Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Do you like Drury — and if you play this convention, where a two-club response by a passed hand becomes subverted to a raise of partner's major, how do you deal with hands with club suits facing a major-suit opening bid in third seat?

Fire Down Below, Laredo, Texas

I think most right-minded players believe Drury offers some useful protection against partner's light opening bids. I believe one might occasionally open marginal hands with long clubs suits in first and second seat simply to avoid potential rebid problems. But as a passed hand, you can also sensibly use a jump to three clubs to show a maximum pass with a long club suit.

What method would you recommend for responder to check back for a fit when his partner as opener jumps to two no-trump over a one-level major-suit response? Is an artificial bid needed?

Belly Flop, Salinas, Calif.

The Wolff signoff uses three clubs as a way to get out in three of your own suit or in partner's suit. Failing that, one simple way to check back is to play raising partner's minor as natural and forcing, while using the other minor searches for three-card support or four cards in the other major. Finally, transfers can be used here — but though technically best, they require proper agreements to be in place.

What is your view on raising partner or introducing a new suit after partner’s double when in a competitive auction? Does the so-called free raise really show extras? For example, after partner opens one heart and the next hand overcalls two clubs, should one bid two hearts or double with ♠ Q-J-7-2,  10-6-5,  J-9-5, ♣ Q-J-4?

Acting Up, Huntington, W. Va.

There are some sequences where you may elect to pass when you would otherwise have acted, after the opponents have overcalled, or otherwise competed. Here you would have bid had RHO passed, but your bad trumps and minimum hand with defense and no offense make passing just about acceptable. A negative double at the two–level should surely be a little stronger than this.

I was recently confused by a double in a previously undiscussed sequence. I overcalled one spade over one club, holding ♠ K-10-4-3-2,  A-Q-8,  K-9-5, ♣ 8-3, and heard my LHO raise to two clubs, doubled by my partner. What is my correct call now?

Lost in the Shuffle, Utica, N.Y.

Your partner's double of a low-level suit bid and supported by the opposition shows the unbid suits, and values. Rather than rebid spades, I'd try either two diamonds or two hearts now — the latter I think is the most flexible — and see whether partner can produce spade support, or will emphasize a suit of his own.

We need some help in arriving at the right score in an unusual hand, and I have not been able to find the answer elsewhere. My partner and I were vulnerable and bid and made six no-trump, doubled and redoubled. We made our contract and an overtrick. How should this be scored?

Full Value, Olympia, Wash.

You get a bonus of either 500 or 700 for completing the rubber, plus 750 for making a small slam vulnerable, the trick score is 760 – for 190 doubled and redoubled, plus 400 for the redoubled overtrick. Finally, the insult is a further 100, making a grand total of 2510 or 2710.

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