Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, April 6th, 2014

My partner has suggested I play revolving discards (where a high card in one suit calls for the suit above, a low one for the suit below). Do you think that this system is compatible with suit-preference signals as played in the normal fashion?

Busy Lizzy, Rockford, Ill.

Your signaling method and your discarding method are not necessarily mutually exclusive — they do not have to be the same. I'm happy to play any system of discarding where I can call for one suit by discarding in one of the other suits; I find I throw fewer winners away as a consequence of that.

I was fourth to speak with ♠ Q,  J-3,  A-J-9-5-3-2, ♣ A-K-10-2, and opened one diamond. After partner responded one no-trump, it did not feel right to pass. But I felt I had too many choices, with bids at various levels in either minor. Even the possibility of raising no-trump did not seem outlandish.

Pick Six, Wausau, Wis.

Passing certainly does not seem right — the hand has potential for game in either minor, but even one one no-trump might go down on a bad day! I'd recommend a simple call of two clubs, intending to rebid three diamonds whether partner reverts to two diamonds, or raises to three clubs. Both sequences would sound like 6-4 in the minors with extra values.

I teach bridge, and I tell my students to respond in their longest suit if they can afford it. In your column you told players to respond one spade with the following hand if their partner opened one diamond: ♠ K-8-6-5,  Q-4,  K-5, ♣ K-9-6-5-4. If you are not playing two-over-one, I feel you can afford a two-club response, and whatever partner bids next, you should have no problems. What are your thoughts?

Lumberjack, Spokane, Wash.

You make a fair point. I think with one-bid hands you should bid a major if you can. What you do on game-forcing hands is normally to bid the long suits. It is with the in-between hands where you have to make a judgment call. If the major is weak, you might opt to introduce a longer minor first.

Why do you prefer the lead of the king from king-queen as well as from the ace-king? Does it not create some ambiguity when you have certain holdings that include the jack?

Justice League, San Antonio, Texas

I am someone who leads his fair share of unsupported aces and wants to know what partner's attitude is when he knows the king is missing. I admit that when you hold jack-third in response to a king lead and dummy has a relatively short holding without the queen or ace, you might not know how to signal. I will take that downside in exchange for more clarity elsewhere.

Say your LHO opened one diamond, and partner made a three-club overcall. What would you bid after your RHO made a negative double and you held ♠ 10-5,  A-Q-9-4-3,  10-6-5, ♣ Q-4-3? The deal comes from a matchpoint pair event with your side at favorable vulnerability and with a cheap save in five clubs over four spades.

Nosey Parker, Spartanburg, S.C.

I would not bounce to five clubs immediately, but I would not necessarily recommend my solution to you until you had discussed this with your partner. I'd suggest that you bid three hearts, with the understanding that a new suit in response to a pre-emptive overcall is fit-showing in competition. It shows a hand with club tolerance or better and a desire for a heart lead. That should help partner decide whether to save and what to lead.

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