Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, April 26th, 2020


Bill CubleyMay 10th, 2020 at 2:58 pm

Bobby, Pam in Honolulu has good bidding instincts. Openers at the 2 level take away lots of bidding room. Showing a game plus hand with a major suit helps. Bidding 2C – 2S, 2NT, 3S or even 3 any keeps the bidding alive with room to stop at game or explore slam.It is wrong to automatically bid showing no strength or shape.

Happy Mothers Day to Judy.

Iain ClimieMay 10th, 2020 at 4:41 pm

HI Bill,

Totally agree with you. If you as responder bid 2D then 2S after opener opens 2C and rebids 2H when you hold Jxxxx x 10xx xxx or AKJxxx x Jxx xxx how can you ever catch up with the latter hand? Yet I know players who dogmatically want to bid 2D on both.



bobbywolffMay 10th, 2020 at 4:46 pm

Hi Bill,

First, thanks to you for remembering what I sadly am likely to forget, starting today badly (at least not goodly) and by a yard, exactly three times worse, per se than only just a foot (in my mouth). I’ll relay your message.

Totally agree with you about Honolulu Pam and her bidding instincts, since a very strong hand (partner) will be much better placed to discover immediately that you can provide positive values opposite his blockbuster, limiting his losers. AKxxx in any suit will almost always provide positive tricks, regardless of what suit or NT winds up trump. Different than QJ9xxx which often, opposite a GF bid (particularly a distributional hand) when partner is short (a not unlikely eventuality).

IOW, call AKxxx transferable values but QJ10xx and other queens and jacks somewhat questionable, (at least at this early moment).

Again thanks for your thoughts and, of course, the best to your charming wife and family.

bobbywolffMay 10th, 2020 at 5:05 pm

Hi Iain,

With both of us totally agreeing with Bill, neither of us will have enough left over to say much.

While now sadly detecting some clapping in the background (possibly only my inferiority complex at work), I, while echoing your views would not need AKJxxx but rather perhaps only KQ10xx and another high card to go positive in that suit from the get go.

No doubt, when responding to a very strong opener, there can be artificial methods which tend to work well on many hands (specific holdings and such), but in the absence of having enough time to devote to our beloved game, we stand firmly together with Bill to begin the positives immediately rather than sneaking up. Once in a while (not terribly often we all understand) our OX will lead us to the promised land, but only if we do our share to send him (or her) on the way.

ClarksburgMay 10th, 2020 at 7:09 pm

Hello Bobby
Re Fetch-the -Axe’s question about Redouble:
Many long-experienced stronger players at our local Clubs play the Redouble as showing just the strength , with or without trump support.
I prefer to differentiate: Redouble is defensive-oriented with no more than doubleton support; with trump support use something like Jordan, Bergen’s BROMAD etc.; both revealing more to opponents of course.
What do you prefer / recommend?

bobbywolffMay 10th, 2020 at 11:12 pm

Hi Clarksburg,

While your question is a good one, the answer to it, will not move mountains nor often determine the final contract.

IOW, while your stricture against having trump support to not immediately redouble, I prefer, to not endorse that restriction, particularly so if my partner has opened in a minor suit, but also including when he is opening in a major.

If partner opens a minor suit I, regardless of my support for that suit, will want to redouble, establishing to partner immediately that we will together outnumber our opponents in high cards, with that information secure for the rest of the bidding.

However, even if partner has opened in a major, 1 spade, and I hold: s. KJx, a. Axxxx, d. Axxx, c. x I would redouble and await developments later, intending to arrive at least at game, but also, depending on the auction to convince partner that with the right fit, slam may easily be good or even cold.

To not do so is, at least to me, misleading to my other half when I then instead show great support or, depending on our exact bidding structure show support with short clubs. My experience with the practical side of the game, reminds me that partner will not forget his LHO’s initial double and possibly be more conservative than he might be if instead, I do not begin with a redouble.

As already noted, your method is not necessarily incorrect nor unjustified, only somewhat off target in what I want to get across to partner ASAP.

From here we could get into an endless discussion of one hand after another, but I do not think it is necessary since, if your partnership plays it like I suggest, your side will still be able to exchange basically the same information although and, of course, the entire bidding sequence figures to be quite different but who is to say which one will work out best.

In any event, when faced with a choice I prefer to inform partner which side has the strength and do not want him or her to be in any doubt as early as possible. IOW I prefer to show real strength immediately rather than have partner think I just have routine support and less than slam type controls outside.

At least to me, my failure to redouble will help wily opponents in making an intelligent later decision more than it will help partner if we play the way you have preferred, but, referring to the opening paragraph, it is unlikely to make much difference in the long run.

Sometimes, especially with unfavorable vulnerability the opponents can get together in a lone combined long suit of their own and take massive bidding room away from our side, before partner will know that we were as strong as a redouble may be and then a slam try (if so decided).

bobbywolffMay 11th, 2020 at 7:22 pm

Hi again Clarksburg,

Hopefully I am presenting the following bridge conundrum for positive purposes rather than argumentative:

N. E. S. W
1 spade Dbl 4 clubs? as against:

1 spade Dbl redbl. Pass
Pass 2 diamonds 4 clubs?

Would not North be more comfortable that the second sequence showed a spade fit, short
clubs and slam interest, instead of s. x, h. Kxx, d. x c. KQJxxxxx? Of course your method would also indicate the same, but what if that
special treatment of the meaning of redbl. had not been discussed recently?

ClarksburgMay 11th, 2020 at 10:53 pm

Thanks for revisiting this.
I may not have made my initial question sufficiently clear. yesterday. With focus on Major-suit opening, my intent was to differentiate between two hands that were both strong enough to “own the hand”, one with trump support and one without. So Redouble would say “I have a defensive hand shape” and Jordan / Truscott would say “I have trump support”.
Of course with sufficient extra I would have to start with redouble.

bobbywolffMay 11th, 2020 at 11:53 pm

Hi Clarksburg,

Call it a simple tie, depending on what that partnership preferred. Both have their pluses and minuses, with not much to choose for or against.