Try to pre-empt with flex­i­bil­ity

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - BY PHILLIP ALDER

Everett McKin­ley Dirk­sen, who rep­re­sented Illi­nois in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Se­nate, said, “I am a man of fixed and un­bend­ing prin­ci­ples, the first of which is to be flex­i­ble at all times.”

How do you view pre-emp­tive bid­ding? It pays to be flex­i­ble; oth­er­wise, your op­po­nents will al­ways know what to ex­pect. In ad­di­tion, when non­vul­ner­a­ble and part­ner is a passed hand, bid one level higher than you would have done in first or sec­ond seat.

In this deal, for ex­am­ple, how would you cri­tique the auc­tion?

At Bridge Base On­line, three Souths (out of 15) opened three clubs. In another seat, this would have been very pushy, but not when part­ner was a passed hand. Surely the op­po­nents were cold for game and maybe slam. (At the other 12 ta­bles, West and East bid one di­a­mond - one spade - four spades - pass and scored plus 680.)

Over three clubs, West had to make a take­out dou­ble and worry about part­ner’s bid­ding hearts if it hap­pened. Then North ap­plied pres­sure by jump­ing to five clubs. West should not have passed this out; he should have dou­bled.

West led the spade king, ask­ing for count. At trick two, West shifted to the heart 10: jack, queen, two. East went back to spades, and when South ruffed, West dropped the ace as a suit­pref­er­ence sig­nal for hearts. But when West took the next trick with the club ace and led his sec­ond heart, East, think­ing his part­ner had started with 10-9-6(-4), cov­ered dummy’s three with his eight. Now the heart ruff had evap­o­rated, and South was out for down three, mi­nus only 150.

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