Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, March 24th, 2013

How do you proceed with the following hand: ♠ J-8,  K-9-4,  Q-7, ♣ A-J-7-6-5-2, assuming that you overcalled two clubs over one heart and heard your partner bid two diamonds? What would you do next — if anything?

Taking Steps, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

A call of two diamonds should be played as forcing; new suits by unpassed hands in response to two-level overcalls should be forcing if the auctions remain uncompetitive. I’d guess to raise to three diamonds now, but make my hand slightly better (with a better spade honor or the club king instead of the jack) and I’d bid two no-trump.

Do you have a page-a-day bridge calendar? Or do you know of one you would recommend?

Daily News, Bay City, Mich.

Bridge calendars are not so easy to find these days, though there used to be plenty… and I used to do one too! My choice would be to look at the calendar produced by Andrew Robson, who is a very thoughtful writer. You can Google his name and find a calendar on his website.

What would you open with ♠ K-J-9-2,  J-3,  K-8, ♣ A-K-J-5-4? Do you prefer one club to one no-trump?

Weighing In, Raleigh, N.C.

I know I’m out of touch with the younger generation here, but I loathe and detest opening one no-trump with a five-card minor and four spades, especially two suits as good as these. My plan is to bid each suit in order, then probably to make a try for game if partner puts on the brakes in one no-trump or two clubs. If that makes me old-fashioned, then I’ve been called worse.

My partner and I found the following hand difficult to bid. Please give us your opinion on how the bidding should have gone. I held ♠ K-9-7-3,  K-6-3-2,  Q-J-7-3-2, ♣ —. My partner opened one club and the next hand bid one heart. I doubled and heard him bid two diamonds. I jumped to four diamonds — and found him with a 3-3-3-4 pattern including three good diamonds. The operation was not a success. What did we do wrong?

Force Majeure, Wichita Falls, Texas

At his second turn opener can bid one spade with only three trumps if nothing else appeals. A call of one no-trump suggests a balanced hand, not heart stoppers. With any 2-3-4-4 pattern responder can rebid one no-trump. With four spades and slightly better than a minimum, opener can rebid two spades. Thus a call of one spade suggests three and an unbalanced hand, or four in a dead minimum hand. A two-diamond bid by opener is typically 4-5 and a minimum.

I’m interested in mastering the percentages at bridge. What do I need to know –and where can I find learn them?

Eager Beaver, Eau Claire, Wis.

Borel’s book on percentages has more than you could possibly want to know, while Kelsey and Glauert wrote an excellent book on the basics. But best is the Encyclopedia of Bridge, which has a splendid section on the percentages and suit management. I cannot recommend that book too highly, because of its wide-ranging coverage of the game.

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Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2013.
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