ACESONBRIDGE 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 irst 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 (or even raise to four spades to emphasize the spade control). Dear Mr. Wolff: Say you deal yourself SPADES A 7 3, HEARTSA J 9 2, DIAMONDSA J 7 6 2, CLUBS 10. If you open one diamond and hear a response of one spade, what options would you consider sensible? — Brunhilda, Union City, Tenn. ANSWER: You have a good but not great hand, with the right shape but not quite enough for a reverse to two hearts. Give yourself the diamond queen instead of those red jacks, and the aces might persuade me to do just that. Since you cannot repeat diamonds or bid no-trump, of course, you’re left with a slightly inelegant raise to two spades. The hand is a little strong for that, but you have only three trumps, so it feels about right.
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 irst (the one I normally mean) 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: sacri icing a trick you may not have had to lose to ensure you don’t lose two tricks. With K J 8 72 facing A 9 4, cashing the king and leading to the nine would be an example.