ACES ON BRIDGE
Dear Mr. Wolff: When your partner doubles a one-spade opener, do you play the double of a raise to four spades by your right-hand opponent as penalty or takeout? As the original doubler, I was faced with this problem at my second turn with a 1-45-3 hand with extra
values, and did not know whether to bid or pass.
— Spare Tire, West Palm Beach, Fla. ANSWER: I’d play your partner’s double as optional; you tend to pass the double unless removing to a contract you expect to make. The call of four no-trump in response to the double would suggest a two-suiter, initially the minors, but you can have hearts and a minor, planning to correct a response in your shortage to the next-higher suit.
Dear Mr. Wolff: I dealt and passed with SPADES Q-103-2, CLUBS Q-3-2, DIAMONDS 9-7-5-42, CLUBS A, and my partner opened one club, after which the next hand doubled. What is the best tactical response here to make sure we do not miss our best fit? And what rebid strategy do you have?
— Lost Horizon, Brownsboro, Ala. ANSWER: If you respond one diamond, you may lose a major-suit fit, should your partner elect to rebid one no-trump with any balanced hand. However, I suspect that after the double, partner will not rebid one notrump over one diamond unless he has both major suits well-guarded, so this would be my choice. The opponents may introduce a major and make the auction easier for us.
Dear Mr. Wolff: Do you have any comments on the headline news recently about the suspension of a top Monaco player for a drug infraction?
— Raging Bull, Nashville, Tenn. ANSWER: I’m both upset and sad to hear that Geir Helgemo appears to have been punished for what was not a performanceenhancing drug, because the Olympic rules require it. Everyone who knows him would consider him a nice and sporting guy and one whose talent is truly undeniable.