DEAR MR. WOLFF: After your partner opens one club, you respond one heart, and he rebids two clubs, would you bid on with ; K-7-5, k Q-J-10-7, l A-10-7-6-3, ' 4?
DEAR READER: Despite the two 10s, I would go low and pass rather than invite with two no-trump. Our main source of tricks will often be clubs, but my singleton will make it hard to bring that suit in.
DEAR MR. WOLFF: Say partner opens two clubs and you respond two diamonds. When he rebids three diamonds, what should three hearts or three spades by you show?
-- Breathing Room,
DEAR READER: Responder could still have length in a major, so the call is natural, showing five or a decent four-card suit. You can, I suppose, make the call with a stopper and concern about the other major, planning to revert to five diamonds after a raise. This is especially appropriate if three diamonds denies a major in your partnership. (Some play that a jump to three of a major over two diamonds shows four of the major and longer diamonds.)
DEAR MR. WOLFF: Can anything be done when each partner has a very good suit with no support for the other? At what point must one player give in to his partner's strong suggestions?
-- Burton Ernie,
DEAR READER: Let's take a typical pair of hands: ; A-Q-J-5-4-2, k 3, l A-7-2, ' J-8-4 facing ; ---, k A-K-8-7-4-2, l Q-8-3, ' Q-7-6-2. After one spade - two hearts - two spades - three hearts, opener must pass unless playing two-over-one. He has described his hand, and partner has said, "I hear you, but I cannot agree." Conversely, if opener had, for example, ; K-Q-J-10-4-2, k ---, l A-J-4-2, ' 9-8-4, bidding three spades over three hearts would be fine. Even facing a void, his hand is far more useful in spades.
DEAR MR. WOLFF: How aggressively should one compete for the part-score when non-vulnerable opponents have found a fit at the two-level?
-- Don't Lie Down,
DEAR READER: This is the sort of situation in which it pays to get involved and try to outbid the opponents, or push them up a level. Most of the time, they will make their contract if allowed to play undisturbed at the two-level in a fit, and the fact that they have a fit increases the likelihood that you have a fit too. It is different when they do not necessarily have an eight-card fit. In those cases, it is much more attractive to let them have it.
DEAR MR. WOLFF: I had ; 9, k J-10-7-6-2, l 7-5, ' K-J-9-8-4, with everyone vulnerable, and heard my left-hand opponent open one diamond. Partner overcalled one heart, and the next hand bid two spades, weak. What would you do now?
-- Big Fit,
Sioux Falls, S.D.
DEAR READER: I could simply raise hearts, but I would like to show I have club length and strength on the way too, so partner can judge how to proceed if the opponents bid four spades (not unlikely). So, I would make a fit jump of four clubs, showing clubs and hearts. It is fair to say I have nothing to spare for this call!
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