Preemptive Bid #001 – An opening preemptive bid is a high level bid (3-level or higher) made with length in a suit (usually 7+ cards), limited high-card strength (not enough for an opening bid) and limited defensive strength (maybe no outside ace). Partnerships usually have an agreement on bidding disciplined preempts vs. undisciplined preempts and/or preemptive guidelines such as the Rule of 234.
This deal was played September 25, 2014 / Hilton Head BC mentor/mentee game.
When East opens the bidding with a preemptive 3♣, how should North/South bid/play this hand?
East's opening bid of 3 ♣ is a disciplined preempt, subject to partnership agreements, a semi-solid 7-card minor suit with 2 of 3 (2/3) top honors, 7-playing tricks, 9 hcp, no 4-card major and no void. For many, East's hand is almost strong enough to treat as an opening bid. Change the ♦ QJ8 to ♦ AJ9 and East might consider opening this hand 1 ♣ and white vs. red (not vulnerable against vulnerable), be willing to compete to 4 ♣.
South has an opening hand of 12 hcp, 2 quick tricks (QT) and a rebid, but as an overcall the shape is wrong to either bid or make a takeout double (and don't even think of making a minimum offshape Savannah double). When North balances (forcing partner to bid at the 3-level), North must have a near opening hand, and NOW South is willing to bid game of 4 ♠.
The preemptive bid is designed to take away opponents bidding space to keep them from finding optimum contracts. The 3 ♣ bid takes away the opponents ability to make 11 bids (from 1 ♣ to 3 ♣). But the preemptive bid also gives the opponents a great deal of information on the placement of cards and values. Such is this deal, with the opening bid of 3 ♣, declarer (South) has just about all the information needed to make 4 ♠.
With the opening lead of the ♣ 9, it should be assumed West is leading a singleton. This contract will not make unless West holds ♥ K10(x) and as luck goes West probably has 4-spades, leaving room in West's hand for 4-5 diamonds, but diamonds will not play a role in this deal.
Follow the play of the hand in the table below...
Declarer (South) on T1 wins the opening lead with the ♣ A in hand (note the A is underlined in the table as winning the trick). On T2 South finesses the ♥ Q which West covers and on T3 returns to hand with the ♠ K, and thus, removing East's ability to ruff a heart. On T4 South finesses the ♥ 9 and on T5 exits a club setting up the ability to ruff South's third club in dummy.
On T6 South wins the ♦ K in hand and on T7 leads the third and final club and now West is in passing position (en passant). If West trumps high - discard a losing diamond from dummy and if West pitches - ruff with a low spade in dummy ... either way creating a winning trick. West has the right to win two spades either by ruffing or as natural spade tricks.
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