Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, May 28th, 2020


Bruce karlsonJune 11th, 2020 at 9:26 am

I thought a one level raise of a 2 opener was to annoy the opps; that bidder should either bid game or be silent. As an aside, how does one best play a New suit over two level preempt? If non forcing, one must alert, suggesting that it “should” be forcing. ??

Iain ClimieJune 11th, 2020 at 2:44 pm

HI Bruce,

I think it is most sensible to play it as a one round force as it will be rare that a weak hand will want to fight over where to play. The opponents are also likely to bid with 2 decent hands. Having said that, like bluff uses of the 2NT, misleading use of the bid is always an option.



Bobby WolffJune 11th, 2020 at 6:08 pm

Hi Bruce & Iain,

First, Bruce, my thoughts on your queries:

1. Yes, a simple raise of partner’s weak two opening is not invitational, but as you colorfully explain, to usually just annoy the opponents.

2. However, since all WTBs do not always look the same, eg. s. KQ10xxx, h. x, d. QJxxx, c. x, after partner has voluntarily (or even in competition) raised spades, it, at least to me, is right to continue on, especially if the opponents have already entered the bidding, joining the battle, allowing the original WTB to need only two key cards, any ace plus the king of diamonds to be relatively cold or almost, for success. The closest intelligent well known phrase might be, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” which often should rule, when holding promising distribution in a competitive auction.

3. Although certainly not anywhere near a universal choice, in the matter of a weak two bid (spades and hearts) I like to play the only change of suit forces are 3 spades over 2 hearts and, 3 hearts over 2 spades, with the latter example catering to the 3 heart bidder holding a 2 suiter but only, at this point, able to bid one of them. The other changes of suit are more preemptive than they are constructive and might alert partner what to lead, should the opponents outbid us or, of course, when having a fit to then, and of course, raise for multiple reasons.

Also, I am more particular than many, I do like the McCabe convention wherein if partner opens a weak 2 bid and my RHO then doubles (for TO) a suit bid by me asks partner to return to his suit, if his RHO doesn’t bid, but leads my suit, if he winds up on lead, IOW, while holding. s Jxx, h. xxx, d. AQJ, c. xxxx I would bid 3 diamonds if partner opened a WTB and my RHO doubled.

The above loses very little and offers a valid upside should we then become defenders with my LHO declarer.

If your partnership also plays 2 diamonds as a WTB, McCabe is still reasonable to play, but usually not quite as effective since a long major suit is sometimes more effective to bid it to play, rather than to direct a lead.

Finally McCabe definitely needs to be alerted, but whether to alert forcing or not to any natural bid is probably IMO, more ethical not to alert since in a casual partnership, voluntarily alerting is more likely to help the partnership doing the alerting, than the opponents, and, of course, if an opponent would like to know (before the opening lead or immediately) he can, and should, always ask.

However, since the ACBL (more likely than the WBF) tends to change the rules more often, it may require asking the TD whether or not it is mandatory to alert or not, but to repeat, I think not.

And to Iain, yes, especially the psychic use of 2NT forcing (with a poor hand) changes most all discipline which helps me to advise, if done often (perhaps 1/3+ of the time) , to then alert that contingency to the entitled opponents, no doubt a party pooping procedure to a rabid rousing rascal.