The Wichita Eagle (Sunday) - - Fun & Games - By Bobby Wolff

Dear Mr. Wolff: Re­cently, while declar­ing four hearts, I reached trick 13 and dis­cov­ered my left-hand op­po­nent, who was on lead, had no cards left. The miss­ing di­a­mond jack from his hand had been played si­mul­ta­ne­ously with an­other card (a club), but no one had no­ticed. What is sup­posed to hap­pen now?

— Lost in the Shuf­fle, Worces­ter, Mass.

AN­SWER: Call the di­rec­tor irst. I’d ex­pect the di­a­mond jack to be restored to your op­po­nent’s hand and led to the last trick. If the player has re­voked in the mean­time, the penalty is what­ever the re­voke laws de­mand, but if he has man­aged to fol­low suit through­out thus far, there is no penalty.

Dear Mr. Wolff: I’m try­ing to learn the ba­sics of de­clarer play. Should de­clarer count win­ners or losers when plan­ning the play?

— Vic­tor the Viper, Au­gusta, Ga.

AN­SWER: You ask a tough ques­tion, akin to ask­ing the length of a piece of string. Do you count losers or win­ners? I just don’t know how to an­swer, be­cause some­times it is one, and some­times the other. Of­ten it is losers, not win­ners, that are crit­i­cal at suits, es­pe­cially when we have tricks to spare. I think I look for win­ners irst, and if I meet the tar­get, then I make sure to con­trol losers. Each hand brings its own rules.

Dear Mr. Wolff: What is your opin­ion on open­ing a pre-empt on one fewer card than might be ex­pected in third seat, non­vul­ner­a­ble, or in­deed at any other po­si­tion or vul­ner­a­bil­ity? If you are not en­tirely op­posed, what are the con­di­tions you would re­quire for such an ac­tion?

— Sil­ver Bells, Day­ton, Ohio

AN­SWER: I’m op­posed to ran­dom fri­vol­ity, though with a good suit and low de­fense — say, king-queen- ifth — I can un­der­stand feel­ing the need to act fac­ing a passed part­ner. I don’t mind bid­ding one of a ma­jor with a ive-card suit and lim­ited val­ues in third seat. But an out­right psych tends to de­stroy partnership trust for the next time you pre-empt, so I like to keep my hand roughly in line with what my part­ner might hope for.

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