ACES ON BRIDGE
Dear Mr. Wolff: My partner held SPADES 9 8 7 5, HEARTS A Q10 8 7, DIAMONDS K , CLUBSQ 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 semiforcing, 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, St. John’s, Newfoundland
ANSWER: 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, king-third 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 amajor 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.
ANSWER: Responder’s rebid of his own suit shows six, except that occasionally he will rebid a very chunky ive-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 aminor facing a one-spade response may be forced with ive when unsuitable for a reverse or one-no-trump response. By contrast, opener’s rebid facing a two-level response is often a decent ivecarder.