ACES ON BRIDGE

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

DEAR MR. WOLFF: You re­cently com­mented about the con­di­tions to open one no-trump. This hand be­low came up in a lo­cal game this week. Play­ing five-card ma­jors and strong no-trump, would you open one no-trump with ♠ A-J,

♥ A-Q-10-9, ♦ A-4, ♣ 9-6-54-3? Would open­ing a suit and re­bid­ding one no-trump be a sig­nif­i­cant un­der­bid? — Play­ing House,

Tor­rance, Calif. DEAR READER: This hand looks like a bal­anced hand, not an un­bal­anced one, be­cause the mi­nor is so weak I don’t want to em­pha­size it. It is not strong enough to open one club and re­spond two hearts over one spade, so I would have to re­bid one no-trump. I’d opt for the suit open­ing bid with ace-fifth of clubs and the dou­ble­ton spade jack, but as it is, I’ll open one no-trump.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: Not vul­ner­a­ble, my part­ner opened one di­a­mond in first seat, fol­lowed by two passes and a one-heart bid by my left-hand op­po­nent. My part­ner passed, as did my right-hand op­po­nent. I then bid two clubs. What should my part­ner ex­pect of me?

— Try­ing It On,

Louisville, Ky. DEAR READER: Good ques­tion. I’d say I would ex­pect 4 or 5 points and long clubs, no di­a­mond fit, un­suit­able for bid­ding a ma­jor or one no-trump the first time out. Since most of us would bid one no-trump on any six-count or re­spond in a ma­jor if we had one, a sin­gle-suiter seems most likely.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: I held ♠ J-10-2, ♥ 10, ♦ Q-10-98-3, ♣ Q-10-9-8. My part­ner opened two clubs, fol­lowed by a re­bid of two no-trump over my two-di­a­mond call. I chose to bid Stay­man and raised his three spades to four. It turned out he had ace-jack-third of hearts, and be­cause the club king was fi­ness­able, we could have made 12 tricks in ei­ther con­tract. How would you have bid my hand?

— Howdy Doody, Northridge, Calif. DEAR READER: If part­ner had a very strong hand and we only had reg­u­lar Stay­man avail­able, I’d just blast three no-trump. Let me add a sug­ges­tion: Even if you play reg­u­lar Stay­man, you can use a re­sponse of three no-trump to Stay­man as five spades — what do you have to lose, since it has no other mean­ing in the stan­dard scheme of re­sponses?

DEAR MR. WOLFF: We had a pregame sem­i­nar at our club last week, and this deal came up. With ♠ A-10-8, ♥ A-Q-J-9-2, ♦ Q-5,

♣ K-Q-10, what would be your plan fac­ing a one-club opener? (Part­ner’s opener is a dead min­i­mum, but his hand in­cludes five de­cent clubs plus the heart king and di­a­mond ace; so 12 tricks are easy in three strains — though not 13.)

— Flum­moxed, Cartersville, Ga. DEAR READER: This is a hard hand, but it ex­em­pli­fies why we play strong jumps shifts. Af­ter one club - two hearts - two no-trump - three no-trump, re­spon­der has shown an 18-count with five hearts. If opener can find one fur­ther call (maybe four clubs or four hearts), you should achieve your tar­get.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: My part­ner in­tro­duced me to an odd-sound­ing con­cept, and I need help. Please dis­cuss what “un­usual against un­usual” means and how it ap­plies.

— Old Sparky, New Canaan, Conn. DEAR READER: When the op­po­nents show a spe­cific two-suiter (by bid­ding two no-trump over part­ner’s one heart, say), use the three-club and three-di­a­mond cue-bids to show two hand types. One is a limit raise in hearts, and one is a spade hand — typ­i­cally one plays this as bet­ter than a di­rect three-spade call, which would show a non-forc­ing hand. You can link clubs and hearts to­gether, and di­a­monds to spades. Al­ter­na­tively, you can make the higher cue-bid — if it is be­low three of part­ner’s suit as the limit raise. What­ever you do, make sure you agree on it.

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