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

Dear Mr. Wolff: What is the best way to re­spond to part­ner’s penalty dou­ble of one no-trump? Ob­vi­ously, one tends to pass with val­ues; but with a weak hand, should one play a con­ven­tional scheme of re­sponse or just play nat­u­ral?

— Need­ing a Nudge, Palm Springs, Calif.

AN­SWER: Run­ning to your long­est suit with fewer than 5 points is per­fectly playable. Sim­i­larly, trans­fers in re­sponse to part­ner’s penalty dou­ble of a weak no-trump al­low you to bid out your good hands. In ef­fect, af­ter a penalty dou­ble of a strong no-trump, you pre­tend your part­ner has opened one no-trump, with Stay­man and trans­fers.

Dear Mr. Wolff: I held SPADES Q J 7 3, HEARTS Q 9 4, DI­A­MONDS 7 6 3, CLUBS A Q 4 and heard one club from my part­ner, then two di­a­monds on my right. I dou­bled — did I have a sen­si­ble al­ter­na­tive? When my part­ner re­bid two hearts, I still had no idea what to do. What would you sug­gest?

— Mistle­toe, Union City, N.J.

AN­SWER: Dou­bling an over­call, then bid­ding a new suit tends to show a hand too weak to make that call di­rectly. So you can­not cor­rect two hearts to two spades. Your ac­tual hand of­fers an im­pos­si­ble re­bid, so maybe pass two hearts and hope it won’t be too silly. Cor­rect­ing to three clubs will get you to spades if part­ner has four, but you might also end up play­ing a 3 3 it fac­ing a 3 4 3 3 pat­tern!

Dear Mr. Wolff: When my right-hand op­po­nent opens, I need some guid­ance as to when to dou­ble and when to over­call with a sin­gle­suited hand and up­ward of 15 high-card points. Does it mat­ter what they opened or where my long suit is?

— Pick­ing a Path, West Palm Beach, Fla.

AN­SWER: If they opened one spade, it may be best to over­call and come again. Any­time you can start with a two-level over­call, you should con­sider that ac­tion. When the choice is to dou­ble or bid at the one-level, 16 17 points is the cusp. Es­pe­cially when you have spades, you may hope to dou­ble and bid the suit more eco­nom­i­cally than when you have a red suit.

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