Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

My take on weak two-bids is moderately disciplined — I like to have two top honors vulnerable, but don't insist on that nonvulnerable. In that context, what is your opinion on the best meaning for the relay response of two no-trump to a weak two; Ogust, or feature-ask — or something else?

Man Friday, Naples, Fla.

If you play disciplined weak-twos, as your letter suggests, a feature ask is best. If your weak twos deliver variable suit qualities, the Ogust Relay (where opener indicates his range and suit quality) may be wiser.

I dealt and passed holding ♠ 10-6-4,  K-7-5,  Q-10-8-5, ♣ Q-8-5. When my LHO opened one club, my partner overcalled one spade and my RHO bid one no-trump. What should I have done now? I elected to pass, and we missed a playable partscore — but I had expected to run into the spades stacked against me.

Chicken, Whiting, Ind.

When your RHO bids one no-trump, he simply shows a spade guard rather than a spade stack. (In fact, with a spade stack he might play for penalties rather than bid.) You may not have a maximum for your two-spade bid, but you have to support with support and let partner take things from there.

I know that in choosing a trump suit, a 4 – 4 split often plays better than a 5 – 3 fit. But which trump split is better, 6 – 2 or 5 – 3?

Eight Is Enough, Kingston, Ontario

It is a little tough to give a general answer here. 6-2 probably gives you more easy tricks (after all a 13-card suit is better than 12 — which is better than 11). But imagine you have eight cards with the three top honors. A 5-3 fit may allow you to find a 4-1 split, then finesse, while with a 6-2 fit, you may find out too late. Equally, when missing the queen, but holding both the jack and 10, with the ace and king split, the 5-3 split offers the chance to take two finesses and protect against the 4-1 break.

How should I respond to my partner’s double of one club when I had ♠ Q-10-7-5,  A-Q-6-5,  9-5, ♣ 10-8-3? I was not sure if I had enough to cue-bid and raise my partner’s major to three. I tried that but I was told that it was an overbid.

Shaky Ground, Memphis, Tenn.

Your partner was right, in that you are about a queen short of a cue-bid. However the right answer is to respond one spade, not one heart. Your plan in further competition would be to bid hearts and let partner choose economically between the majors. This is a rare instance where you would bid the higher four-card suit before the lower.

I play with seven women three or four times a month. My question to you is that I was informed me that it was not proper to ask the scorekeeper the score after the bidding starts. I have played bridge for 50 years and this was a first!

Pearl Jam, Mountain Home, Idaho

For the record, I think everyone should keep score. But yes, one should not remind partner of the score in mid-auction. However, until the cards are picked up, you not only can, but SHOULD remind partner (unless they always remember and an opponent doesn't!).

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RobinAugust 17th, 2014 at 6:57 pm


Unfortunately the internet problem has still not been fixed. Mr. Wolff still does not have internet access. He can not view or respond to any comments. We are now being told he will have access on Monday August 18th. Please bear with us. He will respond to all comments as soon as possible. In the meantime, please enjoy the column.

Bobby WolffAugust 18th, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Hi Robin,

More thanks for your update on the update.