ACES ON BRIDGE
Dear Mr. Wolff: In second seat, I picked up SPADES 5-2, HEARTS A-K-7-6-43, DIAMONDS A-3, CLUBS J-8-3 and opened one heart. When my partner jumped to four clubs, showing a singleton club and game values, did I have enough to cue-bid four diamonds, or should I have signed off in four hearts? — Raising the Roof, Columbus, Ohio
ANSWER: With real extras, you would normally cue-bid four diamonds. If you bid four hearts, the auction will be over, of course. In this auction, the four-diamond call might lead partner to do too much if he has the spade ace but a minimum; however, I think the combination of your sixth trump and third-round controls in both diamonds and spades require you to do it.
Dear Mr. Wolff: A recent deal of yours saw an opener act with SPADES K-J-4, HEARTS K-J-3-2, DIAMONDS Q-3-2, CLUBS Q-9-3, but I count only 12 highcard points and seven losers, with no quick tricks and no five-card suit. Is this really an advisable opening bid? — Back in the Saddle, Albuquerque, N.M.
ANSWER: I agree this isn’t a great opening bid! Non-vulnerable at matchpoints, there may be more to be gained by bidding than passing, but should you open? I’m not sure. If playing a 15-17 no-trump, where a no-trump rebid shows 12-14, you aren’t far off base. But you could sell me on passing if your other option is to open a suit you don’t want partner to lead or raise!
Dear Mr. Wolff: What would be the best use for transferring into a major, then bidding a minor? Do the same rules apply after a twono-trump as after a oneno-trump opener?
— Down Under, Sydney, Australia ANSWER: These unopposed transfer auctions show a second suit, are game forcing and imply doubt about strain or level. That means you either have slam interest or are worried no-trump might not be right. So without any slam interest — say 9-13 high-card points — and with a 5-4 pattern, you might ignore the minor over a one-notrump opener, unless you have a small side-suit singleton.