Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 30th, 2019

What should I do if I am about to be dummy and my partner has explained one of my calls incorrectly? When, if at all, should I say something when I’m not completely sure whether it was my mistake or his?

Lady’s Slipper, Mitchell, S.D.

When the auction is over, you must generally correct a false explanation. This applies whether you are going to be dummy or declarer. If you realize you have bid improperly and your partner explained your call correctly, you may not have to put that explanation right. But be aware that the director may assume a false explanation rather than an incorrect bid. (Note: As a defender, you would wait until the end of the hand before speaking up.)

Recently I held ♠ K-J-9,  9-3-2,  Q-10-3-2, ♣ K-7-4, and heard my partner open two clubs. Our agreement is that two diamonds is a waiting bid, with a suit bid showing length and strength. Is there any upper limit to the two-diamond bid? What would you do here?

Frog Prince, Montgomery, Ala.

Partner won’t pass your two-diamond call, so you can describe your hand accurately later. Your partner may not expect you to have decent cards, but he will not discount that possibility. I would not bid an immediate two no-trump with this holding, as it pre-empts partner’s description of his hand, though there is nothing wrong with doing that.

My hand was ♠ 9-7-4,  A-10-8-3-2,  J-6, ♣ Q-J-5. When my partner overcalled two clubs over a one-diamond opener, what was my best approach?

Bumblebee, Pleasanton, Calif.

Do not bid two hearts, which would overstate your suit and high-card strength. A simple raise to three clubs looks best to me, since you may still be able to get back to hearts if your partner has extras. A cue-bid raise to two diamonds would be ideal with a slightly better hand — maybe queen-third of spades would suffice here.

My partner and I disagree about a suit combination. How should you play a singleton facing K-Q-10-8-7-4 to maximize the number of tricks you can take?

By the Book, Hartford, Conn.

Compare the plans to lead up to either the 10 or queen, and follow up with a top card. The only way you can take five tricks is to lead to the 10 and find the suit 3-3 with the jack onside. Leading to the 10 loses a trick unnecessarily only when the jack is singleton or doubleton offside — and if your left-hand opponent is short, his partner probably has any missing honor.

At a duplicate event last week, I ran into a deal where each player had 11 cards either in the majors or the minors. Since each player was facing a misfit hand, nobody made a contract in either direction. Does that sort of thing happen often?

Loss Leader, Macon, Ga.

It is rare to score well for going down in a contract, but I do remember it happening. Once in a while, escaping a double may be the key; but on one occasion my opponents made a doubled contract for plus 180 and lost out to the field going minus 200 or more. They weren’t happy!

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