Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bridge Blog 906-A: Pre-emptive strike

           Sometimes you wish there you had a mind-meld with your partner, a sympatico so strong they could sense the true meaning of an uncommon bid and begin a march to the most effective contract.
That wish arose during the Swiss team game at the Buffalo Fall Sectional Tournament on Sunday at the sight of a hand that featured six Clubs – A-K-Q-J-x-x – four Diamonds headed by the King, two worthless Spades and a singleton Heart. I could take six sure tricks in Clubs or No Trump, barring a truly awful split, but how best to exploit it?
Also I was dealer. It’s an opening hand, so I should bid at least 1 Club. But that, I reckoned uncertainly, is hardly descriptive. So I pre-empted with 3 Clubs. Judie Bailey responded 3 Hearts. I passed.
Judge Judie gave me a stern look and proceeded to make 4 Hearts. She had a seven-card Heart suit. Her bid was forcing. I had to respond. Needless to say, it did us no good in our team match – according to the hand records, it could make 4 Hearts, 4 No Trump and 5 Clubs – and she took me to task for it.
Mea culpa, mucho mea culpa, I conceded after consulting the internet, namely, which was the first thing that came up on Google. It set me straight. 
The pre-empt in the first seat is a no-no – 1 Club should have been the bid. A third-seat pre-empt might have been OK, though.
Judie’s 3 Heart bid was absolutely forcing and I should have bid 4 Hearts if I had two or more Hearts. With my singleton, I should have rebid my Clubs.
As our conversation about this hand continued into Monday, Judie eventually allowed that, although she was short on Diamonds, a No Trump bid on her part might have been appropriate. That was what I hoped my 3 Club bid would suggest. At any rate, now I’m hip to the rules. No ESP required. 

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