Dear Mr. Wolff: Most players in my circle use support doubles and support redoubles, to show three-card support for partner’s suit after a one-over-one response. Do you recommend these methods?
Answer: Support doubles on minimum balanced hands sometimes lead to your side getting too high, but the main problem with support doubles is that they are unlimited. If the next hand raises, opener might have to take unilateral action when he has some extras. And doubling with lopsided hands, such as a 7 3 shape, is not ideal, either. I prefer double to show extra values, not promising three-card support, and redouble to show a strong hand.
Dear Mr. Wolff: What would you do with this hand in response to an arti icial and strong two-club opening: SPADES Q J 3, HEARTS K Q 10 9 4, DIAMONDS 10 8, CLUBS 9 7 3?
Answer: Most players have speci ic requirements for a natural positive.” I prefer responder to be able to de ine his hand as economically as he can. Beginning with a two-diamond relay (not negative) often leaves you playing catch-up on hands — as here. Hearts is where you live, and bidding them should leave you in a better spot.
Dear Mr. Wolff: In a lot of your columns, you recommend aggressive and off-shape takeout doubles of an opponent’s one-level minor-suit opening. Why does this not apply to the majors?
Answer: Doubling a minor is a safe and cheap way into the auction. The goal is to compete in one of the majors, if possible. I’d double a one-club opening with most balanced openers having three or more cards in each major. Over a major, the auction is higher, and you are less likely to be able to compete effectively without length in the other major, so I prefer to have four hearts or short spades to double one spade.
Dear Mr. Wolff: I picked up this collection in a teams match: SPADES K Q8, HEARTS A K 10 5, DIAMONDS
9 4, CLUBS A J 9 2. My left-hand opponent opened one diamond, and my right-hand opponent responded one spade. What would you do?
Answer: I am not a fan of stopperless no-trump calls, but I would hardly be able to pass with such strength. I would try my luck with a double and hope to catch a it. If partner jumps in clubs, I suppose I will cue-bid three spades, since my style is to show stoppers rather than ask for them if the opponents have bid two suits, looking to reach three no-trump.