Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, December 10th, 2017

I have never seen a discussion of what happens when my LHO overcalls my suit opening with one no-trump. If my partner doubles, when should I remove that double? And when they run after his double, how far are passes forcing?

Cowardly Leon, Jackson, Tenn.

A new suit by your partner is NOT forcing — suggesting 6-9 HCP. Responder will almost always double with 10 or more points, so you will tend to pass the double unless weak and distributional, when you can remove the double — at your own risk. If your RHO runs, passes are forcing through two of your own suit, and double from both sides should be defensive or penalty.

I held ♠ J-7 ,  A-Q-7-2 ,  A-Q-10-3-2, ♣ K-2 and opened one diamond. Over a one-spade response, I thought I did not have enough to reverse, so I rebid two diamonds to end the auction. We could not make a game, but belonged in a spade part-score. Where did we go wrong?

Second Wind, Phoenix, Ariz.

You can reverse on this hand without feeling you are overbidding too much, but an alternative and more practical approach might be to open a strong no-trump. With 16 HCP, the hand may be best described this way (but with 15 or 17 you might upgrade or downgrade appropriately).

I saw in a column online that the design on playing cards might need to be changed, and wondered what was the perceived need?

Facing the Muzak, Spartanburg, S.C.

After some abortive attempts to design symmetric card faces, the new Laws merely suggest that the backs and faces of the cards should be symmetrical — not that they must. It is up to the local regulating authorities to decide whether they will uphold these guidelines.

I only play on OK Bridge with pickup partners so I’m starting to forget some of the rules of bidding. If I open one heart and my LHO bids two clubs, is my partner’s call of two diamonds (or two spades) forcing if the opponents raise to three clubs? What if my partner bids a new suit at the three-level?

Richie Rich, Elmira, N.Y.

I believe that responder’s new suit does not set up a requirement on himself for a second call. It would be unusual to pass if the opponents raise, but not impossible. If responder bids a new suit at the three-level, it does set up a game force, for better or worse.

In no-trump, I often have the problem of how (or whether) to unblock a suit after I lead an honor and it holds. Having led from Q-J-10 and won the trick, how should I make it clear to my partner that I have that holding rather than Q-J-10-2 (or Q-J-10-3-2)?

Second Thoughts, Taos, N.M.

If you lead the queen and follow up with the jack, it almost denies holding the 10, so partner will not overtake on the second round. Thus if you lead the queen then follow up with the 10 or a small card, you can unblock the suit successfully. Partner will know to play his honor.

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