Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

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

Yesterday, my opponent held ♠ —,  Q-10-7-6-4-2,  9-7-2, ♣ Q-10-8-3. At unfavorable vulnerability, he heard his right-hand opponent open one spade. He passed, and his left-hand opponent raised to two spades, back to him. Would you act? The player in question bid three hearts and was raised to four, making five!

Bowled Over, Spartanburg, S.C..

I would probably pass, albeit unhappily. At these colors when partner is known to hold spade length, the real risk is that your side will end up defending against a doubled (and making) spade contract. Certainly, bidding hearts is better than doubling two spades, because partner rates to pass a double, expecting much more defense from you.

How far forcing should one play the sequence of opening two clubs and bidding two spades over a waiting two-diamond response?

Bygone Age, Great Falls, Mont.

I play this as forcing for one round, but not to game. After a second negative response (a bid of three clubs over two spades), repeating opener’s suit is non-forcing. For the sake of completeness: After a strong and artificial two-club opening, opener’s rebid of two no-trump after a negative two-diamond call shows 23-24 balanced, non-forcing.

When you have a hand like ♠ K-4,  J-9-2,  A-7, ♣ Q-10-9-8-4-3 and hear a suit bid opened to your right, would you make a jump overcall, as opposed to a two-level overcall? Would the vulnerability matter?

In the Action, Flagstaff, Ariz.

When vulnerable, I prefer my jump overcalls to be closer to intermediate than weak (so I’d need the club king instead of the three in this example). Nonvulnerable, I’d be concerned this hand had too much defense for a pre-empt. I’d settle for a simple overcall at any vulnerability, except perhaps in third seat nonvulnerable.

I picked up ♠ K-10-8-2,  8-6-5,  J-9, ♣ A-J-8-7 on my most recent jaunt to the local club. With no one vulnerable, my left-hand opponent opened one club, my partner overcalled one heart and my right-hand opponent bid two diamonds. I raised to two hearts, and my left-hand opponent competed to three diamonds, passed around to me. I bid again, but got doubled and went two down for a bottom. Was I wrong to act again?

I Fought the Law, Lakeland, Fla.

It is rarely right to over-compete with a balanced hand, especially with poor trumps and a doubleton in the opponents’ suit. I would definitely not bid three hearts here. Give yourself a singleton diamond (or a fourth trump), and now competing with three trump and a decent hand is certainly not unreasonable.

One of my opponents held ♠ Q-J-7-5,  A-10-9-6-4,  9-4, ♣ Q-7. He heard his partner open one diamond, and he bid one heart, then passed the one-no-trump rebid. They missed their 4-4 spade fit when declarer was 4=2=4=3 and could not make one no-trump. What went wrong?

Came in Spades, Danville, Ill.

Some players avoid rebidding their spades with a balanced hand and 4-4 pattern. To me, though, this seems sufficiently shapely to rebid at a suit — unless all your values are in your short suits. Responder might have been reluctant to repeat his hearts, but his good heart spots might point toward the suit rebid.

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TedJanuary 12th, 2020 at 7:47 pm

Hi Bobby,

Playing MP, in 4th seat both NV I held

AQJ10 3 QJ9875 86

What would you do?

I opened 1D and wound up playing 2S, making exactly, but I’m not sure if I got lucky or if it was right to open.

Thanks (and a very belated Happy New Year),


Bobby WolffJanuary 14th, 2020 at 8:25 pm

Hi Ted,

And a happy New Year back at you since it has already improved, because of hearing from you.

My answer to your question is neither yes nor no, but instead “maybe”.

Your result suggests that it is right, but my feeling is close to 50-50. However, although it is an admission against interest, it would depend on who the opponents are, if aggressive I would not, but if non-aggressive
then yes.

However, another slam at myself, I would open 3 diamonds, to ward off the evil spirits of tte
opponents getting active and instead competing, perhaps in hearts, but because of the no doubt, average strength around the table, it looks like better than even money I would be a favorite to make 9 tricks in diamonds.

Especially at matchpoints, where a plus score on this hand looks to auger well for a good board.

However depending on what my result would have been (you are not required to inform me)
but I should not be concerned with partner bidding further and hope the level will keep even aggressive opponents to be heard.

I apologize for the time lag in responding, but I do not often scan the archives for all comers.