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


I held ♠ Q-J, ♥ A-10-7-5-4,

♦ A-Q-9-4, ♣ 10-8 and re­sponded one heart to my part­ner’s one-club opener. Af­ter a one-spade over­call, I bal­anced with two di­a­monds and heard two spades to my left, passed back to me. Do you like a call of two no-trump now? This was not a suc­cess, los­ing the first six spade tricks. Dou­ble was the win­ning call, since care­ful de­fense beats that con­tract by one trick.

— RuPaul, U.C. Davis, Calif. DEAR READER: With­out sound­ing un­duly neg­a­tive, it is im­por­tant to un­der­stand that your two-di­a­mond call fun­da­men­tally mis­rep­re­sented your hand. That call is nat­u­ral but non-forc­ing; it might eas­ily be 4-5 in the reds. Al­most any good hand starts with a cue-bid, or in this case a dou­ble for take­out. Now, af­ter two spades comes back to you, you can dou­ble again, plan­ning to raise no-trump or bid three di­a­monds over three clubs. A sec­ond dou­ble is not penalty, just a good hand with ex­tras.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: My part­ner opened one club and heard me re­spond one heart, over which she jumped to three hearts. I bid Key-card Black­wood and fol­lowed up with five notrump over her five-spade re­sponse, which showed two key-cards and the trump queen. What would you do now with her hand, hold­ing ♠ 7-3, ♥ Q-5-4-3, ♦ A-5, ♣ A-K-Q-8-4?

— Peter Peck, Grand Junc­tion, Colo. DEAR READER: De­spite hold­ing a min­i­mum, you must bid seven hearts. Your source of tricks should mean that part­ner will be able to de­velop the clubs to take care of his spade or di­a­mond losers. With the same hand, but the spade queen in­stead of club queen, I would just bid six clubs, show­ing my spe­cific king.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: With ♠ K-Q-9-8, ♥ Q,

♦ A-Q-4, ♣ A-7-5-4-2, I would be in­ter­ested to hear your opin­ion about whether to bid game, splin­ter or bid three spades af­ter open­ing one club and hear­ing part­ner re­spond one spade in an un­con­tested auc­tion. Would it mat­ter if part­ner were a passed hand? In re­sponse to a jump to three spades, would you bid game with ace-fifth of spades and queen-third of clubs?

— Zig-Zag Zelda,

Boise, Idaho

DEAR READER: Fac­ing a passed hand, I would just bid four spades and not worry about slam. I don’t think the hand is worth a splin­ter, whether part­ner is a passed hand or not. (If the heart queen were the club queen, you’d be full value for the jump to four hearts.) You could sell me on a four-spade bid fac­ing an un­passed hand, but it is close to a three-spade bid. And yes, part­ner should raise three spades to four, fac­ing likely club length. He has two work­ing hon­ors and five trumps.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: What is the best place to read bridge hands on­line? I’m in­ter­ested not only in bridge col­umns, but a gen­eral dis­cus­sion of news and views. — Storm Chaser,

Lake­land, Fla. DEAR READER: My col­umn can be found at bridge­blog­, where it runs two weeks af­ter it ap­pears in the papers. But if you want news and views, try bridgewin­ners. com. To fol­low live bridge at the top level, go to bridge­


I just played on­line with a part­ner who said Michaels was off with in­ter­fer­ence. If you de­fine “in­ter­fer­ence” as the op­po­nents be­ing in the bid­ding, then surely you can’t have Michaels with­out in­ter­fer­ence?

— Mikey Likes It,

Danville, Ill. DEAR READER: To clar­ify when you can use a Michaels cue-bid: It ap­plies in sec­ond (and in some cases, the fourth) seat. Af­ter the op­po­nents open, a di­rect cue-bid shows a two-suiter. Af­ter they open and re­spond in a new suit, it is cus­tom­ary in North Amer­ica to play that bid­ding ei­ther op­po­nent’s suit is nat­u­ral. How­ever, play Michaels af­ter the op­po­nents open one of a suit and re­spond one no-trump. If you pass and later bid an op­po­nent’s suit, fac­ing a pass­ing part­ner, it is nat­u­ral.


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