Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

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

Where do you stand on opening tactically at favorable vulnerability (or both nonvulnerable) with a good suit in a shapely hand lacking the firepower for a regular opening? For example would you ever open ♠ 3-2,  A-J-10-7-4,  K-Q-9-4, ♣ 10-8 in first or second seat?

Foot in Mouth, Riverside, Calif.

This does not look like an opening bid to me, but I admit that if there were a stray jack in a black suit, that might illogically tip me to bidding. The concentrated honors and ease of rebid might allow me to open in first seat nonvulnerable. With spades I'd be less inclined to bid. I normally get a second chance later.

What are the penalties for passing out of turn?

Out of Order, Spartanburg, S.C.

Assuming the pass is not condoned, then if no one has yet bid, or it is the turn of the offender's RHO to speak, the offender must pass at his next turn to speak. If it is the partner of the offender to speak, the partner can bid what he likes — but may not double. And the offender is barred throughout, with possible lead penalties later.

My RHO opens one diamond and I pass with ♠ Q-9-3-2,  J-9-7-4,  K-Q-9, ♣ 9 -2. Now my LHO responds one heart and my partner doubles. RHO bids two clubs next. Should I join in now, or wait for later?

Waiting to Spring, Duluth, Minn.

Whenever you hold four-card support for a suit you know partner has shown, you should consider competing at least once. Here, if you do not bid two spades right now, there may be no more bidding! And acting at once makes your LHO's task of showing some support for diamonds more expensive. By getting your oar in first, you prevent the opponents from conveying information efficiently.

I understand that Monaco will compete in next year's Bermuda Bowl with a team of hired guns. Have you any comments?

The Shootist, Richmond, Va.

Professionalism has taken over bridge. If a team has met a tournament's residence requirements, it should be allowed to play. Whether those residence requirements are strict enough, I do not know. I'm guessing that owning a house but spending less than half the year in it might entitle you to change residence and play for that country. Should it? You be the judge.

What constitutes a pre-emptive raise of your partner's opening and his overcall? What distinguishes a pre-emptive raise from a mixed raise — a term that is bandied about with increasing frequency, it appears? Into which range does a hand like ♠ K-4,  J-10-7-4,  Q-9-3, ♣ J-7-4-2 fall in support of hearts?

Hopper, Wausau, Wis.

The hand you present is a perfect example of a mixed raise of hearts. It has the shape for a pre-emptive raise but the values for a simple raise. With fewer high-cards, one makes a pre-emptive raise. With more, one makes a Jordan bid of two no-trump after a double, or a cuebid after an overcall.

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