ACES ON BRIDGE
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.