Newcomer & Novice #11: Preemptive Bidding

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In this issue, we will begin a multi-part discussion devoted to preemptive bidding. As the saying goes, Bridge is a bidder’s game. In upcoming issues, we will turn our attention to responder bids and beyond. Before we begin, we should warn our black-white thinkers that many preemptive bidders often see the preemptive bidding sport as more of an art form than a science. As we will learn, preempts are a balance between risks and rewards, akin to a highly speculative stock market where primary emotions are greed and fear. But our partners and opponents will still make preemptive bids, so like them or not, obstructive bidding is here to stay. Come to think of it, making a proactive preempt may actually help you earn respect among your peers. While opponents love easily bidding game or slam in unobstructed auctions, these days it’s unlikely they will extend the same luxury. Let’s say your Left Hand Opponent opens 3 Spades and the bidding passes to you with 17 points and four or five Hearts – you have a good chance for game, but where? And reflecting back on situations when opponents make preemptive bids, armed with new knowledge, you’ll be in a better position to know how to proceed (bid, double, or pass).

Counting up the numbers, our next stop is the Rule of 9 in our “Rules of …” tips. Actually, the Rule of 9 is more of a general guide to help us evaluate when to finesse opponents trump Queen when holding either an eight or nine card trump suit (“8 ever, 9 never”).

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