ACES ON BRIDGE
Dear Mr. Wolff: I’m a longtime party bridge player (Chicago scoring), and I’m beginning to play duplicate, but I’m struggling. I know there are some differences in the two philosophies, for example, in sacrificing at duplicate. Can you recommend a book to help me to get — Heartless Hal,
Dallas, Texas ANSWER: I like “The Complete Book of Duplicate Bridge” by Kay, Silodor and Karpin, and “Duplicate Bridge: How to Play, How to Win” by Edgar Kaplan. Anything by Mike Lawrence or Reese, Kelsey and Kantar is worth reading. For modern techniques, Larry Cohen has written about the Law of Total Tricks. Dear Mr. Wolff: If declarer has revoked in a doubled vulnerable contract and is set one trick, which becomes two after the penalty, how much will that cost him? Are both undertricks calculated based on the double? If the doubled contract had been made, how would the revoke trick penalty be handled?
— Score Keeper, Walnut Creek, Calif. ANSWER: Revokes are tricky things, but you did not ask me that question, so I won’t answer it! First of all, calculate the result of the contract in terms of making or going down, after the revoke penalty. Then look at the score. The answer here is down one, plus a revoke penalty to make it down two; that is 500, and the number goes above the line — hopefully on your side. Dear Mr. Wolff: I recently opened one heart, and when my partner responded two clubs, I opted not to make a splinter-raise of my partner’s suit with a minimum hand and a singleton ace in a sidesuit. One should not normally make such a call when the suit is a singleton top honor. Is that approach correct?
— Leapy Lee, Portland, Maine ANSWER: I’m not averse to splintering with such holdings, but only if the hand contains full value for my action. A simple rule is to down-value the hand by two points, and if the hand is still worth a splinter, make it. This applies especially in auctions that are not game-forcing, when responder has bid at the one-level.