by Rowan Ferguson

I love to pre-empt. This is where you bid to a high level with a weak hand. You don't really expect to make the contract. You hope that you upset the opposition to the point that the either do not find their contract or they bid too high or not high enough. If you only go off one trick vulnerable or two tricks not vulnerable this is a good score if they can make a part score and a fabulous score if they can make game.

Opening 3S is always going to be difficult for the opposition. It gives me a sort of sadistic plesure to see them squirmg not knowing what to bid. I am not competitive am I?

What are the pitfalls of pre-empts.

The first one is that may be the opposition can't make any thing.
The next problem maybe your partner is the one with the good hand and you may be pre-empting them.

Both of these problems can be alleviated somewhat by ensuring that you are WEAK and not too strong.

Would you open 2S with this;


Not this little brown duck. You actually have 12 pts 11HCP and one for the 6th spade. Open 1 Spade.
If partner has as little as two S and an opening hand then with your distribution you will miss out in your game and of course the stronger you are the less likely the opposition will be able to make their contract.

The recognised strength for a weak two is 6-9 and 6 card suit. Don't mind a bit weaker on occasion do mind a bit stronger; with 7 card suit open at the three level. Dont try to hedge your bets and open at the two level and then bid to three if the opposition come in. It is too late; for maximum effect bid high and bid only once. There is no point in forcing a mistake by the opposition if you then give him another chance to get it right .

Which of these hands would you open weak?

A A9
B K9
C K753
D AJ7653


A. No too strong(!) and 4 Hearts Partner doesn't need much to make game – maybe in hearts
B. Q hearts not worth anything and 3D could be hard to bid over. Go for maximum disruption!!
C. Whats wrong with 1 H -- 3 1/2 loser hand, if partner denies 4 spades by bidding 1NT then bid 4 H's.
D. If partner has already passed 2H's it is a good bid otherwise it is a bit light but all your points are in H's. What about vulnerability?
Happy Hunting