ACES ON BRIDGE

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Pastimes -

Dear Mr. Wolff: When you hear your right­hand op­po­nent open one di­a­mond, what should be your pol­icy about over­call­ing on a 5 5 hand with one good suit and one bad? I had SPADES J 98 4 3, HEARTSA 2, DIAMONDS10, CLUBS A Q 6 5 4. The clubs are the suit you want part­ner to lead, but if you bid them irst, you may lose the spades al­to­gether.

— Qual­ity Street, New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

AN­SWER: These days, it is al­most manda­tory to play some form of two-suited over­calls, fo­cus­ing on the ma­jors, while the un­usual notrump al­lows you to bid club or heart twosuit­ers. But if you have the wrong two-suiter for aMichaels Cue-bid or Un­usual No-trump, just bid the ma­jor and let the chips fall where they may. There may be time for clubs later. Dear Mr. Wolff: Our ex­cel­lent bridge club has su­perb play­ers and pairs who fre­quently score high, plus a mid­dle group and a bottom third, all in the open game. More of­ten than Iwould ex­pect, dark horse pairs in the bottom third come in top or close to it. Since bridge is signi icantly a game of skill, how is it that the less-skilled do well more of­ten than ex­pected?

— I am Cu­ri­ous Green, Dal­las, Texas

AN­SWER: I’m not sure how to an­swer, but you could rea­son­ably think of the re­sults of an event as a nor­mal curve. Luck is never elim­i­nated en­tirely from bridge (we need our op­po­nents not to be per­fect), so my ex­pe­ri­ence at the lo­cal club has been that any­thing can hap­pen. At higher lev­els, there are far fewer presents for ev­ery­one, so your mis­takes tend to be re­ally ex­pen­sive.

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