What should I bid? (January 2023)


What should I bid? (January 2023)

The best submission for January from Josh Tomlin. He wins a voucher of $30 funded by TBIB, toward any purchase made at the Bridge Shop or Paul Lavings Bridgegear.

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

West North East South
1 4 4 ?

We play youth style pre-empts, especially favourable. At the table I auto bid 5 but I’m not sure if this is a good idea? The opponents only bid to 5 but it became clear very quickly that they were making 6 or 7. Is it too pessimistic to assume they are making a slam and should I refrain myself from encouraging them?

Hi Josh,

Youth style or not, I think North’s hand is certainly a prototypical hand for a favourable 4 preempt for sure (7-4, singleton spade).

Over East’s 4, I would bid 5 as South. In these spots, sometimes passing can work well as the opponents may think that the 4 bid was pressured by the 4, and thus West may not make a move over their partner’s 4 bid. However, because East’s bid was just 4, the reason for the 5 bid is that E-W cannot be sure how much slam potential they have. And because E-W are hardly in a forcing pass scenario (i.e. East might’ve bid 4 with distribution and long trumps), I wouldn’t start thinking that the 5 bid would ‘encourage’ them to bid a slam, but instead opener may just double to “take the money” (or even if they want to bid on, the 5 bid removes the ability for them to ask for key cards).

Essentially, it is a guessing game for E-W after South’s 5 bid, and let’s assume they guess right, who’s to say that opener wouldn’t have moved on anyway had we passed?

Having said that, sometimes there can be a slight danger from the 5 bid – that is, if this gets passed around back to East, he may decide to compete to 5 – and now for the opener, knowing that East is willing to push to 5 by himself, opener will likely raise to 6. But of course, sometimes this scenario doesn’t play out, and that West may double 5, and now East is unsure whether to remove it or to sit it.

In these spots, I tend not to overthink it and just make the ‘normal’ bid. Sometimes they might guess right and bid a slam, but sometimes they might just let you play it in 5X. Sometimes it won’t matter as they compete to 5 and don’t bid a slam. And sometimes, because the 5 bid prevented a 4NT RKCB bid, they might just stop short in a small slam instead of a grand slam.


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