Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, September 29th, 2019

I picked up ♠ 8-2,  10-3,  Q-J-10-9-7-5-3-2, ♣ 3 and opened three diamonds as dealer at game all. Partner bid three no-trump. I did not like the look of that, but I did not feel I could remove it. We went down 300 when four diamonds was making and they had no game. What would you have done?

Broken Reed, Jackson, Tenn.

When you open with a pre-empt, you are not expected to act again unless partner makes a forcing bid. Having decided to pre-empt in the first place, which I would have done, you cannot override partner. Who knows, three no-trump might even be making because partner, who cannot expect you to have anything outside diamonds, often produces good diamond support for three no-trump.

Holding ♠ A-K-4,  A-10-3-2,  A-Q-6, ♣ K-7-4, I opened two no-trump with no one vulnerable. My left-hand-opponent overcalled four clubs, and partner doubled. What is this double? What would you do with my hand?

On the Spot, Bellevue, Wash.

I play that all doubles of three-level intervention are for take-out. With a penalty double, I pass and hope partner can reopen, or just bid three no-trump. At the four-level, since opener may not balance with a double, responder must double with many strong hands. I’d sit for the double here, given these aces and kings. That is a small loss against a major-suit game we may not even make if suits do not break.

My partner and I play Landy over a no-trump opening. We had a misunderstanding when I overcalled two clubs for the majors and my left-hand-opponent doubled, showing values. Partner bid two diamonds. How do you play this?

Spats and Spots, Portland, Ore.

The most common agreement is for two diamonds to be natural. To ask partner for a preference between the majors, you can redouble. Pass would show clubs, prepared to play in two clubs doubled. Rule No. 1 in these auctions: Redouble is always for rescue!

I recently played against a pair who were using attitude leads. What are these? Do you recommend them?

Alexander Pope, Rutland, Vermont

Playing attitude leads, the smaller the card led to a trick, the better the holding. You’d lead the high card from three-small, a middle card from jack to five and a small card from a good suit. Many pairs use them in the middle of the hand to direct the defensive attack, while some also use them on opening lead to no-trump contracts. There are certainly pluses to the approach, but the inferences regarding count are no longer present.

Say you are in fourth chair after hearing, for example, one diamond to your left and one no-trump to your right. Does it make more sense to use the suit named by your opponents as artificial as opposed to natural? Is there anything else that you would recommend?

White Oleander, Tunica, Miss.

I suggest that when the opponents open a major and respond one no-trump, everything is basically natural. Double is take-out, a cue-bid is Michaels and two no-trump is the minors. After they open a minor, you can, should you wish, play both two clubs and two diamonds as majors (5-4 and 5-5 respectively), with everything else parallel to the earlier sequence.

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