ACES ON BRIDGE
Dear Mr. Wolff: Holding SPADES J-7-6-5-4-2, HEARTS 4, DIAMONDS A-K-5, CLUBS Q-7-6, how should you bid when you hear partner open one heart, and then over your onespade response, he bids two clubs?
— Torn Up, Boston, Mass. ANSWER: This hand is almost worth a call of two no-trump in high-card terms. Your spades argue against jumping or rebidding that suit, and your clubs aren’t strong enough to raise, but you might make a lot of tricks in clubs, spades or no-trump, so passing feels wrong. A call of two spades is acceptable; I might stretch to rebid two no-trump, to let partner bid game with extras, and hope to settle for a playable part-score. Dear Mr. Wolff: Do you have any advice for inexperienced players like me who tend to get discouraged when things start to go wrong? Or for my partners, who occasionally replay their failures in their head, to their detriment on the following deal?
— High Kicker, Greenville, S.C. ANSWER: The best advice I can give you is that it is next to impossible to pick up a big swing on one deal to recover from a disaster on the last: The situation will likely get worse if you try. Many players tend to lose concentration on the first and last deals of a session — the first because they are not settled in, and the last because they want to get out and score up. So one should try to concentrate on those deals.
Dear Mr. Wolff: When my right-hand opponent opened the bidding with four diamonds, I had a 4=4=1=4 12-count, so I doubled for takeout. My partner thought this was too aggressive, so I’d welcome your thoughts. The next hand redoubled, and when it came back to me, I ran to four hearts. We ended in five clubs, down 800, but was I wrong to run, or should I have passed with four diamonds hinging on a finesse?
— Sad Sack, Mitchell, S.D. ANSWER: There is no question that your double of four diamonds is geared for takeout: Your call may be aggressive, but it sounds reasonable to me. My partnership plays that all passes of redoubles except at the one-level (and not all of them) are to play, so I would have passed here, like it or not.