ACES ON BRIDGE

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - PROFILES - If you would like to con­tact Bobby Wolff, email him at bob­by­wolff@mind­spring.com

DEAR MR. WOLFF:

I saw a let­ter from an old­school rub­ber player ask­ing you what re­spon­der’s cue­bid means when his part­ner opened the bid­ding and the next hand over­called. Does a cue-bid al­ways show sup­port, even in a mi­nor?

— Fum­bling Florence,

Trenton, N.J. DEAR READER: In a mi­nor, the sup­port may be some­what lim­ited, but since you didn’t bid the other mi­nor or dou­ble, you al­ways have at least three trumps. For ex­am­ple, af­ter a one-di­a­mond opener from your part­ner and a one-heart over­call, what would you bid with 3-4-3-3 pat­tern and four small hearts?

DEAR MR. WOLFF: Af­ter an un­suc­cess­ful game, my part­ner sug­gested that, in pairs, a player who had balanced the op­po­nents into game should prob­a­bly dou­ble. His logic was that you were al­ready on a ter­ri­ble board if game was go­ing to make. What is your take on this?

— Chas­ing the Rain­bow,

Doylestown, Pa. DEAR READER: Some­times your op­po­nents reach a nor­mal game in an odd fash­ion — and you were go­ing to get an av­er­age if you had not dou­bled. There is, how­ever, a time to dou­ble — and that is when you fig­ure your con­tract was go­ing to make (for 140 or 130, say) and thus you need to dou­ble to make sure your plus score ex­ceeds that num­ber.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: One of my op­po­nents held a min­i­mum opener: ♠ J-7-3,

♥ A-Q-9-7-4, ♦♣2, A-Q9-4. He bid one heart and heard his part­ner re­spond two di­a­monds, which they played as forc­ing to game. What are the mer­its of a two-heart, two-no-trump or three-club re­bid?

— Sec­ond Chance,

Sioux Falls, S.D. DEAR READER: There is a huge dis­agree­ment on what should be a sim­ple ques­tion. For me, three clubs sug­gests real ex­tra strength or high cards, two no-trump sug­gests, but does not ab­so­lutely guar­an­tee, a stop­per in the un­bid suits, and a two-heart re­bid sug­gests six or a de­cent five­card suit. All three calls are rea­son­able here, but I’d lean to­ward the two-heart call since it is the most eco­nom­i­cal. Give me the king­jack of clubs in­stead of the queen, and I might bid three clubs.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: The ru­mors from chess sug­gest that elec­tronic de­vices and com­put­ers are be­ing used il­le­gally in that sport. Are play­ers cur­rently per­mit­ted to bring cell­phones and other de­vices into bridge events?

— Lud­dite, Belle­vue, Wash. DEAR READER: The Amer­i­can Con­tract Bridge League re­cently ex­per­i­mented with a ban on cell­phones, but re­lented and now al­lows you to bring them in if you do not have them turned on. I might ban cell­phones al­to­gether if I had my way, but I am not yet master of the universe.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: One of my op­po­nents re­cently dropped a card out of his hand onto the ta­ble, and the tour­na­ment di­rec­tor ex­plained that this was only a mi­nor penalty card, not a ma­jor penalty card. He was si­mul­ta­ne­ously play­ing two cards from the same suit, if that is of any help in ex­plain­ing the rul­ing.

— Mud­dle in the Mid­dle,

Eau Claire, Wis. DEAR READER: A mi­nor penalty card is that one arises when two cards in the same suit are played si­mul­ta­ne­ously, and the ex­posed card is a small one. This ba­si­cally gives rise to no penalty ei­ther for the player or his part­ner, but the of­fender must play the ex­posed card be­fore any other small card in that suit. If the of­fend­ing card is the spade three, you can there­fore dis­card or play a spade honor be­fore the three, but you can­not dis­card or play the spade two.

BOBBY WOLFF

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