Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, June 21st, 2020


AviJuly 5th, 2020 at 12:05 pm

Hi Bobby

At favorable vulnerability I passed in second seat holding 52, AJ, KT974, K983.
LHO opened the bidding third seat with 1S, pass from partner, and raise to 2S from RHO.
Would you enter the auction now? Or do you resereve a 2nt intervention strictly to 5-5 hands?


Bobby WolffJuly 5th, 2020 at 2:47 pm

Hi Avi,

Actually, while in 2nd seat and at favorable vulnerability (NV vs. V) I would definitely open one diamond. 5-4-2-2 distributions are at least one step up in playing strength, particularly so when both of your long suits, although minors, have good interior spot cards.

If, because perhaps partner preferred slightly stronger opening one bids in the first and second seat, I did first pass, I would certainly now bid 2NT (showing length in both minors, since I have already denied the strength for an opening bid and therefore would not have a NT bid conforming to normal NT strength. Also, if instead I had support for all three unbid suits (e.g. at least holding 3 hearts) I, instead of bidding 2NT, would certainly now make a TO double instead of passing, assuming I didn’t open the bidding earlier.

The key to preferring the above is that, believe it or not, it is just too DANGEROUS to pass (rather than to bid) since allowing opponents a free ride (without competition) during the bidding may (will) allow them to steal many hands on which your side could make something (particularly when you have two suits+) rather than only one, to find a home of an 8 card+ fit.

Even when nothing much comes from finding a fit, low level penalty doubles by opponents (at the 3 level and lower) are rare and should be (especially when neither player has a trump stack) since a doubled make by your side is a huge loss for them since you will receive the game bonus.

Also never underestimate the advantage of, at the least (or almost), pushing the opponents one level higher than they prefer going, often causing them down one, wherein otherwise they will be scoring a plus score, an advantage your side should always be trying to deny them.

Of course, that does not always work exactly like you want, but when you should also then get a more favorable lead, once the opponents do outbid you in their best major suit, your partner will then usually choose a more advantageous lead for your side, soon as he knows what your suit or suits may be.

IOW, no, being aggressive does NOT always work, but bridge is definitely a percentage game and your hand qualifies as good enough to come into the bidding, once the level hasn’t been raised too high.

There is much to be said for opening the bidding in second seat, rather than make, as you did, a slightly wimpy pass. Still another reason for aggressiveness is that declaring (seeing all 26 of one’s assets) is better than defending (seeing only 13), thus allowing for your side to again be slightly advantaged rather than not.


AviJuly 7th, 2020 at 12:21 pm

Thanks for the detailed response.