Pre-empts can make life difficult
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.