ACES ON BRIDGE
Dear Mr. Wolff: When a deal is passed out on the first round of a duplicate, are we allowed to re-deal the hand without asking the director for permission?
— Thrown for a Loop,
Naples, Fla. ANSWER: While the paying customer has one fewer deal to play because of the throw-in, that would be missing the point. Say I or my partner had passed a hand others might open. Should we not get the good or bad result from that decision? Also, you can be confident that on most pass-outs, someone, somewhere, will find a reason to bid, no matter how flimsy the pretext.
Dear Mr. Wolff: If a defender shows his card, when may he be excused from playing that card, assuming it has not actually been put on the table? I thought I was allowed to change my mind here.
— Faulty Towers, Wilmington, N.C. ANSWER: There are different rules for declarer and the defenders. For declarer, a card has to be played — or the equivalent of played — rather than accidentally dropped. (Declarer doesn’t have a partner who might benefit from unauthorized information.) For the defenders, a card is played if it is actually or potentially in view. Thus, a partly or wholly visible card is normally treated as played.
Dear Mr. Wolff: I picked up SPADES 9-4, HEARTS 7-4-2, DIAMONDS A-Q-75-3, CLUBS K-3-2 and heard one club from my partner, then one spade on my right. Is this hand suitable for a negative double? I thought not, so I passed, and now a raise to two spades was passed back to me. What would be appropriate now?
— Lurking Warbeck,
Dodge City, Kan. ANSWER: You were right not to double or bid two diamonds, though you might take the latter action as a passed hand. Here, I’d bid two no-trump at my second turn if I trusted my partner to be fully present. A call of two no-trump is logically takeout for the minors, not natural. It denies four clubs, since I would already have raised if I had that hand. Something like this hand would therefore be perfect for the call.