond.

If a pair plays transfers and a partner refuses the transfer and rebids no-trump instead, does he/she still have to announce "transfer"? My partner was told that she should not accept a transfer with less than three-card support. I didn't think there was any option other than super support with support of four or more cards. Do you agree?

Special Ed, Bella Vista, Ariz.

Transfers are not optional, since you, as the no-trump opener, can't know whether partner has five or six in the major, but you have passed captaincy by your opening. Yes, the bid must be announced as transfer even if you don't intend to honor it. Whoever told this player that completing the transfer shows three cards is both wrong and apparently convincing — a dangerous combination!

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