Pre-empts can make life dif­fi­cult

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - BY PHILLIP ALDER

In Eu­rope, there was a de­bate about herbal reme­dies and medicines. A spokesman said, “We won’t pre-empt the out­come, but safety will be our main con­cern in mak­ing de­ci­sions.”

At the bridge ta­ble, af­ter a pre-emp­tive bid has taken up valu­able bid­ding space, of­ten you have to throw safety to the winds and dive in head­first.

How would you cri­tique the auc­tion in to­day’s deal, given that North’s three-spade cue-bid showed at least game-forc­ing val­ues with heart sup­port?

In the play, South won the first trick with his spade ace, played a heart to dummy’s ace and claimed 13 tricks: two spades, seven hearts, one di­a­mond and three clubs.

Yes, West’s ad­verse-vul­ner­a­bil­ity weak jump over­call was dan­ger­ous, but in­ter­est­ingly it in­creased the chance that his red-suit queens would be win­ners. In this deal, if South had had one fewer heart, he prob­a­bly would have fi­nessed through East on the sec­ond round. Re­gard­less of that, where did North-South go wrong?

South was far too pes­simistic. North had forced to game, then im­me­di­ately driven above game with his five-club con­trol-bid.

He surely had the heart ace, so how far wrong could it be to jump im­me­di­ately to seven hearts (or, in a pairs tour­na­ment, seven no-trump)?

The pass over five hearts is per­haps top of the list of the worst calls of the year.

Fi­nally, note that if South had held two low spades and more in the red suits, he could have jumped to five hearts over three spades to ask his part­ner for a spade con­trol for slam.

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