Dear Mr. Wolff: I arrive at a duplicate bridge club. About 20 minutes before the game begins, I get a new partner whom I never met before. What questions should I ask? – Getting to Know You, Bay City, Mich.
Answer: Great question! I’ll try to address this in more detail next week. Here are the first questions. Do you play two-over-one game-forcing? What about one-no-trump forcing? What kinds of transfers do you play? What do two-no-trump responses to a major and to a minor mean? Are your jump shifts weak or strong? What about in competition? Do you play New Minor Forcing or any kind of checkback after opener’s no-trump rebids?
Dear Mr. Wolff: Do you have any recommendations for CDs on bridge that might help me master the tricks of the trade? – Prince of Tyros, Dodge City, Kan.
Answer: I hope I don’t sound immodest, but the BridgeTrix series that I wrote is pretty good. And my erstwhile partner Bob Hamman has just produced “Bridge at the Top,” which I enjoyed a lot. (For more details contact me at my e-mail address: email@example.com.)
Dear Mr. Wolff: Holding ♠ A-Q-7-3, ♥ 2, ♦ K-J-6, ♣ K-10-9-7-3, I suppose it is right to double one heart on my right, but when that is redoubled and passed back to me, should I bid two clubs or one spade? – Rabbit on the Run, Levittown, Pa.
Answer: Start by escaping to one spade, gauging the severity with which this gets doubled. You can always remove yourself to two clubs – and give partner a pretty good idea of what is going on. But the reverse does not hold true; you cannot get back to spades efficiently from two clubs.
Dear Mr. Wolff: I notice the Italians have regained their lead at the top of the world table. Can you predict whether they or the USA (or someone else) will dominate world bridge? – Nostradamus, Atlanta
Answer: I’m prepared to look like an idiot, but I predict that the Polish training schemes for juniors will give them a real chance to dominate at the junior level and that in 10 years many of those players will be at the very top of the tree. The Polish Federation is showing the Americans how it should be done, but no one here appears to be listening.
Dear Mr. Wolff: I held ♠ A-Q-7-3-2, ♥ 5-2, ♦ Q-4, ♣ K-J-3-2, and opened one spade. My partner responded two hearts (which we play as game-forcing). Should I rebid my spades, bid two no-trump or try three clubs? – Trouble in Triplicate, Danville, Ill.
Answer: If you do not play the sequence as game-forcing, rebidding two spades would be clear-cut. This sequence does not promise six spades. (You do promise six when you rebid your major suit after a one-level response.) But as it is, I think I still go for the rebid in spades. My clubs are too weak and my diamond stop too feeble for a call of two no-trump.
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