ACES ON BRIDGE
Dear Mr. Wolff: With this hand: SPADES 3, HEARTSK-10-5-4-2, DIAMONDSA-J-7-2, CLUBS K-Q-3, I opened one heart and heard two spades tomyleft, followed by a double from mypartner; I then bid three diamonds. Now mypartner bid three spades. What does that show, and what should I do? — Bumblepuppy, Ketchikan, Alaska ANSWER: The threespade call asks you to bid three no-trump, or it may be the first move in a slam try for diamonds. You can’t bid three no-trump, of course, but you can bid four clubs to suggest this shape. Dear Mr. Wolff: Please explain tomewhat a safety play in bridge consists of. I seem to see quite a few different plays described by that term. — Taxi Driver, Pittsburgh, Pa. ANSWER: There are two completely different plays lumped under the heading of “safety play.” The first involves protecting yourself against an unkind distribution by a correct move. For example, with K-Q- 9-2 facing A-8-7-4, you might start with the king to pick up a bare jack or 10 in either opponent’s hand. The second usage is like a gambit at chess: sacrificing a trick you may not have had to lose to ensure you don’t lose two tricks. With K-J-8-7-2 facing A- 94, cashing the king and leading to the nine would be an example. Dear Mr. Wolff: You recently discussed this hand, where you heard partner double one diamondand a one-heart call to your right. With SPADES J-9- 6, HEARTS —, DIAMONDSQ-9- 65-2, CLUBS A-10-8-5-2, you bid two clubs and heard partner bid two hearts. Whydid you next bid two no-trump instead of three clubs? — Gorgonzola, Sioux City, Iowa ANSWER: I’d expect to be facing a 3-5-2-3 18-count or so. I don’t have any reason to repeat my clubs; partner knows I have them. Three no-trump could easily be making, but if my partner passes two no-trump, would three clubs be better? I doubt it.