BRIDGE

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WATCH ON PRESTO - with DOU­GLAS NEW­LANDS

Open­ing third in hand non-vul against vul is like hav­ing carte blanche. Part­ner has al­ready passed and, with a hand lack­ing high cards, you may al­ready know that the op­po­nents have game on. You also are non-vul so any pre­emp­tive bid which gets pe­nalised has at least 600 to play with since they pre­sum­ably can make game. Maybe even slam! So when you find your­self hold­ing this South hand at favourable vul­ner­a­bil­ity and two passes to you, what goes through your mind? Are you go­ing to pre­empt? Does the four card ma­jor cause you to hold back and open 1C? It shouldn’t. If part­ner has a hand where we can make 4H, they can cer­tainly make 4S or 5D. The next con­sid­er­a­tion is the hoary co­nun­drum about what you call an eight card suit. The an­swer is ‘trumps’! With a nine card suit we cer­tainly want it to be trumps so the only ques­tion is how many clubs we are go­ing to bid. The last con­sid­er­a­tion is what you are go­ing to do when they bid game over your pre­empt.

The stan­dard ad­vice is that a pre­emp­tor should not bid again so you have to be all in on the first bid. Clearly, 4C is very wimpy and 5C might be enough to em­bar­rass them so 5C it is! West has too many val­ues to pass and has no op­tion other than dou­ble. On the face of it, this is dan­ger­ous be­cause he lacks heart sup­port and only half the field dou­bled. It is nor­mal prac­tice to leave this sort of dou­ble in ex­cept with un­usual shape and East duly passed it. The open­ing lead was ei­ther a top di­a­mond or a top spade and when the ruff came and the clubs were run, the con­tract went one down. A few brave souls who bid 5S got a great score but those who bid 5H, for what­ever rea­son went for huge penal­ties. There were six pairs who played in 6C usu­ally dou­bled. Pre­sum­ably they, like me, de­cided to avoid any dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions over 5S and opened 6C. Did you? It’s dif­fi­cult to know if the two aces mean you should try to keep them out of slam or try to push them in since you have no idea if the CA will cash!

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