The Next Step: Coping with Preempts

This is lesson three of our four lesson block focusing on The Next Steps for Preemptive Bidding.

As always, the curriculum builds on the previous lessons and the concepts and hands get harder.

If you have the time, I’d suggest that you complete the Coping With Weak Two-Bids lesson, or watch the original lesson video before you get started on the new hands.

Quick Tips

  • Remember, number 1 rule, the preempting side is trying to upset YOUR bidding

  • Number 2 rule, DON’T let them. It is generally better to bid than to pass

  • If you bid over the preempt in the direct seat, 2♠️ (3♦️) you need at least 14+, but ok to be weaker in balancing seat 2♠️ P P 3♦️ (10+)

  • SHAPE is vital in deciding whether you bid or not (ie shortage in their preempt)

  • When their partner raises the preempt, it makes it even harder for your side

  • Doubles are useful when you don’t have an obvious bid, eg 2♠️ X 3♠️ X would show a hand that wants to compete, but probably without four hearts

  • If you held four hearts you would bid hearts (eg 2♠️ X 3♠️ 4♥️)

  • It is very difficult to guess correctly every time they preempt against you, so on some hands you will be “fixed”

  • Smile, and move onto the next hand if that happens! It’s life (or bridge!)

This week’s hand:

You are North (your side vulnerable, they are not).

What’s your next bid?

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David Appleton

Partner has too much to pass 4♥️, so has made a take out double. Since we are vulnerable, the reward for making game is large, hence there is no option but to try 4♠️. However, we do not have enough to try for any more than that.

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Matt Smith

I'm bidding 4♠️. Partner's double is for take-out, and if partner has four spades that is where we want to be. It’s highly likely partner’s double will contain four spades too.

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GeO Tislevoll

To bid 4♠️ seems quite obvious. Double of high level openings and raises are not for penalty but more take-out’ish. Partner expects you to bid, and 4♠️ is likely to be the right spot. 


Joan Butts

Summing Up: There is unison here, David, Matt & GeO all agree that partner’s double is for take-out, and you have a wonderful hand really. My concern would be that you might make MORE than 4♠️, with only one heart loser, and those kings will match partner’s aces (if they have them!) really well! Still, making 11 tricks is fine in 4♠️, but not in 6♠️! (sigh) Partner would need three aces and good spades to make slam, so it’s a bit much to think there’s more than game here.