Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, December 11th, 2016

My rubber bridge group is doing best to emulate duplicate play by using bidding boxes and trying to use duplicate scoring. Is it correct that honors are used only at rubber bridge? If so, can you explain why there is a difference in scoring here?

Prickly Pair, Waterbury, Conn.

There are no honors at duplicate; they apply solely at rubber when playing in a trump suit — either side can collect them. At no-trump honors are scored only for possession of four aces. I’m not sure why honors went out of fashion – but at duplicate using honors would I think eliminate a skill element and make the game more random.

My question is about the merits of coming in over one no-trump. If playing pairs with ♠ 3, A-5-4-3-2, Q-10-5-3, ♣ K-10-4 after your LHO opens one no-trump, would you balance or let them play one no-trump? Would your choice be affected by the vulnerability, or whether you play Cappelletti, where you could show a two-suiter with hearts, as opposed to DONT, showing diamonds and a major?

Defense Sitter, Orlando, Fla.

I would surely balance, since partner is now less likely to go overboard, and would also bid in direct seat if we were not vulnerable. I might not act in direct seat if vulnerable — though my decision might depend on the strength of my partner and the opponents. It is certainly more attractive to show a two-suiter than a one-suiter.

Would you explain what are the commonly used methods in place by responder at his second turn once opener has rebid one notrump? Am I right that it is normal these days that the sequence: one diamond – one heart – one notrump – two clubs should be played at artificial?

Question Master, Torrance, Calif.

Opener’s one no-trump rebid shows 12-14 and three or fewer cards in support of partner. Your support and high-cards are still somewhat undefined. So responder has a relay (often called ‘New Minor’) which promises an invitational or better hand. It asks opener to raise partner with three trumps or make a descriptive call. Some use two clubs as artificial, no matter which minor has been opened. Some use both two clubs and two diamonds as artificial.

I held: ♠ Q-9-6-3, A-K-7-3-2, Q, ♣ J-8-4 and opened one heart, and heard two diamonds to my left. When this came back to me I doubled for take-out and found my partner with a weak hand, including jack-fifth of diamonds. When he passed, the contract came home with an overtrick. Were either of us way out of line here?

Caught Speeding, Saint John’s, Newfoundland

To my mind you got a little unlucky; your re-opening double looks text-book, with short diamonds, despite your minimum values. As it was, if partner had held the same trump suit on defense and a few values, you might have done quite well on defense. Maybe your possession of the trump queen argues partner does not have a penalty double – but that is Monday morning quarterbacking.

Is there really a convention called Namyats (Stayman backwards)? If so, what is it, and why is it named that?

Side-Show Bob, Elmira, N.Y.

Some people use opening bids of four clubs and four diamonds as good preempts in the corresponding major. Typically these would be solid suits, or semi-solid suits with a side ace. The logic is to get the game played the right way up, and to facilitate reaching slam, since the regular preempt is otherwise so wideranging. As to why it got its name, maybe it is associated with Sam Stayman and his partner, Vic Mitchell.

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1 Comment

product designerDecember 30th, 2016 at 7:08 am

Utterly composed subject material, thank you for entropy.