ACES ON BRIDGE

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

DEAR MR. WOLFF: Please clar­ify what hap­pens if South is in a two-heart con­tract and East re­vokes by trump­ing when he could have fol­lowed suit, thus in­cur­ring a two-trick penalty. North-South there­fore make two hearts with two over­tricks. Should the two penalty tricks be added to the game tricks, or will they be bonus points above the line?

— Ice Berg, Kelowna,

Bri­tish Columbia DEAR READER: Re­mem­ber, the re­voke laws have changed so that it is only two tricks (as op­posed to one) if the of­fend­ing side wins two tricks on or af­ter the re­voke trick. In ad­di­tion, they must ei­ther win the re­voke trick with the re­voke, or the re­voker must win a sub­se­quent trick with a card he could have played on the re­voke trick. Such over­tricks go above the line. What goes be­low is al­ways the con­tract — be it un­dou­bled, dou­bled or re­dou­bled — but noth­ing else.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: Af­ter my LHO opened the bid­ding one di­a­mond, mark­ing him with most of the out­stand­ing high cards, I de­clared two spades with two small trumps fac­ing a five­card suit headed by A-Q-J-9. I ruffed once in dummy and now had to make a trump play. Should I lead to the nine, jack or ace?

— Bobby Shafto, East

Or­ange, N.J. DEAR READER: As­sum­ing the king is to our left, we should com­pare LHO hold­ing king-dou­ble­ton (when low to the nine is right) against his hold­ing king-10 in a two- or three­card suit, when the suit should be played from the top. I make it a slight edge to play from the top — but it is close.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: Hold­ing ; K-10-2, k K, l A-J-8-7-5-3, ♣ A-Q-3, I opened one di­a­mond and jumped to three di­a­monds over my part­ner’s one-heart re­sponse. My part­ner had six hearts to the ace-jack, plus three good di­a­monds to the king-queen. The field played three no-trump here, but six di­a­monds would have been easy. How should we get to slam here?

— Mon­key’s Paw,

Madi­son, Wis. DEAR READER: Your hand is cer­tainly full value for a jump in di­a­monds, though you would try to avoid mak­ing the call on such a weak suit. I might con­sider a re­bid of two no-trump (or even in­vent a spade suit). That cer­tainly won’t help you reach slam to­day, though. Some hands are just too dif­fi­cult.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: Hold­ing ; A-Q-3, k K-2, l A-J-2, ♣ K-10-9-8-3, is it right to over­call one di­a­mond with a call of one no-trump, or would you con­sider the hand too strong for that ac­tion? Does the vul­ner­a­bil­ity or whether we are play­ing pairs or teams make a dif­fer­ence?

— Grape Pip, New­port

News, Va. DEAR READER: I’m not a fan of dou­bling as op­posed to over­call­ing one no-trump if the lat­ter is a prac­ti­cal al­ter­na­tive. Here, dou­bling might lead part­ner to do too much in the ma­jors. The point about miss­ing game is not the pri­mary con­cern, since part­ner tends (not al­ways cor­rectly) to as­sume we have a good strong no-trump when we make the over­call, so he will be in­clined to try for game if he can.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: Could you clar­ify what you mean by an up­side-down sig­nal? I didn’t re­al­ize you could throw a card up­side down. — Wid­der­shins,

Mitchell, S.D. DEAR READER: When play­ers re­fer to re­verse or “up­side-down” dis­cards or sig­nals, what they mean is that the mean­ing of the sig­nal is re­versed rather than the card it­self. It has been tra­di­tional in the U.S. to at­tach an en­cour­ag­ing mean­ing to high cards, though oc­ca­sion­ally a high card shows an even num­ber. In many other coun­tries, low cards are used to con­vey en­cour­age­ment. You may give what­ever mean­ing you like to your card­ing — but you must dis­close it on your con­ven­tion cards or if asked.

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