ACES ON BRIDGE

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - HIGH PROFILE - BOBBY WOLFF If you would like to con­tact Bobby Wolff, email him at bob­by­[email protected]­spring.com

DEAR MR. WOLFF: My part­ner held 9-8-7-5,

A-Q-10-8-7, K-Q, Q-7, and opened one heart. In re­sponse, hold­ing 12 points with three hearts and four very small clubs, I had avail­able one no-trump as semi-forc­ing, with new suits at the two-level be­ing game-forc­ing. What is the right way to show my hand, and how should our bid­ding go?

— Enough Said, Saint John’s, New­found­land

DEAR READER: If you de­cide you don’t have a game force, you might re­spond one no-trump, which your part­ner may de­cide to pass. That means you might stay out of game, but fac­ing some­thing like ace-third of spades, kingthird of hearts, and ace-jack third of di­a­monds with the afore­men­tioned four-small clubs, you do have four top losers in four hearts, even if three no-trump is quite playable. Driv­ing your hand to game with a call of two clubs is cer­tainly rea­son­able if play­ing sound open­ers — few do, though.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: Please ex­plain the dif­fer­ence be­tween the min­i­mum num­ber of cards promised by opener re­bid­ding his suit (be it a ma­jor or mi­nor) over a one- or two-level re­sponse by re­spon­der, and the num­ber of cards promised by re­spon­der for re­bid­ding his suit? — Pis­tol Pete, Kenosha, Wis.

DEAR READER: Re­spon­der’s re­bid of his own suit shows six, ex­cept that oc­ca­sion­ally he will re­bid a very chunky five-card suit — typ­i­cally over a one-no-trump re­sponse from his part­ner. Sim­i­larly, opener’s suit re­bid fac­ing a one-level re­sponse prom­ises six — though oc­ca­sion­ally the re­bid of a mi­nor fac­ing a one-spade re­sponse may be forced with five when un­suit­able for a re­v­erse or one-no-trump re­sponse. By con­trast, opener’s re­bid fac­ing a two-level re­sponse is of­ten a de­cent five-carder.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: When you open one club, then hear one heart to your left and two di­a­monds from part­ner, what should you do with Q-9-6-4, 3, 6-4,

A-K-Q-10-9-8? Would a call of two spades prom­ise ex­tras? Should I there­fore re­bid three clubs?

— Poor Richard, Charlottesville, Va. DEAR READER: If your part­ner had been able to re­spond one heart, your ones­pade re­bid would just show four spades and not prom­ise ex­tras. Sim­i­larly, a bid of two spades is nat­u­ral here — it may con­tain ex­tras but does not prom­ise them. That said, the ab­sence of a neg­a­tive dou­ble from your part­ner means you prob­a­bly don’t have a spade fit, so em­pha­siz­ing your ex­cel­lent clubs has a lot go­ing for it.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: As a rel­a­tively dis­ci­plined player, I’m cu­ri­ous about how the ex­perts pre-empt in sec­ond seat these days. Does this ac­tion re­quire a de­cent suit, or will the vul­ner­a­bil­ity over­ride po­si­tion?

— Re­straint of Trade,

Jack­son, Tenn. DEAR READER: In sec­ond seat at fa­vor­able vul­ner­a­bil­ity, I’d ex­pect many play­ers to take lib­er­ties. (Whether they should is an­other mat­ter.) Con­versely, in sec­ond seat when vul­ner­a­ble, play­ers of my vin­tage tend to want to have very close to the per­fect hand for a pre-empt. By the way, suit qual­ity is para­mount; four small cards in a ma­jor will not in­flu­ence me that much.

DEAR MR. WOLFF: I play stan­dard meth­ods of card­ing, but I would wel­come in­put on when giv­ing suit pref­er­ence should over­lap with count and at­ti­tude.

— A Lit­tle Learn­ing,

Honolulu DEAR READER: Your first sig­nal on part­ner’s lead is at­ti­tude (un­less your at­ti­tude should be clear to part­ner by bridge logic — and both play­ers know that). On de­clarer’s lead, sig­nal count when nec­es­sary, or else noth­ing at all. When the sec­ond round of a suit is led, your choice of cards may carry a suit-pref­er­ence sig­nal. This of­ten ap­plies when you have a se­quence or a choice of ir­rel­e­vant small cards to play. For ex­am­ple, from 7-3-2, you play the two first to dis­cour­age, but the or­der of the re­main­ing cards will carry a suit-pref­er­ence mes­sage. I’ll leave the dis­cus­sion of how to sig­nal when dummy has a sin­gle­ton for an­other day.

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