For the next four weeks we are focusing on weak openings, ie preemptive hands. For the first time, I have assembled a panel of expert bridge players to share their thoughts about a hand related to the topic. The way to think about a hand is often the key to bidding it correctly. And as you’ll see experts sometimes have different opinions too!
The Next Step lesson modules have been designed to build on the Online School Curriculum. They include some Quick Tips to help you focus on the lesson topic. Then you can play and review the lesson hands.
If you have more time to spare, you can also complete the first Weak Two-Bids lesson, or watch the original lesson video.
When your side is not vulnerable and their side is, (not vul/vul) consider opening with a five-card suit instead of six ♠KQ1094 ♥ 6 ♦J1064 ♣1093
Weak two-bid may be made in diamonds, hearts and spades
Consider your position at the table when deciding to open with a weak two-bid
In first or second seat, you need a classic weak two-bid with six cards and a good suit, and 6 - 10 total points
In third seat (pass pass to you), it’s ok to be less structured and maybe a card fewer
In fourth seat, you’re not preempting the opponents because they have already passed, so your weak two-bid should be stronger: ♠AKJ1095 ♥4 ♦QJ86 ♣97
This week’s hand:
You are the dealer, not vulnerable, vs vulnerable.
What would you bid with this hand and why?
I pass. I try to have what partner expects. I usually have an agreement of suit quality in my preempts to make partner's life much easier in coping with them. It is a balance of destructive versus constructive. If I were to open and partner ended up on lead, I would expect partner to lead from Kx in my suit, after all. And sometimes this turns out badly, if I have opened a bad suit!
I bid 2❤️ or maybe even ♥️3. Not vul versus vul, it's our turn to push the opponents around. I don't like passing when at favourable vulnerability. Opponents generally don't try for penalties when we're not vul and they are. They very often bid 3NT for a safe 600 rather than defending 3♥️X and getting a much better score of 800!
3❤️ can force the opponents to find fits at the three and four level, and sometimes they have a disaster!
I pass. I have sympathy for a 2♥️ opening but don't think that is a winning bid with this hand as often as many players might believe. Having an Ace and a King on the side is not good for pre-empts. Several things can go wrong when pre-empting with weak suits and defensive values. Partner can sacrifice when it is wrong. And with this suit partner may lead from holdings he shouldn't have led from. But of course, the upside with a pre-empt is that you are putting pressure on the opponents.
Summing Up: The boys all agree that vulnerability is an important factor when deciding whether to preempt or not, and here (not vul versus vul) is the perfect time to be “wild”, because the opponents won’t get rich by doubling you. Matt, a fearless young player, would open 2♥️with the goal of causing havoc with the opponent’s bidding. David & GeO have more concern about lack of suit quality, ie the A & K that make up your seven points are outside the suit you’re preempting in (if the hand had been ♥️AK10965 there would be nothing to discuss!), and they are concerned that partner will get off to a poor lead if they lead away from an honour in hearts, thinking you had a better suit. I especially like the point that sometimes partner will bid one more (called “sacrificing”), planning to score a small minus, in the hope that the opponents’ game was making. Then this hand turns out to be a disappointment because your honours would have taken tricks in defence, and you might have beaten the opponent’s game, but couldn’t properly judge this.
What are your views? You can share your thoughts below or in the Golds Facebook Group.