Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

I have come across the idea that an opening lead of a low card means that you would like that suit led back to you; while a high spot-card opening lead means that you would not like that suit led back to you. Do you agree with that guideline — and should it apply in suit contracts as well as no-trump?

Lorna Doone, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

At suits, I think a strict fourth-highest or third-and-fifth approach is best. From four or five cards at no-trump, second-highest from a suit with no honors may make sense. In the mid-hand, shifting to a high card from a bad suit makes equally good sense. But remember to play only those spot cards you can afford! And try to avoid leading the middle card from three; lead either top or bottom of three small.

I was in fourth seat and heard my LHO open one diamond. My partner doubled, and I jumped to two spades with ♠ A-Q-3-2,  K-5-3,  J-10, ♣ J-9-4-2. Now my LHO bid three diamonds, and my partner bid four diamonds. What would you recommend?

Acrophobic, Ketchikan, Alaska.

The four-diamond call should show a diamond control with spade fit, and a slam-try. You have enough to bid four hearts now; but if your partner signs off in four spades, it isn’t clear to me that you have enough to bid on. Your trumps are good, but you do have only four.

When your partner bids one diamond and you hold ♠ 8-4,  K-7-3-2,  Q-6, ♣ A-Q-9-6-4, would you respond one heart or two clubs? What factors are at issue?

Sound Bites, Dallas, Texas

This is very close. I’d normally bid one heart to avoid missing the fit in a major. I think if two clubs is absolutely game-forcing, I’d bid one heart. With game-forcing values, I’d bid two clubs and then introduce hearts later. It is a good rule to bid your longest suit first when you plan to force to game.

I can’t find any consistency in the literature as to which suit the “transfer suit” is. Many refer to it as the suit the transferee bids, while some others say it is the suit transferred to. What is your opinion?

Champion the Wonder Horse, Boston, Mass.

I wish I had a firm opinion to offer you. My instinct is that when there is a response of two diamonds to one no-trump, hearts is the transfer suit. Therefore, a call of two diamonds is the suit named or called, and hearts is the transfer suit or suit shown or promised. I hope that helps!

My partner opened one club, and the next hand bid two diamonds. I was looking at ♠ J-9,  A-Q-3-2,  Q-5-3-2, ♣ K-10-4, and didn’t want to make a negative double for fear of hearing spade bids. If I jumped in no-trump, I was worried that spades might be a problem. What would you have done here? I chose to bid hearts, and this did not work well.

Lost in Space, Casper, Wyo.

A call of two no-trump is possible here, since your partner can explore below three no-trump if he is short in diamonds. Even if he makes a non-forcing three-club call, you might be able to bid on (with a call of three diamonds or three hearts, perhaps). A heart call shows five cards. Incidentally, a negative double with 9 or more HCP and one major plus support for partner’s minor may work out. And double may be the least lie when you have five spades but not enough to invite game, say 8-10.

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1 Comment

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