Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, April 30th, 2017

If a partnership tends to open light, with initial actions starting at 10 HCP, does this need to be alerted? I had thought 10 HCP was the lower limit, unless a prealert is made. Then it might become an issue if some clubs won’t allow it in first or second seat.

What About Bob, Panama City, Fla.

I agree that systemically light openers starting at fewer than 11 points should be pre-alerted. Those people playing strong club often do it and don’t alert it; but in my opinion it is, at the very minimum, a courtesy you owe your opponents.

Can you comment on the merits or demerits of a Walsh style of responding to a club opener in a major rather than in diamonds unless you have invitational or better values? This may mean bidding a four-card major in front of a four- or even five-card diamond suit?

Road Warrior, Newark, N.J.

The pluses of the bypass are that opener gets to rebid one no-trump over one diamond when balanced, while bidding a major promises real clubs. It isn’t all one-way traffic of course, but I like the general idea. I believe that having opener rebid no-trump when balanced is a big plus. This doesn’t mean there won’t be counter-examples where diamonds get lost. But these days, minor suits seem to be going out of style.

After a one club opener to your right, with: ♠ J-2,  A-J-9-8-6,  K-10-6, ♣ A-Q-3 where do you stand on the issue of overcalling in the major or bidding one no-trump? And what are the factors that influence you in a decision of this sort?

Germanicus, Huntington, W. Va.

With a good five-carder and a small doubleton I think the odds are weighted to overcall in the major instead of bidding a strong no-trump. You may occasionally have to re-open with a take-out double if you overcall, when the opponents find spades, since you are at the top end of the range for an overcall. But I do not think we will often miss game if I make the simple overcall. We might miss hearts if I bid one no-trump, however.

If you play in three spades doubled and make two overtricks not vulnerable, I understand you double the trick score to get 180, then add 50 for insult and 300 for game. But is making the extra tricks worth 30 or 60 above the line?

Pack-Rat, Union City, Tenn.

The score for three spades doubled is indeed 180 for tricks, with 50 for insult, and 300 for game. But you score 100 for each doubled overtrick, which comes to 730. The general rule is that doubled overtricks are 100 non-vulnerable, 200 if vulnerable. Meanwhile redoubled overtricks are 200 or 400 each. Incidentally, the back of the cards in the bidding boxes lists all the possible outcomes for each contract, doubled or redoubled.

With: ♠ A-8-7-2,  J-8,  A-Q-9-6-4, ♣ Q-3, when you hear your partner open one club you respond one diamond and hear partner raise to two diamonds. Would you blast three no-trump now or take a slower route?

Psycho Killer, Hoboken, N.J.

I’m not averse to concealing my hand type under the right conditions. Here, though I am in doubt as to strain and level so I go with two spades. Notrump could easily be much better from my partner’s hand, by the way.

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