ACES ON BRIDGE
Dear Mr. Wolff: What should I do if I am about to be dummy and my partner has explained one of my calls incorrectly? When, if at all, should I say something when I’m not completely sure whether it was my mistake or his?
— Lady’s Slipper,
Mitchell, S.D. ANSWER: When the auction is over, you must generally correct a false explanation. This applies whether you are going to be dummy or declarer. If you realize you have bid improperly and your partner explained your call correctly, you may not have to put that explanation right. But be aware that the director may assume a false explanation rather than an incorrect bid. (Note: As a defender, you would wait until the end of the hand before speaking up.)
Dear Mr. Wolff: Recently I held SPADES K-J-9, HEARTS 9-3-2, DIAMONDS Q-10-3-2, CLUBS K-7-4, and heard my partner open two clubs. Our agreement is that two diamonds is a waiting bid, with a suit bid showing length and strength. Is there any upper limit to the two-diamond bid? What would you do here?
— Frog Prince, Montgomery, Ala. ANSWER: Partner won’t pass your two-diamond call, so you can describe your hand accurately later. Your partner may not expect you to have decent cards, but he will not discount that possibility. I would not bid an immediate two no-trump with this holding, as it preempts partner’s description of his hand, though there is nothing wrong with doing that.
Dear Mr. Wolff: My partner and I disagree about a suit combination. How should you play a singleton facing K-Q-10-8-7-4 to maximize the number of tricks you can take?
— By the Book, Hartford, Conn. ANSWER: Compare the plans to lead up to either the 10 or queen, and follow up with a top card. The only way you can take five tricks is to lead to the 10 and find the suit 3-3 with the jack onside. Leading to the 10 loses a trick unnecessarily only when the jack is singleton or doubleton offside — and if your left-hand opponent is short, his partner probably has any missing honor.