Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 14th, 2015

I recently missed a game when I responded one no-trump to a one diamond opening on an unpromising eight-count with 3-3-3-4 pattern and no 10s. My partner raised to two no-trumps, and I expected him to be a shapely hand in the strong no-trump range so I passed. It turned out he had 18 points. I thought one would jump to game with that hand?

Wrong Brother, Atlanta, Ga.

I’ll stay on the fence for this. To me your partner has a fair case; since the range for one no-trump is 6-10 you don’t have to bid game with a square 18-count, Though equally you might bid two no-trump with a semi-balanced 16-17. Thus in response I’d treat an eight-count as an acceptance. However, if I didn’t trust partner I’d certainly pass.

If you open one club holding: ♠ 3, A-J-6, K-Q-4-2, ♣ A-K-9-3-2 and partner responds one spade, should you jump to two notrumps, or bid two diamonds as a reverse?

A Suitable Case, Holland, Mich.

With an unbalanced hand like this one, bid your suits not no-trump. Switch the minors and I’d have more sympathy with the jump in no-trump, as I would not yet have shown my extras, but I think I’d still settle for bidding out my hand pattern with a two-club call, not a game-forcing bid of three clubs. I hope there will be time for no-trump on the next round.

When you hear an opening four hearts to your right, and you hold a 14-count with 3-1-4-5 pattern, do you pass or double? And what if the auction comes round to you in balancing seat?

Streaky Bacon, New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

You would have a 100% unanimous panel vote if this were a problem. A double of four hearts suggests a good hand, more for take-out than optional, so most would feel obliged to act. Yes, holding only three spades isn’t great, but doubling is the flexible and consultative call. It won’t always work, but it is clearly the best way to have a dialogue not a monologue.

I’m reading in your columns a use of the term New Minor. This seems to work like Stayman, but when does it apply, and would you encourage a relative newcomer to consider learning it?

Conventional Chuck, Palm Springs, Calif.

I am opposed to teaching anyone new conventions. But I admit that after opener’s rebid of one or two no-trump this gadget (which uses an unbid minor suit by responder at his second turn as forcing) is a sensible way to ask opener to reveal three-card support for responder, or to announce four cards in an unbid major.

I was stuck for a call holding: ♠ Q-7-3, Q-8-6-2, J-4-3, ♣ 1-0-8-7 when my partner doubled an opening bid of one heart. How would you compare passing, bidding one no-trump, or inventing a suit?

Two in the Glue, Wichita Falls, Texas

Passing is unacceptable here (one needs real trump length and trump tricks to do that) so your choice appears to be to invent a suit or to risk one notrump, which suggests a rather better hand than this. I guess I’d try one no-trump and cross my fingers; bidding one spade always seems to backfire here, since partners seem to raise excessively on finding a fit. Thus two clubs would be my second choice.

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Michael BeyroutiJune 28th, 2015 at 10:45 am

Invent a suit?… No need, Two in the Glue already has one: 1-0-8-7 in clubs.

Bobby WolffJune 28th, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Hi Michael,

Yes, 1-0-8-7 is just one of life’s annoyances. Let’s assume it was meant to be 10-8-7 for the club spots (reducing the hand to merely thirteen cards). With difficult times, like this choice of bids , it becomes right to select the least lie. One No Trump = 100; One Spade = 80; Two clubs = 50; Pass = MINUS 100.

I’ll answer yesterday’s comments when I return home tomorrow.

Lee McGovernJune 29th, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Funny 🙂