Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, February 19th, 2017

Do you know anything about an initiative in New York City called “Chess at 3”? I saw reference in the papers and online and wondered if bridge had anything similar, of it was lagging behind?

Green Eyes, Worcester, Mass.

Yes I think bridge still has a way to go to make the same impact as chess. It may be something to do with the idea of card-play equaling gambling. But Debbie Rosenberg in Silicon Valley and Patty Tucker in Atlanta have shown it can be done. The ACBL in general is trying hard— has details.

In third chair I wondered how you felt about opening: ♠ Q-10-7-5, A-K-4-2, 9, ♣ J-9-4-3. Would the vulnerability affect your decision, and if you did decide to open, would you open a major or a minor?

Cowardly Lion, Miami, Fla.

There is certainly a case to open slightly weaker hands in third seat. Especially when you have a suit with lead directing values like the hearts here. Having said that, you wouldn’t mind particularly if the deal was passed out, would you? And given that 4-4-4-1 is the ideal shape on which to defend, since you already know that three suits will not be splitting for the opponents, I would pass.

I was recently defending a diamond contract, and in a four-card ending I had the master trump and two small clubs, and one small heart. Dummy had the master club, which was the eight, together with three small hearts. When West led her top spade, she said to dummy that she could play anything. I could trump in, but could I now ask for the club eight to be played now?

Sharp Shooter, Augusta, Ga.

If as declarer you ask dummy to play any card the defenders can select any card — rational or irrational, or just plain inferior. So in this case yes the club must be discarded, if you ask dummy to do so. Declarer cannot argue that he knew the position, or he would never have said what he did.

I’m told there are some good records of the recent cheating scandals. Are there any good ways to watch them online.

Goggle Box, Fayetteville, N.C.

The answer to your question can best be summarized by your looking at the following videos —, and To me, these seem expertly created and absolutely convincing. The pairs involved are all now banned from the game, so I guess the authorities agree with me.

I held ♠ J-4, A-Q-4, K-J-4-3, ♣ J-10-8-2, and opened one diamond rather than one club in second seat; do you agree? What was I supposed to do when my LHO bid one spade and my partner doubled? I can see a case for rebidding one no-trump because the hand is balanced, but a call of two hearts or two clubs also had some appeal at the time.

Split Ends, Portland, Ore.

I like the one diamond opener; as to the rebid, an expert panel might be split between three rational actions. The 4-3 heart fit might play well here, but I’d rather not make that call if anything else appealed here. Since I have a little something in spades and the opponents have not yet repeated or raised spades, I think a call of one no-trump is acceptable. Still and all, a call of two clubs does at least have me bidding a real suit. That would be my choice. Oren say “Still and all” seems odd to him. Your call!

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