Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 4th, 2013

After an opening suit bid is doubled and redoubled, does that set up forcing passes on opener and his partner? The sort of sequence I am thinking of starts: one heart -double – redouble. When the overcaller or his partner runs to two clubs, would a direct pass be forcing on both players?

Sold Out, Las Vegas, Nev.

The redouble forces opener or his partner to bid again at low levels (below two of the opened suit). So if the auction goes as you suggest, you cannot let the opponents play two clubs undoubled – you have to act again. Exceptions might be made for a third-in-hand opening bid, though.

I had always thought that pre-emptive bids were for defensive purposes and used when you are the opening bidder or you are bidding after the opponents have opened the bidding. At today's bridge club I was dealer and opened one club and my partner jumped to three diamonds with ♠ J-8,  5-3,  K-Q-9-8-7-5-3, ♣ 10-4. Was his bid correct?

Fifth Beatle, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

I think that while some play strong jumps and some play pre-emptive jumps facing an opening, most play weak jumps in competition. Equally, the default meaning of the double jump facing a minor is weak, but a splinter (strong with a fit and shortage in the bid suit) facing a major. So yes, this would be a pre-emptive jump.

What is the correct procedure for using the STOP and ALERT cards? I'm a newbie to Duplicate Bridge and suspect either I or my opponents aren't being consistent in their use.

Tyro, Duluth, Minn.

With the STOP card I put the card on the table before my bid and announce, "Skip bid, please wait." Then I make my call and pick up the card after approximately 10 seconds. With the ALERT card I say "Alert" and pick up that card and put it close to my partner's call, to make sure that whether my opponents are short-sighted or hard of hearing, they do have a chance to register it.

In second seat, after a pass on your right, nonvulnerable versus vulnerable opponents, you pick up ♠ Q 6-3,  K-Q-J-10-4-2,  Q-J-3, ♣ 6. I thought that reasonable choices would be two hearts or pass, but my partner chose one heart. I was expecting a different type of hand — a couple of quick tricks, for example. The results were NOT pretty.

Wright Brothers, Greenville, S.C.

In second seat this is nothing approaching a one-level opening (even at favorable vulnerability). Since you can't beat seven clubs (you have no sure winners), a weak two is just fine. For the record, change the hand to  K-10-9 and I'm on the fence, but would bid two hearts vulnerable. I would never, ever, pass though.

Can you comment on how to play a suit combination such as three to the ace-king facing four to the queen-nine? Specifically if you cash the ace and king from your hand and the 10 appears on your right, should you finesse on the third round, in the absence of further clues?

Deep Thoughts, Elmira, N.Y.

The numbers to compare are whether your RHO is more likely to have J-10-x or either of J-x or 10-x. The odds strongly favor the finesse here. If you are unconvinced, I suggest you look here.

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Iain ClimieAugust 18th, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Hi Bobby,

I’m sorry to say I’d probably have opened that overblown weak 2 with 1H but I can see the argument against. There again, isn’t there a hand from Whist days (Duke of Cumberland, hand, perhaps) where AKQJ AKQ AKQ KJ9 doesn’t beat 7C either. I think it is used in -an Fleming’s Moonraker with villain Hugo Drax being set up for the sting.



Bobby WolffAugust 19th, 2013 at 5:04 am

Hi Iain,

Yes, I think the hand with QJx KQJ10xx Q10x, x is closer to a weak 2 heart bid, especially vulnerable, since our suit is so good, which in turn satisfies the purists among us.

I am not quite sure of the history of the 32 HCPointer, but, of course, have heard about it before, and do not know whether or not Fleming’s Moonraker (a James Bond early book and movie) made it famous.

Thanks for your trip down memory lane. In those days and before, bridge was more in the news and had more players, especially younger ones.

Harry S.August 19th, 2013 at 8:01 am

The whist hand was something like
North: – – 1098765432 AQ108
West: 109876 J1098765 J –
South: 5432 432 – 765432

N-S making 7C with only 6 HCP.

Iain ClimieAugust 19th, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Hi Harry S,

That’s the one – apparently a good gambling con in whist days along with the Mississippi heart hand. None AKQJ109 AKQ AKQJ

Of course lho has no minor suit cards the other 7 trumps and forces with a spade at trick 1



PS hope this posts ok, as the Blackberry’s display has just gone odd.

Bobby WolffAugust 19th, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Hi Harry S. and Iain,

Yes, except make sure the AQ108 of clubs are behind the KJ9, allowing hearts to be set up while finessing in trump to draw the opponent’s fangs and setting up all the tricks for the “good guys”. NS need to be interchanged from your example or instead EW.

And yes, Iain, the Mississippi heart hand supposedly played while aboard a steamer traversing the Mississippi river, by gamblers who fleeced a bridge lover by arranging that hand. Whether it happened or not is anybody’s guess, but in any case it makes a good story.

Thanks for the excitement!