Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, September 17th, 2017

Has there been any change in the structure of the major tournaments around the world? Are all the world championships still taking place – and have any been added recently?

Top of the World, Bellevue, Wash.

The major titles run on a four-year cycle, with odd years having the Bermuda Bowl, plus Venice Cup and D’Orsi Trophy for women and seniors respectively. Junior events now include separate fields for under-21 and young women. A school children’s event has very recently been added. The even years alternate between the Olympiad (with the same three categories), and an event open to everyone where there are both teams and pairs events.

My partner opened one spade, to which I respond one no-trump with 10 points and the Q-9 of spades, and six diamonds to the ace, since we were playing two over one almost game forcing. She rebid her spades and I raised to three, thinking I had more than enough to invite game. My partner claimed she was simply showing me a minimum hand, and that I was compelled to pass now. Could you comment please?

Brake Pads, Seneca, S.C.

Over the forcing no-trump, with a minimum or moderate hand, opener bids a second, cheap, suit if she has one (occasionally a three-card minor if no four-card suit is available) or rebids a six-card suit. Opener’s rebid of his suit limits the hand by his failure to jump but is entirely consistent with up to 15 points. So your second-round choice actually appears to have been between a raise to three or four spades.

Earlier this month you used a term I’m not familiar with in your answer to a letter. Who or what is an advancer?

Moving on up, Great Falls, Mont.

In times gone by, bridge terminology was both more ornate and less precise, with the use of the word ‘responder’ to describe the partner of both an opening bidder and an overcaller. These days I have picked up on a usage from Bridge World of calling overcaller’s partner ‘advancer’. It is unambiguous if not yet in completely common parlance.

What would you open with ♠ A,  A-9-4,  A-J-10-9-8-4, ♣ A-K-2? I toyed with opening two no-trump but settled for one diamond. I heard one spade to my left, pass from partner, two spades to the right. What now? At the table facing the red kings and a doubleton club, five diamonds was easy and six diamonds about as good as three no-trump!

Scot Free, Durham, N.C.

I’d double two spades, whereupon a number of good things can happen – if partner passes, raises diamonds or bids hearts. If he bids three clubs I correct to three diamonds and hope to continue the dialogue. A direct two no-trump call feels completely wrong to me, and three diamonds doesn’t begin to tell the story here.

Quite recently you advocated playing an almost forcing no-trump response to a major. How does that gybe with the responding hand having three trump and a limit raise? Might you not end up in an inferior partscore or even miss game?

Devil in the Details, Memphis, Tenn.

My preferred solution forces opener not to pass one no-trump if he has extra shape or values, so game is unlikely to be bid (or made) if opener has the hand to pass one no-trump — since he would reject a limit raise. If you want to put responder’s unbalanced three-card limit raises through the direct jump to three, then you should never play a ridiculous one no-trump contract. If one no-trump goes down facing a balanced hand, three of the major might also not have made.

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