ACES ON BRIDGE
DEAR MR. WOLFF: At IMPs, I dealt myself ♠ A-3-2, ♥ A-5-3, ♦ 8-6-4-3, ♣ A-4-2, a hand with nine losers and no intermediates. I passed, and the deal was thrown in. At the other table, the opponents opened and played their 4-4 diamond fit for plus-90. Any comments?
— Better Business, Muncie, Ind.
DEAR READER: One doesn’t grow rich by passing 12 counts, but if I did pass one, it would be because it had too few aces, not too many. In judging whether to open the bidding, naming a suit you actually hold is better than bidding a three-card suit. But when you open a weak suit, partner often leads the wrong thing. I might even pretend I didn’t have four diamonds, and open one club. In my opinion, passing is more of a view than opening, but ♠ K-J-2, ♥ A-4-2, ♦ J-6-4-3, ♣ K-5-4 is a hand I might pass.
DEAR MR. WOLFF: I understand Jeff Meckstroth has just been elected to the Hall of Fame. This makes me wonder who might be on your list of candidates who should be considered for the hall but have not made it yet.
— Flim-Flam Man, Lakeland, Fla.
DEAR READER: All my Aces contemporaries who wish to be considered are already in there (the one exception preferring not to be put forward). I feel that women are underrepresented; if what counts is being pre-eminent in your field, then in alphabetical order: Lynn Deas, Jill Myers and Judi Radin all have a place.
DEAR MR. WOLFF: I need help on actions by passed hands. Holding ♠ Q-5, ♥ K-Q-8-5, ♦ 9-6-4-2, ♣ J-3-2, my RHO opened one diamond. I passed, and I heard a one-heart response to my left. My partner overcalled one spade, and my RHO doubled to show three hearts. Am I strong enough to redouble, or does that send a specific message here?
— Rissoles, Evanston, Ill.
DEAR READER: A redouble is not conventional. It suggests ownership of the hand (say, 10-plus), typically without support, and asks partner to join in as appropriate — either by bidding a second suit or doubling the opponents. Change your diamond two to the king, and you might redouble, though I think I would actually just bid one no-trump. Here, I would pass for the time being.
DEAR MR. WOLFF: You recently discussed what a jump to three no-trump in response to an opener should be played as. I agree it must be natural in response to a minor, but what about playing the jump to three no-trump, facing a one-spade opening, as an unspecified mini-splinter? While over one heart, three no-trump is a real splinter in spades, and three spades the unspecified mini-splinter?
— Inspector Gadget, Grand Junction, Colo.
DEAR READER: Thank you! I thought this option might be too complex for my readers, but since you raised it, I agree that it makes sense to split your splinters into regular (12-14 or so) and keeping one call for the (9-11) mini-splinter, letting partner relay to find out where your shortage is if he wants to do so. Interested readers can follow up at: bit.ly/2topMk0.
DEAR MR. WOLFF: Please comment on how to respond to one spade, holding ♠ J-8-2, ♥ A-5-3-2,
♦ Q-5-3, ♣ K-9-4. If you would make a limit raise, would your opinion change if the opponents overcalled two of a minor?
— Raised Eyebrows, Jackson, Miss.
DEAR READER: I would never treat this hand as anything but a constructive raise to two spades in an uncontested auction, and I’d feel even more strongly about that if the opponents should overcall. For the record, make the club four the diamond 10, to give me a potential ruffing value, and I might reconsider. Give me the spade 10 as well, instead of the two, and you’d sell me on the more aggressive action.