North south vulnerable

Play Bridge: Balancing action over a weak three

"West has a seven-loser hand and is down 500 if doubled at the three-level."

The bidding: West has a seven-loser hand and is down 500 if doubled at the three-level. The opponents can get +620 for a vulnerable game so Three Clubs is a good pre-empt.

West puts out the stop sign and then bids Three Clubs. He counts to ten silently and then puts the stop card away. Until the stop card is removed, all the players must appear in thought. How fast someone bids should not convey information to the other players. When the stop card is removed, North can immediately make the bid he had been thinking about.

North has a scattered 13 points and refrains from a disastrous Three Spade call. East has a special bid reserved in case North does not pass. North passes and East also passes in tempo so South has no unauthorized information.  South balances with a Three-Heart bid because he has the right shape and about ten points. North devalues the Club Queen and passes.

The Play: East leads his stiff spade. Whenever a player pre-empts and does not lead his own suit, he is showing a singleton. East wins the Spade Queen and exits a small club. West wins the King and returns a club to East’s Ace. Now East cashes the Spade Ace and tries to give West a ruff, but declarer ruffs with the Eight and West cannot over-ruff.

However, because of the ruff, declarer only gets two pitches on the Spades and must lose a diamond. If the defense did not take their club tricks, declarer would lose two Spades and a Diamond making Four Hearts. With the correct defense, Three Hearts is down one for -100.

With a different 13 points, North could have raised the balancing bid to game. Such an appropriate hand would have no points in the opponent’s suit and more points in Aces and Kings and not Queens and Jacks. If he had the Ace and King of Spades, the Ace of Hearts and the King of Diamonds, North would have raised the Three Heart bid to game. This shows how bidding is not simply a matter of just counting points, but it is also a matter of point evaluation.

Final Pre-empt Note: Andersen and Zenkel in their book, “Pre-empts from A to Z,” state that the accuracy of opponent’s bidding varies inversely as the square of the level of the pre-empt. Therefore, one always must pre-empt to the highest level as it is safe to do so which means that pre-empts should be ultimately based on the loser-count and not just the suit length.

Just Posted

Pedestrian killed on Highway 22 Saturday evening

Police say 51-year-old man died after being hit by car

UPDATE: DriveBC says highway re-opened after accident

Highway 22 closed for seven hours on Saturday

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Métis Flag flies in Trail on Louis Riel Day

Area students, officials and public attend flag raising at Trail City Hall

Early Trail borrowed a couple of names from the U.S.

Place Names: Connection between Trail and Butte, Montana

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read