Dear Mr. Wolff: My regular partner and I play four-suit transfers over a oneno-trump opening, such that two spades shows clubs, and two no-trump shows diamonds. We do not currently have a meaning for the spare bid of three clubs. What would you recommend?
Answer: Some partnerships play three clubs as showing both minors, either forcing to game or invitational. Since all single-suited club hands go through two spades, the most useful alternative meaning is to use the bid as ive-card Stayman. This can help you ind your 5 3 its. See bridgebum.com/ puppet_stayman.php for more details.
Dear Mr. Wolff: In a teams game last week, I picked up SPADES Q 8 74, HEARTS A 8, DIAMONDS K J 9 2, CLUBS 8 6 3. My partner opened one club, and my right-hand-opponent overcalled two hearts. I doubled, and the next hand jumped to four hearts. I doubled on the way out and was left to ind a lead. What would you choose?
Answer: With the balance of power and strength in every suit, I would seek to limit declarer’s ruf ing potential with the trump ace and another trump. I would then wait for my side-suit tricks to come in. Of course, if dummy comes down with a big source of tricks, I can reconsider; hopefully, it will not be too late to cash out.
Dear Mr. Wolff: What do you think of this bidding problem? You pick up SPADES A J 7 6 2, HEARTS A 8, DIAMONDS A J 10 4, CLUBS K J and open one spade. What would you rebid after a one no-trump response from partner?
Answer: I’d raise to two no-trump, showing 17 18 points. A two-diamond call is too risky, since partner may pass with a 7-count with three or four diamonds and one spade. (With a doubleton spade, he would usually give false preference to two spades.) Of course, if I do bid two diamonds and my partner keeps the bidding alive, I plan to bid two no-trump. This hand is not quite worth insisting on game.
Dear Mr. Wolff: I have heard my bridge friends talk about protective bids. What does that mean?
Answer: A protective bid occurs in the pass-out seat, usually when the opponents have stopped in part-score. It is because the opponents have limited their hands that we can balance with less than we would need in a live auction, when one opponent is still unlimited. It is easier to balance with shortness in the opponents’ suit or enough small cards to know partner will be short.