ACES ON BRIDGE
Dear Mr. Wolff: I know you aren’t the biggest fan of Key-card Blackwood, but if you ask for key-cards, then for the trump queen, what responses should you use to that second ask?
— Private Eye, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
ANSWER: Use a signoff in the trump suit as denying the trump queen. Other calls show it, and you cue-bid a side-suit king if you can, or jump in the trump suit if you cannot.
Dear Mr. Wolff: I picked up SPADES A 10 2, HEARTS K 10 9 5, DIAMONDS J 97 4 3, CLUBS K and passed in irst seat. When my partner opened one club and the next hand overcalled one spade, I could make a negative double. But what is the right way to continue over my partner’s rebid of two hearts?
— Mashed Potatoes, Eau Claire, Wis.
ANSWER: This is an auction where your partner will almost always deliver four hearts but be in the 12 14 range. So you are likely to have an eight-card it with no values to spare for game. Does that mean you should pass — given that you do have an absolute maximum in high cards? I’m not sure. With your partner in third seat, you are on the cusp for a threeheart call. I think I’d pass, but if that singleton king were in a long suit, I’d bid.
Dear Mr. Wolff: Please explain what Checkback Stayman means after opener has rebid one notrump. Do I understand correctly that the sequence one diamond - one heart one no-trump - two clubs is not natural? Isn’t there also a method called Two-way Checkback?
— Inquiring Minds, Pottsville, Pa.
ANSWER: When opener rebids one no-trump, his degree of support for his partner and length in an unbid major are often still unde ined. So responder has a Stayman-like relay (New Minor) at the two-level. This promises values and is searching for three-card trump support or length in an unbid major. Two-way New-Minor uses two clubs as a puppet to two diamonds, to play there or invite game somewhere, while two diamonds is a gameforcing relay.