Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bridge Blog 627: To pre or not to pre (empt)

Should you make a preemptive bid when you’re the first bidder? Some people resist the temptation, but I couldn’t on Board 20 Thursday at the Airport Bridge Club. Both sides vulnerable. I’m West and I’m the dealer. Here’s the hand:

Spades: Q-9-8; Hearts: 10-3
Diamonds: K-J-9-7-6-3-2; Clubs: 2

Three Diamonds. Partner Celine Murray bids 5 Diamonds after lots of soul searching. End of auction. North leads a Spade and Celine produces this whopper:

Spades: A-K-J-10-2; Hearts: A-9-7-2
Diamonds: A-10; Clubs A-3

I win with the Queen of Spades, draw trump in two rounds, throw my losers on the Dummy’s Spades and take all 13 tricks. I could have taken 14. Aw, says Celine, that’s a bottom board -- you shouldn’t have preempted. Here are the other two hands:

Spades: 7-6-5; Hearts: Q-6-4
Diamonds: Q-4; Clubs: K-8-7-6-4

Spades: 4-3; Hearts: K-J-8-5
Diamonds: 8-5; Clubs: Q-J-10-9-5

At the end of the game, I ask club director Bill Finkelstein what I should have done and he says the preempt was OK, but my partner should have bid her Spades and we should have wound up with a slam in Spades, played by East.
It turns out that nobody bids the slam in Spades, although someone bid 4 Spades and took all 13 tricks. There also were bids of 4 Spades, making an overtrick, and 3 Spades, making just one overtrick. That was the bottom board. We were next to bottom.
Two other pairs do 3 No Trump, played by East, making 6 or 7. And three of them bid the 6 Diamond slam, one making 6, two making 7.  

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