The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Fun & Games - By Bobby Wolff Dist. by An­drews McMeel for UFS

Dear Mr. Wolff: If the op­po­si­tion over­calls our side’s no-trump open­ing bid, what com­bi­na­tion of take­out and penalty dou­bles would you ad­vo­cate?

— Welling­ton Boot,

Or­lando, Fla. AN­SWER: First of all, sim­plest is best. How about this agree­ment: If dou­ble is the first ac­tion from ei­ther side af­ter the no-trump call, then the dou­ble is take­out. As soon as your side makes a pos­i­tive call, most dou­bles are penalty. If you trans­fer and then dou­ble any op­po­si­tion in­ter­ven­tion, that shows val­ues rather than be­ing a trump stack; most other dou­bles show trump length.

Dear Mr. Wolff: We were play­ing against strong op­po­nents. My LHO opened four hearts, dou­bled by my part­ner to show cards. I had 12 points and six spades to the A-Q-J with a sin­gle­ton heart. What would you sug­gest, know­ing your part­ner is con­ser­va­tive by tem­per­a­ment?

— John Stu­art Mill, North Bay, On­tario AN­SWER: If you don’t sim­ply jump to slam, a five-spade call here could just be a bet­ter hand than one that would bid four spades. Some might be­lieve that bid­ding four no-trump (which is typ­i­cally two-suited for the mi­nors), fol­lowed by cor­rect­ing part­ner’s re­sponse to five spades, shows a heart con­trol. If so, the jump to five spades might be a slam try, typ­i­cally with no heart con­trol.

Dear Mr. Wolff: My ques­tion is about which card to lead on the sec­ond round of a suit. In this in­stance, my part­ner led a low card against three no-trump and found a sin­gle­ton in dummy, while I had Q-10-5-4. De­clarer cap­tured my queen with his ace and lost a fi­nesse to me. Should I now lead back the four or the 10? — Rube Gold­berg,

Hol­land, Mich. AN­SWER: Ei­ther play may be right, though some crit­i­cal fac­tors are which spot part­ner led (does he have four or five cards?) and whether you need to cash out to set the game. The 10 is prob­a­bly only essen­tial if you need to cash three tricks in the suit on the go. Re­gard­less, there is no defini­tively right an­swer, but the four is the right count card if that is what is im­por­tant to part­ner.

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