Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, May 13th, 2018

What should be the range associated with a jump overcall of a pre-emptive opener, or a jump in the balancing seat? And what about the situation when you are in sandwich seat, and the opponents open and respond, either in a new suit or with a raise of opener’s suit?

Leapy Lee, Augusta, Maine

Play strong jumps over pre-empts, while if the opponents pass an opening round to you, a jump should be something like an opening bid plus a good six-card suit. If the opponents bid and raise a suit, a jump by you at the three-level can by agreement be played as strong, not weak. However, if the opponents respond in a new suit, I’d advocate still playing weak jump overcalls. Next month, I’ll expound on the subject of Leaping and Non-Leaping Michaels.

Please clarify the meaning of bidding a suit an opponent has bid. I take it to mean a cue-bid, showing strength and asking partner to bid. When should one make this bid rather than doubling? I would only consider it following an opening bid; should it ever be considered over a response or an overcall?

Burton Ernie, Dallas, Texas

Let’s assume that, as an overcaller over an opening, you play Michaels or whatever two-suiter you agree. As third hand, your cue-bid of RHO’s suit shows fit and high cards, whereas a jump shows shape, not HCP. As fourth hand, the cue-bid shows a raise of overcaller’s suit. Once opener and responder haven’t set a trump suit, a cue-bid by either player below three no-trump tends to be a probe for three no-trump until proven to be a slam try with implicit or explicit fit.

Just about everybody I play bridge with has a different opinion on how to respond to a possibly short opening bid of one club. Some partners invent a one-diamond response with a weak hand. How do you feel about that?

Cave Canem, Grenada, Miss.

Even if you regularly open one club with a doubleton, I don’t see any reason to alter the structure of natural responses and to bid with fewer than, say, 4 HCP. As before, major-suit bids show four or more cards, while one no-trump is 6-10. It is only if you chose to play the one no-trump call as showing 8-10, rather than 6-10, that you might opt to invent a one-diamond response from time to time.

I picked up ♠ Q-8-4-2,  K-9-2,  10-7-4, ♣ Q-8-3, and heard my partner open one club. I bid one spade, and my partner then bid three spades. Was I wrong to pass, as opposed to raising to four spades? My partner had a singleton diamond, so game was good — but if he had had three diamonds and one heart, game would have been hopeless.

Just-So Stories, Durango, Colo.

This hand is on the cusp. Two of your three honors are surely working, but it is a 50-50 shot as to whether the heart king will play a part in the hand. I guess I would pass because of the lack of spade intermediates. Had partner opened one diamond instead of one club, I would pass three spades more happily.

We had a dispute in my regular partnership. I held ♠ Q-10,  10-8-4-2,  K-5-3, ♣ J-9-8-3 and heard my LHO open one diamond; my RHO responded one spade. When my LHO rebid no-trump, this came back to my partner, who doubled. What should this show?

A La Mode, Honolulu, Hawaii

Your partner’s double can sensibly be played in two ways. The first is my choice: It is a penalty double of spades with at least an opening bid. The second is to play the double as limited and take-out, but your spade shortness argues against that. I suppose you could even play it as either one or the other, requiring you to work out from your spade length which it is. Here, I would pass and lead the spade queen.

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