ACES ON BRIDGE
Dear Mr. Wolff: Assume you are dealt SPADES J 4, HEARTSK 5, DIAMONDSA 7 5 42, CLUBS A J 4 2, and you open one diamond. Whenyour partner responds one heart and the next hand overcalls one spade, I assume you would bid two clubs. What should you do when your partner probes with two spades? — Choice of Weevils,
Baltimore, Md. ANSWER: The decision is easier if you have already denied three hearts by your failure to make a support double. Then you can bid three hearts to show a decent doubleton. You might be forced to do that even if your partner might read you for three trumps (which he probably should not, since you might then have raised hearts at your second turn).
Dear Mr. Wolff: I picked up SPADES Q 4 2, HEARTSK 7, DIAMONDSA 10
8 6 5 3, CLUBS J 3, and whenmy partner passed andmyrighthand opponent opened one spade, I passed rather than overcalling two diamonds. Was that reasonable? Ifmylefthand opponent raises to two spades, should I balance with three diamonds now?
— Comeback Charlie,
Sacramento, Calif. ANSWER: Your weak spade length argues for passing at your irst turn, especially facing a passed partner. Once your opponents have limited their hands, you can infer spade shortness in your partner’s hand. So, balancing with three diamonds seems perfectly reasonable.
Dear Mr. Wolff: Weplay fourth suit as gameforcing, but what would you recommend for the meaning of one spade after our side bids unopposed: one club - one diamond - one heart? Should it be a one-round force or game-forcing, and does it promise or deny spade length?
— Sally Fourth, Oklahoma City, Okla. ANSWER: There is no clear way to play here. but
the simplest is to play one spade as natural— consistent with, but not promising four. Your partner will support with four trumps. Responder’s jump to two spades shows diamonds and spades 5 6, strong. Another common agreement is to play that one of those calls shows four spades, and one denies four. And a third option is to play one spade as natural but not a game force.