The Dallas Morning News
ACES ON BRIDGE
Dear Mr. Wolff: I have recently been introduced to New Minor Forcing, which was described to me as the equivalent of delayed Stayman to find a fit in my major or an unbid major. When your partner opens, then jumps to two no-trump, is there a parallel auction?
Gold Hunter, Little Rock, Ark. A simple way to play is that anything but a pass is game-forcing over a jump two-notrump rebid. To find out about partner’s shape, you can agree to use the unbid minor as potentially suspect. Over this, you would expect your partner to introduce an unbid major in which he has four cards, or to support you with three.
Dear Mr. Wolff: I have two questions regarding rubber bridge. First, if you defend a redoubled contract of two diamonds and take eight tricks, would you get the game bonus on defense? Second, if you are doubled in two diamonds, how much does that score when it makes nine tricks? Again, is there a game bonus?
Zero Hour, Carmel, Calif. Non-vulnerable, you double the score for three down doubled, or 500, to make 1,000. Vulnerable, it is twice 800, to make 1,600. These penalties always go above the line; below the line, you enter only the score for bidding and making a contract, never for overtricks or undertricks. In your second question, the 40 for two diamonds is doubled to 80 — entered below the line, which is not enough to make game. Above the line, you get 50 for insult and 100 or 200 for the overtrick, depending on vulnerability.
Dear Mr. Wolff: What is your opinion on the lead style in which the jack denies a higher honor and the 10 guarantees one? Is it good or bad in the long run, and what do you play? Incidentally, when playing third and low, how do you lead from, say, K-10-9?
Jacques Spratte, Panama City, Fla. At trick one, I’m strongly against revealing leads like this; I find it helps declarer more than the defense. But in midhand, there are specific positions where it makes sense for the shift to promise or deny a higher card. The sight of dummy should let you know whether to tell the truth or not. I lead strict thirdhighest from interior sequences, so the nine from the holding you posit.
Dear Mr. Wolff: How should a beginning partnership play jumps in a new suit by a passed hand in response to openings or overcalls?
Fast Learner, Boise, Idaho Let’s assume all hands with suits worthy of pre-empting are opened. So if you pass and jump, you cannot have that. A simple rule is to play all jump overcalls by a passed hand as natural but too flawed somehow for an initial pre-empt. When partner opens or overcalls, jumps in a new suit guarantee real fit for partner and show length and strength in the bid suit. See bit.ly/AoBFitShowingJumps.
Dear Mr. Wolff: When missing six cards including the jack, how likely is that card to appear in three rounds? My partner says a 3-3 break is with the odds; I thought the odds favored a 4-2 break here?
Oddball, San Antonio Each of you has a point; I’d call this one a tie. When missing an even number of cards greater than two, the odds tell us the suit will not divide evenly. However, the jack will put in an appearance either on any 3-3 break or when the jack falls singleton or doubleton. These combined chances come in at a little better than even money.