Today, I will take a break from the beginner bridge columns and discuss a hand that happened at the Kootenay Jewel bridge club (Every Monday at the Warfield Hall at 11:30am).
The bidding: There are two ways West can come to a bid of four spades.
1. If he has six spades, he opens a weak two bid of two spades. If he has seven spades, he opens a three-level preempt of three spades and if he has eight spades, he opens a four-level preempt. It follows that an opening bid of five spades would show a nine-card suit.
2. Another method is to count losers. West has six losers and does not want to give the opponents more than the 600 or so they can get for game. He can be down three doubled to give the opponents 500 points. This is much better than giving them 600 or more.
In both methods, the preempt is made with less than an opening hand. It should be a poor ten points or less. A rule of thumb that I like is: If you would go to game opposite a one notrump opener by partner then do not preempt in first or second seat.
South has a hand worthy of competition and makes a takeout bid of 4NT. A double of four spades would be penalty while a double of four hearts would be takeout. North chooses clubs and South asks North to make an equal level correction by bidding five diamonds. This bid shows both diamonds and hearts while denying clubs. The 4NT bid originally showed support for all unbid suits. North chooses diamonds by passing.
The play: West has a natural lead of the ace of spades from ace and king. The defenders will get their two aces and South will make five diamonds for 600 points.
East has two cover cards, and if he had two spades, he could safely raise partner to six spades to further the preempt. Because of East’s singleton spade, he could bid five spades. He should not, however, because one does not sacrifice over five of a minor. It could push them to a makeable six. Furthermore, if they should have been in 3NT, five of a minor will be a bad result for them and one does not risk giving them 800.
Notes: All columns may be viewed at http://watsongallery.ca.