ACES ON BRIDGE
Dear Mr. Wolff: If you open one spade and the opponents intervene with two diamonds, what action would you take, holding SPADES K-Q-8-7-2, HEARTS K-Q, DIAMONDS Q-3, CLUBS A-Q-J-4, when the auction comes back around to you? I assume the hand is too good for a pass, but what action covers the most bases?
— Great Auk, Galveston, Texas ANSWER: You should not pass, though defending two diamonds may be the only way to go plus — or yield the smallest negative. If you do bid, a call of three clubs is on the table — the problem being that it is such a committal action. Doubling for takeout and converting a response of two hearts to three clubs suggests this hand type, but that route also lets partner bid two spades over the double, or even pass.
Dear Mr. Wolff: Say you have SPADES K-82, HEARTS K-Q-7-65-4 DIAMONDS Q-3, CLUBS J-4. Do you pass, open at the one-level or open at the twolevel, and what factors determine which way you should go?
— Green Grouper,
Eau Claire, Wis. ANSWER: Nonvulnerable, this is just too strong to pass in any seat. Opening two hearts in third seat might see your side under-compete if the hand belonged to you. Vulnerable, I hate the weak spots and the side defense, so I’d open one heart, even if it might be a fraction too weak. Everything else, especially passing, seems worse.
Dear Mr. Wolff: I am interested in trying to acquire more master points. How do Swiss Teams work, and would they be a sensible way to go about achieving my goal?
— Chasing the Dream,
Ketchikan, Alaska ANSWER: The urge to acquire points often exists in inverse proportion to the number you already have. But Swiss Teams are typically played over a single day, with multiple teams playing short matches. Your pairing is based on your day’s results, with matches scored not on a win-loss basis, but on a sliding scale where you can earn from 0-20 victory points. These points are accumulated over the whole event.