Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, November 10th, 2020


Michael BeyroutiNovember 24th, 2020 at 1:28 pm

Hi Mr Wolff,
this is the first time I see the term : “trading ruffs”.
Wasn’t this move simply a loser on loser play?

jim2November 24th, 2020 at 1:35 pm

I am generally reluctant to open 2C with hands like the one in the column where the second suit is clubs. For example, what should South bid if North’s second response were 3C?

Bobby WolffNovember 24th, 2020 at 3:36 pm

Hi Michael,

Or should I address you as “Mike”. similar to your on point comment.

Yes, declarer’s suggested play would, (probably should) be simply called a “loser on loser” play, an analogous term more familiar with bridge description, but, if only for original usage “trading ruffs” might sound more”sexy”.

Thanks for writing, good to hear from you, we miss you, and all of our regulars would like to hear from you more often, four ways to share your wisdom with us, instead of just two.

Bobby WolffNovember 24th, 2020 at 4:22 pm

Hi Jim2,

If 3C by responder is artificial and a double negative on the 2nd round, instead of playing an original response of 2H by partner as such, I can well understand your reluctance to open with 2C (strong) while holding a two suiter with clubs as one suit.

The reason, of course to which you refer,, is simply then having to deal with the strong hand either showing a second sound five card suit, but, at the same time flying past 3NT, possibly the last game contract which may succeed.

Yes, sometimes even then, a partnership needs to make a difficult choice next round, but my advice is to open the hand today with a forcing bid.

My then preference is to change the double negative (two or fewer points and balanced) to only one immediate bid, 2H.

The strong hand above, togetherness of honors, all four aces and two suits to choose from with 21 hcps is just, for my taste, too good to chance partner passing a one bid, to which I subscribe doing rather than cheat one hcp or two as a favor to partner and go to extremes to keep the bidding open.

No doubt, the above problem needs to be discussed by both partners in any relatively new partnership and then, of course, be consistently applied at the table.

However. when, and if, the problem of TOCM TM arises, better to stop bridge discussion and turn to either talking about what topical sport is featured on TV that day or which of the next number of years the world will finally rid itself of the pandemic.

jim2November 24th, 2020 at 7:09 pm

You are the expert and World Champion and I am neither, so anyone reading on should weight matters accordingly.

With that disclaimer typed, if I do not have a good bid after a double negative 3C then I don’t open 2C. In this hand, that translates to, “1S is likely a better contract than wherever we finally land after partner bids 3C.” (Every partnership I have been in, and maybe even all I have ever played against, use 3C as the double negative if 2C is the artificial opening strong bid)

If I have enough strength to be in 3N facing a double negative, a suit worth rebidding, or a suit above 3C, then no problem. The same logic would seem to apply to whatever the double negative bid might be.

In this hand, do I respond 3N, knowing I might face less than a pair of pointed jacks and at most a doubleton heart after a pointed suit lead? We have 21 + maybe 2 HCPs, 5 quick tricks, and little hope of Board entries, with the near certainty of our only spade/diamond stopper being knocked out on the opening lead. If one is happy to be in that 3N, then opening 2C is fine. With TOCM ™, I am not.

Do I rebid 3H, knowing I am about to play there facing partner’s short hearts and opponents’ spade forces leading to likely loss of trump control?

If pard cannot scrape up 1S or 1N after my 1H opening bid to which I can then respond 3C, then maybe 1H is our best practical contract.