Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Can you clarify what happens if South is in a two heart contract, and East revokes by trumping when he could have followed suit, thus incurring a two trick penalty? North-South therefore make two hearts with two overtricks. Should the two penalty tricks be added to the game tricks or will they be bonus points above the line?

Ice Berg, Kelowna, British Columbia

Remember the revoke laws have changed so that it is only two tricks (as opposed to one) if the offending side wins two tricks on or after the revoke trick. In addition, they must either win the revoke trick with the revoke or the revoker must win a subsequent trick with a card he could have played on the revoke trick. Such overtricks go above the line. What goes below is always the contract – be it undoubled, doubled or redoubled, but nothing else.

After my LHO opened the bidding one diamond, marking him with most of the outstanding high cards, I declared two spades with two small trumps facing a five-card suit headed by A-Q-J-9. I ruffed once in dummy and now had to make a trump play. Should I lead to the nine, jack or ace?

Bobby Shafto, East Orange, N.J.

Assuming the king is to our left we should compare LHO holding king-doubleton (when low to the nine is right) against his holding king-10 in a two or three-card suit, when the suit should be played from the top. I make it a slight edge to play from the top – but it is close.

Holding ♠ K-10-2,  K,  A-J-8-7-5-3, ♣ A-Q-3 I opened one diamond and jumped to three diamonds over my partner’s one heart response. My partner had six hearts to the ace-jack, plus three good diamonds to the king-queen. The field played three no-trumps here but six diamonds would have been easy. How should we get to slam here?

Monkey’s Paw, Madison, Wis.

Your hand is certainly full value for a jump in diamonds, though you would try to avoid making the call on such a weak suit. I might consider a rebid of two no-trump (or even inventing a spade suit). That certainly won’t help reaching slam, today, though. Some hands are just too difficult.

Holding ♠ A-Q-3,  K-2,  A-J-2, ♣ K-10-9-8-3, is it right to overcall one diamond with a call of one no-trump, or would you consider the hand too strong for that action? Does the vulnerability or whether we are playing pairs or teams make a difference?

Grape Pip, Newport News, Va.

I’m not a fan of doubling as opposed to overcalling one no-trump if the latter is a practical alternative. Here doubling might lead partner to do too much in the majors. The point about missing game is not the primary concern, since partner tends (not always correctly) to assume we have a good strong no-trump when we make the overcall, so he will be inclined to try for game if he can.

Could you clarify what you mean by an upside-down signal? I didn’t realize you could throw a card upside down – I thought that sort of signal was illegal.

Widdershins, Mitchell, S.D.

When players refer to reverse or ‘upside down’ discards or signals, what they mean is that the meaning of the signal is reversed rather than the card itself. It has been traditional in the US to attach an encouraging meaning to high cards, though occasionally a high card shows an even number. In many other countries low cards are used to convey encouragement. You may give whatever meaning you like to your carding — but you must disclose it on your convention cards, or if asked.

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