The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Pastimes - Dist. by An­drews McMeel for UFS

Dear Mr. Wolff: What are your fa­vorite cities for the na­tional and re­gional tour­na­ments in the U.S.? I have de­cided to try to play se­ri­ously, but am not sure where to get my feet wet. — Pizza Man, Bris­tol, Va.

AN­SWER: You just missed out on Philadel­phia, a great venue and a city my wife loves. Hawaii this fall is an atyp­i­cal venue, but a great lo­cale none­the­less. Seat­tle and Van­cou­ver for West Coast fans are cer­tainly worth con­sid­er­ing. And New Or­leans (if not in mid­sum­mer) has much to rec­om­mend it be­cause of the food and mu­sic.

Dear Mr. Wolff: I al­ways have as­sumed that when a card be­comes vis­i­ble to the whole ta­ble, you have to play it. Is that right for both de­clarer and de­fend­ers? — Pe­nang Lawyer, Corpus Christi, Texas

AN­SWER: The de­fend­ers are held to higher stan­dards than de­clarer be­cause their part­ner may re­ceive unau­tho­rized in­for­ma­tion from a half-played card. If your part­ner could see the card, it must be played. De­clarer’s card will be deemed played when de­clarer de­lib­er­ately plays a card that ei­ther touches or nearly touches the ta­ble. There may be some am­bi­gu­ity if a card is de­tached but the play of the card is not com­plete.

Dear Mr. Wolff: Can you give me a gen­eral ap­proach to re­spond­ing to a strong no-trump with an 8-count and zero, one or two ma­jors? Should you in­vite game— and does it mat­ter whether you use Stay­man or raise to two no-trump? — High Heels, Tor­rance, Calif.

AN­SWER: I try to avoid us­ing Stay­man to in­vite game with­out ama­jor. It gives so much in­for­ma­tion to the hand on lead that I tend to pass with 8 and drive to game with a de­cent 9-count. With both ma­jors, us­ing Stay­man has some up­sides: in­d­ing a it in ei­ther suit or reach­ing game fac­ing a max­i­mum. With only one ma­jor, espe­cially at pairs, I tend to pass un­less short in clubs. In that case, I could pass and play di­a­monds or the 4 3 it in the other ma­jor.

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