ACES ON BRIDGE

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

Dear Mr. Wolff: My part­ner un­leashed a se­quence on me for which I was not pre­pared. He opened one club, and I re­sponded one spade. The next hand bid two di­a­monds, and part­ner jumped to four clubs, hold­ing six clubs and four spades. Is this a con­ven­tion — and is it in stan­dard use? — Point Coun­ter­point,

Lit­tle Rock, Ark. AN­SWER: It is not un­usual to agree that in a non­com­pet­i­tive se­quence, a dou­ble jump to four clubs shows at least six de­cent clubs and four spades, with the val­ues to drive to game. This helps part­ner see a source of tricks for his side in a spade slam. But in com­pe­ti­tion, should four clubs be nat­u­ral or fit? I guess fit is log­i­cal enough, but it is an un­usual enough auc­tion that I wouldn’t want to spring it on my part­ner un­awares.

Dear Mr. Wolff: I have al­ways been taught not to open all 12-counts re­flex­ively, but to bid only with a hand good in shape or con­trols. Am I out of line with mod­ern think­ing? And how should I act with a shapely 11-count?

— Egg-shells, Char­lottesvill­e, Va. AN­SWER: With a suit I do not par­tic­u­larly want part­ner to lead, I might pass. By con­trast, on 11-counts with shape, es­pe­cially those where a re­bid is easy, I like to get the hand off my chest at my first turn. Hands with awk­ward shape, where the four-card suit ranks above the five-carder, might sen­si­bly pass at the first turn rather than hav­ing to dis­tort at the sec­ond turn.

Dear Mr. Wolff: What is the right way to ask for aces and then for kings us­ing Ger­ber af­ter my part­ner opens in a suit? — Florence of Ara­bia,

Colum­bus, Ohio AN­SWER: Ger­ber ap­plies only af­ter an open­ing or re­bid of one or two notrump. The four-club call gets a re­sponse of four di­a­monds for zero or four aces, four hearts for one ace, and so on. Then five clubs (or step one if you play Slid­ing Ger­ber) over the re­sponse asks for kings with the same scheme of re­sponses. By agree­ment, one can use Ger­ber af­ter a one-no-trump opener if Stay­man finds a fit. But the best way to play Ger­ber is by your left- and right-hand op­po­nents, rather than by you.

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