ACES ON BRIDGE

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

DEAR MR. WOLFF: How should I play the trump suit of four small cards in dummy, fac­ing five cards to the A-J-9-4-2 in my hand for one loser? Should my pol­icy change if my RHO fol­lows with the 10 as op­posed to the eight on the first round?

— Num­ber Cruncher,

Hamilton, On­tario DEAR READER: If the eight ap­pears on your right, in ab­stract low to the ace guards against the sin­gle­ton hon­ors on your left, while los­ing to the sin­gle­ton 10 to your left. So it looks best. But if your RHO fol­lows with the 10 and would never play the 10 from honor-ten-eight, play the jack on the first round.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: Hold­ing K-7-5-2, K-2,

Q-10-7-4-3, A-K, would you open one-no-trump or one club? What are the rules for treat­ing 5-4 hands as bal­anced?

— Stum­bling Stan,

Detroit DEAR READER: I feel strongly that you should try to avoid open­ing one no-trump with 5-4 pat­tern and a five-card ma­jor, if you can. With five of a mi­nor and four spades, and ei­ther 15 or 17 points, I nor­mally up-value or down-value my hand out of a one no-trump opener and open the mi­nor, so I would hap­pily open one di­a­mond here. With the other pat­terns, I al­ways try to up­grade 17-counts out of the no-trump opener, but if my val­ues are in the dou­ble­tons, you might twist my arm into a no-trump open­ing bid.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: You re­cently ran a deal where one of your op­po­nents had shown a long di­a­mond suit and com­mented that “the chances of find­ing ei­ther ma­jor suit break­ing 3-3 seemed slim.” Isn’t there more than a 50 per­cent chance that one or both suits will break for you?

— In­dian Ink, Du­rango, Colo. DEAR READER: In ab­stract, this would be so, but on the ac­tual hand where I was writ­ing, your LHO had pre-empted to the three-level in clubs and had shown at least two cards in di­a­monds, pos­si­bly more. Now the chance that he had three cards in ei­ther of the two crit­i­cal suits be­comes far lower. But to go back to the orig­i­nal ques­tion: In ab­stract, were the long suit not in­di­cated, you would in­deed ex­pect a 3-3 break in one of two suits nearly 60 per­cent of the time.

DEAR MR. WOLFF:

In first po­si­tion, with no one vul­ner­a­ble, my RHO opened one club, and when I passed, the auc­tion ground to a stop. I held 7-2, KQ-10-6, A-8, A-10-6-5-4. Should I have over­called with one heart? My part­ner had a 3-3-4-3 11-count, and we could make three notrump, though de­feat­ing one club by three tricks scored well enough for us.

— Mona Lisa,

At­lanta DEAR READER: I would have acted with a one-heart over­call, even if this prom­ises five. My length in my op­po­nents’ suit is not en­tirely a neg­a­tive here, and if I don’t bid now, I may never be able to per­suade my part­ner that I have a de­cent hand and a good suit. I might over­call one heart over one di­a­mond also, and I sup­pose I might dou­ble one spade — though with­out too much en­thu­si­asm.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: Would you over­call, dou­ble or pass in third seat with A-J, J-9-4-3-2, Q-7-4, Q-6-4, af­ter hear­ing one club to your right? If you would pass, how much more would you need be­fore act­ing? — All Gall,

Hous­ton DEAR READER: This is not a one-heart over­call by any sane per­son’s val­u­a­tion. (That doesn’t mean ev­ery­one will pass, of course.) To over­call, you want to have a de­cent hand or a suit you want led. If we make the di­a­mond queen the heart queen with the same shape, you might yield to temp­ta­tion.

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