Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, May 22nd, 2020


jim2June 5th, 2020 at 10:59 am

In BWTA, I confess that I would raise hearts cheaply.

I fear declaring notrump with that hand.

North did NOT rebid 1N or 2N, hinting at shortness in at least one black suit. Also, my meager cards could be quite useful in hearts. That is, the QD and the ruffing value could help pard set up side tricks.

Bobby WolffJune 5th, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Hi Jim2,

No doubt, except for the perhaps crucial diamond queen, South’s hand does not look fit for a NT contract.

However, when holding only three small in partner’s 2nd suit methinks most players would decline to raise it, at least at this point.

IOW a 2NT rebid would certainly allow partner to rebid 3 hearts if holding 5-6 to which you would then raise, fulfilling the reason you were tempted to raise immediately.

Another disadvantage in raising immediately is that partner will expect 4 trumps, or at the very least three to a major honor, and while, and, of course, your hand evaluation has its merits, it might cause partner, who has an extra high card, to take us past our maximum make, (fie on that) but, s. Ax, H. AK10x, d. AK109xx, c. K by bidding past game.

IOW, the possible horrible hand (to which South is dealt) is better shown by now choosing 2NT rather than a raise, which indeed could over encourage partner to go off the rails.

In short, I agree to South producing an extra trick or so in hearts (with certain red suit holdings with North) but the overall message being just too optimistic we need to slow him down.

One way to do that is to simply pass, if, in fact it is permitted in a minority of a few top-level partnerships. With the hand above (in the old days) North would then rebid with a jump to 3 hearts, clearly then GF.

The old time reverse rule permitted it, to cater to just this sort of hand, so perhaps if your current partnership was formed perhaps 35+ years ago, that might be a good excuse (only if it works out) to which your partner would then agree, whether he thought 2H is forcing or not.

Of course, you being a virtual youngster on the bridge scene (under 80+ years) you may not remember that NF treatment of an original reverse by the opener, but, in fact, it did exist and BTW, perhaps sensibly so.

MirceaJune 5th, 2020 at 8:47 pm


If you agree with the auction presented in the column hand, how would you plan the play in 3NT?

On BWTA, I know you’re not going to agree with me but I think using Lebensohl here has some merit. Sure, a natural 2NT could be best but the artificial 2NT sends a very clear message about the weakness of the hand (by bidding 3H over the mandatory 3C response).

Bobby WolffJune 6th, 2020 at 1:19 am

Hi Mircea,

The answer to your first question is first and foremost, “under an assumed name”. Second, “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”, 10 of clubs and then, when it holds, the king of diamonds.

After I wake up when both cards hit paydirt, I will be close to pay dirt and looking forward to congratulating our partnership for arriving at this almost laydown contract.

Since you are in lockstep with many of the so-called top partnerships now formed I might not be wise to not agree with you. However, before I do, my vote is to play a quicker version of what you are suggesting by simply passing two hearts and hope partner is not going artificial with me and possessing fewer than 4 hearts for his reverse.

While trying not to be thought of as a partnership non-follower, there sometimes comes a time in the affairs of men when we need to do what we think has the better result possible, then follow our understanding and head for no man’s land.

However, before laying down the dummy, I would excuse myself for obvious reasons of not wanting to deal with partner’s likely face.

In any event, good luck to me!