Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

My partner has proposed we play Rosenkranz doubles to distinguish between hands on which advancer (overcaller’s partner) can raise his partner’s suit without a top honor, but can show a raise with a top honor by a double – or possibly a redouble. Where do you stand here?

Red Cross, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I prefer to utilize the double to show a strong defensive hand rather than for a fit. These doubles are traditionally only used by fourth hand facing an overcall, and I can see the logic in using them in the way you describe if by a passed hand – but I would not advocate them in any other sequences.

Holding ♠ A-J-7-4-2,  K-9-7,  A-Q-9-7, ♣ 10, I opened one spade and heard my LHO overcall two clubs. My partner passed, but I felt he had broken tempo slightly before acting. When this came back to me what are my responsibilities in terms of passing bidding or doubling? For the record, my partner had a six-count with the shape for a negative double but only a singleton spade; so we could make three in either red suit.

At the Table, White Plains, N.Y.

You were very ethical to consider this a problem. Many people would process the break subconsciously but not admit to it. Here, if you have what you consider a clear action (one to which there is no logical alternative) take it. In my opinion, doubling for take-out is that clear… change the diamond seven to the club seven and some would pass, so you may feel obliged to do so. I’d never bid two diamonds as opposed to doubling, by the way.

When opener hears his partner make a negative double, is a jump in a new suit forcing or invitational? If partner had responded, that jump would have been game forcing, right?

Raising the Roof, Raleigh, N.C.

When your partner asks you to bid a suit with a negative double, all minimum actions show that suit but deny extra values. A jump to the three-level simply says that you have the appropriate suit(s) and extra values, while jumping to two of a major after opening a minor and hearing a negative double of a red suit promises no more than the equivalent of raising a major shown by partner. With forcing hands, start with a cuebid or a more extravagant leap than a simple jump.

Could you please elaborate on a complete structure over an opening bid of two no-trump? I’m assuming Stayman, and transfers to the majors at the three- and four-level.

Patterning Out, Madison, Wis.

A raise to three no-trump is to play, of course, with regular Stayman, transfers and Texas transfers to the majors. You can play a jump to four spades and four no-trump both as quantitative, the former suggesting both minors 4-4. Next week, I’ll answer the question as to how to show one or both minors. But with a four-card major and a longer minor start with Stayman, then either agree the major if appropriate, or bid the minor if not.

How would you evaluate this hand, playing at Board-a-Match teams? My partner held ♠ A-10-4-3,  10-8-2,  9-7-4, ♣ K-9-2 and responded one spade to one club. The next hand overcalled two diamonds, and I jumped to three spades. What would you do now? (My partner passed, but I had a 4-4-1-4 15-count with the king-queen of spades and the top hearts. Game needed only a mildly favorable lie of the clubs to come home.)

Swing Low, Holland, Mich.

My calculation is that after spades broke you might well have needed either hearts or clubs to behave well to come to 10 tricks – consider the effect of repeated diamond leads to see that. As far as I can see, both players did exactly the right thing; you were well short of a drive to game, your partner took account of the fact that in competition you may have had to shade your jump raise.

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