ACES ON BRIDGE
DEAR MR. WOLFF:
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,
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 bridgeblogging.com, 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 bridgebase.com.
DEAR MR. WOLFF:
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.