The Space Invader!!

Pre-empts serve more than just one purpose. Generally, we understand a preempt as a bid that takes away space from opponents and makes their bidding more difficult. But if used judiciously they can make our own bidding much easier.

Board 15 from Wednesday 11/09/2019
Dealer S NS Vul


Here, South has what I would call a very sound pre-empt of 3C first in hand. Ideally, the club suit should be at least as good as that for a vulnerable vs non vulnerable preempt, but it is close enough. Partner should not expect much outside clubs.

When South opens 3C, North knows as much about South’s hand as is needed to make the best decision. That decision should be to pass. North can be pretty much assured that there will be seven club tricks and one diamond, and possibly a heart as well, but to hope for more and to bid 5C is being too optimistic. Another alternative is 3NT. But that is hoping the defence will either lead a heart or give you a trick elsewhere outside clubs. But imagine a spade lead and then a heart through your king! Of course that does not happen in this deal but 3NT nevertheless fails if diamonds are led early enough. So, no doubt North’s best move is to pass.

Apart from a punt at 3NT there is another option, 3S. I know some people play a bid of a suit opposite a preempt as NON forcing but that is not economical and will lose a lot of bidding options when looking for a possible game. If North bids 3S, South can raise to 4S if by some chance South has three spades to go with the seven clubs, or something like Kx or Ax in the suit. Or bid 3NT or 4C since North’s 3S is forcing. Indeed a long shot, so not worth a serious thought. I note that one North did bid and make 3NT but most pairs played in the sensible 3C. Replay this board by clicking here.

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