Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

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

I held: ♠ Q-J,  A-10-7-5-4,  A-Q-9-4, ♣ 10-8 and responded one heart to my partner’s one club opener. After a one spade overcall I balanced with two diamonds, and heard two spades to my left, passed back to me. Do you like a call of two no-trump now, my choice? This was not a success, losing the first six spade tricks. Double was the winning call, since careful defense beats that contract one trick.

RuPaul, U.C. Davis, Calif.

Without sounding unduly negative, it is important to understand that your two diamond call fundamentally misrepresented your hand. That call is natural but non-forcing; it might easily be 4-5 in the reds. Almost any good hand starts with a cuebid, or in this case a double for take out. Now after two spades comes back to you, you can double again, planning to raise no-trump or bid three diamonds over three clubs. A second double is NOT penalty; just a good hand, with extras.

My partner opened one club and heard me respond one heart, over which she jumped to three hearts. I bid Keycard Blackwood and followed up with five no-trump over her five spade response, which showed two keycards and the trump queen. What should you do now with her hand, holding: ♠ 7-3,  Q-5-4-3,  A-5, ♣ A-K-Q-8-4?

Peter Peck, Grand Junction, Colo.

Despite holding a minimum you must bid seven hearts now. Your source of tricks should mean that partner will be able to develop the clubs to take care of his spade or diamond losers. With the same hand, but the spade queen not club queen, I would just bid six clubs, showing my specific king.

I held ♠ K-Q-9-8,  Q,  A-Q-4, ♣ A-7-5-4-2, and would be interested on hearing your opinion about whether to bid game, splinter, or bid three spades after opening one club and hearing partner respond one spade in an uncontested auction. Would it matter if partner were a passed hand? In response to a jump to three spades would you bid game with ace-fifth of spades and queen-third of clubs?

Zig-Zag Zelda, Boise, Idaho

Facing a passed hand I would just bid four spades and not worry about slam. I don’t think the hand is worth a splinter (whereas if the heart queen was the club queen you’d be full value for the jump to four hearts) whether partner is a passed hand or not. You could sell me on a four spade bid facing an unpassed hand, but it is close to a three-spade bid. And yes, partner should raise three spades to four, facing likely club length. He has two working honors and five trumps.

Can you tell me what is the best place to read bridge hands online? I’m interested not only in bridge columns but a general discussion of news and views.

Storm Chaser, Lakeland, Fla.

My column can be found at, where it runs two weeks after it appears in the papers. But if you want news and views try, and to follow live bridge at the top level go to

I just played online with a partner who said Michaels was off with interference. If you define interference as the opponents being in the bidding, then surely you can’t have Michaels without interference?

Mikey Likes It, Danville, Ill.

To clarify when you can use a Michaels Cuebid: they apply in both second and (in some cases) in fourth seat. After the opponents open, a direct cuebid shows a two-suiter. After they open and respond in a new suit, it is customary in North America to play that bidding either opponent’s suit is natural. However, play Michaels after the opponents open one of a suit and respond one no-trump. If you pass and later bid an opponent’s suit, facing a passing partner, it is natural.

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