ACES ON BRIDGE

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - PROFILES - If you would like to con­tact Bobby Wolff, email him at

DEAR MR. WOLFF: From the Richard­son sec­tional with nei­ther side vul­ner­a­ble, I held ♠—-, ♥ K-Q7-6-5-3, ♦ 10, ♣ A-10-9-7-3-2, and over­called one heart over one club. Now came one spade to my left and a dou­ble from my part­ner (just show­ing a good hand and sug­gest­ing di­a­monds). What would you do now af­ter my RHO raises spades? — Shrink­ing Vi­o­let,

Water­bury, Conn. DEAR READER: Af­ter the dou­ble, I think all bids in clubs should be nat­u­ral. I think even though my LHO has shown clubs, I must do the same. I would jump to three clubs, sug­gest­ing clubs and hearts. With six­five, come alive; with sixsix, I want to end up declar­ing the hand.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: Hold­ing ♠ 10-9-7-5-3, ♥ K-97-4, ♦ J-5-3-2, ♣ — af­ter you hear part­ner open two notrump, how would you best de­scribe your hand?

— Thyme Well Spent,

Honolulu DEAR READER: Start­ing with Stay­man and bid­ding game over a re­sponse of three hearts or three spades looks easy enough. Over a call of three di­a­monds, the best treat­ment is a com­mon one over a one-no-trump opener. Here you can bid three hearts to show four hearts plus five spades, and game forc­ing val­ues. This is known as Smolen, and the logic of play­ing this way is to get the strong hand as de­clarer if you have a 5-3 fit.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: We had an auc­tion where I had a strong hand with five clubs, three hearts and four spades. I opened one club, heard my part­ner bid one spade, and a two-di­a­mond over­call. I dou­bled to show three spades, and my part­ner passed, with­out alert­ing. What are my eth­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties about in­form­ing the op­po­nents?

— Stuck in the Mud,

Sacramento DEAR READER: The fail­ure to alert shouldn’t af­fect you dur­ing the bid­ding; just as­sume your part­ner did alert it. But since your op­po­nents may have been mis­in­formed by the fail­ure to alert, they may be due some rec­om­pense. Be care­ful though. If you end up on de­fense, don’t alert them un­til the end of the play, rather than the end of the auc­tion.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: Hold­ing ♠ Q-10-8, ♥ K-Q-107-2, ♦ J-4, ♣ Q-8-5, I heard my part­ner open and re­bid di­a­monds over my one­heart re­sponse. Can I now re­bid hearts, clearly in­di­cat­ing that I have five of them, not four? Af­ter all, part­ner could have three hearts, and given that we were play­ing match­points, hearts might outscore di­a­monds — even fac­ing a dou­ble­ton.

— Mak­ing a Match,

Jack­son, Miss. DEAR READER: A call of two hearts might work, I agree. But note that I might raise as opener with three trumps on my sec­ond turn, even with a 6-3 pat­tern, un­less my hearts were weak. In that con­text, re­peat­ing the heart suit be­comes less at­trac­tive. Typ­i­cally, a call of two hearts here would show six, or five very good cards, and is not re­ally an in­vi­ta­tion. It tends to de­liver mildly con­struc­tive val­ues, though even that would be less clear if your part­ner had bid a sec­ond suit as op­posed to re­bid­ding his own suit.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: I play that Ger­ber four clubs only ap­plies to a jump af­ter a one- or two-no-trump open­ing or re­bid, with the ex­cep­tion be­ing in a Stay­man se­quence over one notrump where you find a fit. Is this passe?

— Ace of Base, Cor­pus Christi, Texas DEAR READER: Your ex­pla­na­tion of when you play Ger­ber makes ex­cel­lent sense. You can vary, to add or sub­tract from the se­quences you sug­gest, but I say stick with what you have. Never use it un­less it is a jump and no-trump has just been bid. A lit­tle Ger­ber goes a re­mark­ably long way.

BOBBY WOLFF

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