Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 4th, 2017

Holding ♠ K-10-2,  Q-7-5-2,  K-9-2, ♣ A-4-2. I heard my partner open two no-trumps and was unsure as to whether to drive to slam or invite it, and which route to follow. I had the option of using Stayman and following up with four no-trump or something else if I found a heart fit. Or I could just have bid four no-trump directly as a quantitative action. What would you recommend?

Shooting Star, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Sometimes the two no-trump opening blocks your side from finding a fit. I’d treat this hand as worth no more than an invitation to slam unless we find hearts, so my plan would be to use Stayman and then set hearts as trump if we find a fit, or follow up with four no-trump as a quantitative invitation, if we do not.

With ♠ A,  K-J-4-3  A-Q-5-4-3, ♣ Q-6-5, would you open a strong no-trump, now that the ACBL has approved such actions? If you don’t, and choose to open one diamond, what would you rebid over partner’s expected one spade response?

Be Prepared, Troy, N.Y.

My roundabout answer is that with hands of this generic shape and appropriate spade holding, plus 15 HCP I tend to open one diamond and downgrade the hand into a one no-trump rebid. With 17, I will reverse or jump to two no-trump, depending on what I consider more appropriate (I will try not to conceal a major at my second turn). With 16 I may feel obligated to open one no-trump, but I might hate myself in the morning.

In a recent ‘Bid with the Aces’ problem you advocated rebidding a spade suit of K-Q-J-10-2 after partner opens one diamond and rebids two clubs. I have no quarrel with treating that spade suit as a six-bagger, but I thought that responder taking any second bid here except for a preference back to opener’s first suit would show an invitational hand. Does it suggest a hand in the 9-to-11 range or not?

Value for Money, Riverside, Calif.

If we play strong-jump responses, let us contrast responder’s rebid in an auction where opener has rebid his suit and one where he had introduced a new suit. In the former case, responder’s rebid is deemed to be constructive, because he would normally pass when weak, knowing he was facing a six-card suit. You cannot draw that inference about the auction you quote. Two spades now might either be an attempt to improve the contract or mildly constructive.

I picked up ♠ A-Q-J-6-5-2,  Q,  K-J-3-2, ♣ A-4. How much would you bid on opening one spade in second seat, and hearing a two spade (Michaels Cuebid) call to your left, with partner passing and RHO bidding three hearts? Would your call be affected by the vulnerability?

Standing Pat, Edmonton, Alberta

Your hand is too offensive to pass here, but jumping to four spades would be too much, even at favorable vulnerability. So a bid of three spades seems right. For the record, doubling for take-out would not be absurd were your heart queen the ace.

After opening one club with: ♠ J-10-8-2,  A-8-3,  Q-J-4, ♣ K-Q-4, you recently suggested a rebid of one no-trump over a response of one heart. Can you comment on why a rebid of one spade or a raise to two hearts might not work?

Second Chance Sal, Taos, N.M.

Raising hearts with three in a balanced hand feels wrong. Equally, the disadvantage in rebidding one no-trump is that you might lose spades when partner is weak with both majors. That said, if partner has invitational values or better he should be able to find spades — and will know your exact shape if he does. Also, a one spade response (which I play as guaranteeing real clubs) might get you to clubs – could you blame a partner with 2-4-3-4 pattern for thinking there was a club fit?

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