Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, February 26th, 2017

I saw a letter from an old-school rubber player asking you about what responder’s cuebid meant when his partner opened the bidding and the next hand overcalled. Does a cuebid always show support, even in a minor?

Fumbling Florence, Trenton, N.J.

In a minor, the support may be somewhat limited but since you didn’t bid the other minor or double, you always have at least three trump. For example, after a one diamond opener from your partner and a one heart overcall, what would you bid with an opening bid with 3-4-3-3 pattern and four small hearts?

After an unsuccessful game, my partner suggested that at pairs a player who had balanced the opponents into game should probably double. His logic was that you were already on a terrible board if game was going to make. Could you comment on this?

Chasing the Rainbow, Doylestown, Pa.

Yes but…sometimes your opponents reach a normal game in an odd fashion – and you were going to get an average if you had not doubled. There is however a time to double; and that is when you figure your contract was going to make (for 140 or 130, say) and thus you need to double to make sure your plusscore exceeds that number.

One of my opponents held a minimum opener: ♠ J-7-3, A-Q-9-7-4, 2, ♣ A-Q-9-4 and he bid one heart, and heard his partner respond two diamonds, which they played as forcing to game. Can you comment on the merits of a two heart, two no-trump or three club rebid?

Second Chance, Sioux Falls, S.D.

There is a huge disagreement on what should be a simple question. For me, three clubs suggests real extra shape or high cards, two no-trump suggests but does not absolutely guarantee a stopper in the unbid suits, while a two heart rebid suggests six or a decent five-card suit. All three calls are reasonable here, but I’d lean to the two heart call since it is the most economical. Give me the king-jack of clubs instead of the queen, and I might bid three clubs.

The rumors from chess suggest that electronic devices and computers are being used illegally in that sport. Are players currently permitted to bring cell-phones and other devices into bridge events?

Luddite, Bellevue, Wash.

The ACBL recently experimented with a ban on cellphones but relented and now allows you to bring them in if you do not have them turned on. I might ban cell-phones altogether if I had my way, but I am not yet master of the universe.

One of my opponents recently dropped a card out of their hand onto the table and the Tournament Director explained that this was only a minor penalty card not a major penalty card. They were simultaneously playing two cards from the same suit, if that is of any help in explaining the ruling.

Muddle in the Middle, Eau Claire, Wis.

A minor penalty card is that one arises when two cards in the same suit are played simultaneously, and the exposed card is a small one. This basically gives rise to no penalty either for the player or his partner, but the offender must play the exposed card before any other small card in that suit. If the offending card is the spade nine, you can therefore discard or play a spade honor before the nine, but not discard or play the spade two.

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