Dear Mr. Wolff: I was recently confronted with an auction where I had to check the backs of the cards. I heard one spade to my left, a one-no-trump call from my partner and a double to my right. I held SPADES A Q 3, HEARTS 10 5 3 2, DIAMONDS A Q 7 4, CLUBS Q 3. What could be going on, and how does the bidding add up?
Answer: Something certainly smells ishy, does it not? Redouble, assuming that to be strong, and you will discover whether it’s your partner or your left-hand opponent who’s having a little fun. I’d guess that if your side is nonvulnerable, your partner may be experimenting, but if the opponents are nonvulnerable, the opening bidder may crack and remove himself.
Dear Mr. Wolff: As responder, I have received conflicting advice about my second call, or rebid. I had understood that if I initially respond one heart, a rebid by me of my own suit would guarantee six hearts. But my partner says if he has a weak hand, he must rebid his suit, no matter how weak it is, to show ive. Any comments?
Answer: I always like to be able to con irm my correspondents’ opinions. Since opener will always raise his partner with four trumps, or with three when his hand is not balanced, the failure to raise basically denies a it. So, responder will almost never repeat a ive-card suit unless it looks like six. As responder, support partner, bid notrump, or pass with ive cards in your original suit and a hand that has no game interest.
Dear Mr. Wolff: I passed in irst seat at matchpoint pairs, holding SPADES J 7 4 3, HEARTS A J 5 4, DIAMONDS Q 8 3, CLUBS K 4 and heard my LHO open one no-trump, which was passed around to me. We play Cappelletti, where a double by a passed hand would be a maximum pass. Would you do that, or balance with two diamonds to show the majors, or just let them play one no-trump?
Answer: You left out the critical piece of information, namely the vulnerability. Think of vulnerability as a traf ic signal. With neither side vulnerable, the light is green; with both sides vulnerable, it is red; and with equal vulnerability, the light is yellow. I would act at green, pass at red, and bid at yellow with 4 4 only if this hand had the king in spades rather than clubs. With 5 4 shape, I’d probably act at any vulnerability.