What should I bid? (April 2020)


What should I bid? (April 2020)

The best submission for April came from Judy Freedman. She wins a voucher of $30 funded by TBIB, toward any purchase made at the Bridge Shop or Paul Lavings Bridgegear.

Sitting W, Vul vs Not Vul, North as dealer opened 4. The bidding was passed around to me.


West North East South
  4 Pass Pass

As the opponents were non-vul I knew he could have very little for his 4 opening. They didn’t play NAMYATS as far as I knew. I felt we might be being robbed of a vulnerable game. Double is take out and what do I do if partner bids 4?
Not knowing what to do I passed. It turned out well this time as the player sitting in the same West seat at the other table bid 4NT for the minors and they ended in 5. This was quietly undoubled for -4 +400. At our table we took 4 3 off for +150.
The hands were:

EW Vul
N Dealer
Q 8 4
A K Q J 10 5 2
8 4 3
A 6
8 6
A K Q 7 5
K 9 8 5
[ 9 ] K J 10 7 3
9 4 3
10 6
J 7 4
  9 5 2
J 9 2
A Q 10 6 3 2


Hi Judy,

I think we can agree that preempts are never easy to deal with! In fact, recent studies have shown that a 4 opening preempt is probably the most difficult one to handle against so nowadays it can be a good idea to open 4 on a more wide range of hands (including some with opening points). The reason why 4S isn’t the most difficult is because quite often if we don’t have enough distribution, we just pass and “take the money”, and if we do have distribution, we can take it out via 4NT to suggest two places to play.

Versus 4 however, there’s one more strain to consider – and that’s 4! And sometimes we hold a strong balanced-ish hand (like the one suggested) where we can’t really handle spades.

So back to the problem – it’s definitely a difficult one but I think I would double. In the event that partner does bid 4, I would pass and hope for the best. It’s not ideal, but I’m hoping to get ‘lucky’ with some hands where partner can pass, or in fact has both minors, or that sometimes partner may have six spades (but five is also survivable). It definitely is one of those situations where “it’s dangerous to act, but equally (sometimes more) dangerous to pass”. On the actual layout, it appears that passing is the winner as East would bid 4 over our double, but even then the defence has to defend correctly otherwise we can be in a position to make it (via five spades and five diamonds)!

Hope that helps,

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