Preemptive bidding affords more opportunities for profits and losses—and problems and arguments—than perhaps any other field of bridge tactics. Therefore this quiz may give you as much of a headache as your holiday celebration. But I hope it will also provide as much fun. To simplify the ground rules: you are playing standard bridge by the book (hopefully mine), hence partner understands that a preempt may risk a 500-point penalty. But he might misunderstand any but the simplest conventional bids. Even standard tactics differ, however, so I do not expect you to score the maximum 160 unless you are my alter ego or have peeked at the answers (which begin on page 72). But if you score 125 or more, you should profit plenty from preempts; a total of 100 to 124 means you are probably holding your own when somebody holds a long suit; anything less means that you are scoring too low when the bidding starts high. Or starting too low to have any hopes of buying a bargain. In all cases pay very close attention to the vulnerability.

1

Both sides vulnerable South dealer

[8 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[4 of Diamonds]

SOUTH
?

2

East-West vulnerable South dealer

[6 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[8 of Hearts]
[10 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[King of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]

SOUTH
?

3

East-West vulnerable North dealer

[Ace of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

NORTH
3 [Spade]

EAST
PASS

SOUTH
?

4

East-West vulnerable North dealer

[Ace of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[6 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[9 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

NORTH
3 [Heart]

EAST
PASS

SOUTH
?

5

North-South vulnerable East dealer

[Ace of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[King of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

EAST
3 [Spade]

SOUTH
?

6

Neither side vulnerable East dealer

[Ace of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[6 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]

EAST
3 [Diamond]

SOUTH
?

7

Both sides vulnerable East dealer

[Ace of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[King of Clubs]
[Queen of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

EAST
4 [Spade]

SOUTH
?

8

Neither side vulnerable West dealer

[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[8 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]

WEST
3 [Spade]

NORTH
DBL.

EAST
PASS

SOUTH
?

9

Both sides vulnerable West dealer

[Ace of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[5 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]

WEST
3 [Club]

NORTH
PASS

EAST
PASS

SOUTH
?

10

North-South vulnerable West dealer

[Ace of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[9 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]

WEST
3 [Heart]

NORTH
DBL.

EAST
PASS

SOUTH
?

11

Both sides vulnerable West dealer

[Ace of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[6 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

WEST
3 [Heart]

NORTH
DBL.

EAST
PASS

SOUTH
?

12

Neither side vulnerable South dealer

[Ace of Spades]
[King of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Jack of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[7 of Clubs]
[3 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

SOUTH
?

13

Both sides vulnerable East dealer

[King of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[8 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

EAST

4 [Spade]
PASS

SOUTH
PASS
?

WEST
PASS

NORTH
DBL.

14

Neither side vulnerable South dealer

[Jack of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[Ace of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]

SOUTH
?

15

East-West vulnerable North dealer

[9 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[King of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

NORTH
3 [Spade]

EAST
PASS

SOUTH
?

16

East-West vulnerable North dealer

[Ace of Spades]
[King of Spades]
[10 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[3 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]

NORTH
PASS

EAST
PASS

SOUTH
?

The Answers

1

4 [Heart]—10
Pass—6
1 [Heart]—4

Four hearts receives the top award, because this hand, containing eight probable winners, exactly meets the rule for preempting: within two tricks of the bid when vulnerable; within three tricks when not vulnerable. A pass ranks second, since you may get a clearer picture of your potential after someone else opens. One heart may wind up fooling partner and creates rebidding problems. Three hearts is an underbid that gets no credit. When you preempt, you should bid the full value of your hand.

2

3 [Diamond]—10
Pass—3
4 [Diamond]—1

If the opponents have the cards, a bid of three diamonds has preemptive value. Quantitatively, your hand may qualify for an opening bid of four diamonds, but when partner has not yet spoken you should not preempt in a minor suit at a level that rules out the possibility of playing in three no trump, unless you have an extreme freak. Therefore a pass receives a higher award; at your next turn you may be better able to judge the hand.

3

Pass—10
4 [Spade]—6
3 NT—1

Partner needs three top tricks from you to make his bid, and four to make game. It is likely the opponents will collect four tricks—possibly as many as six if the diamond ace is offside—before your high cards can come into play. Another reason for passing is that the opponents may be goaded into rash action by the preempt. Still, four spades might meet with good luck. Three no trump gets a sop but is unlikely to succeed.

4

4 NT—10
4 [Heart]—8
5 [Heart]—3

Since partner should hold seven hearts, it is almost even money (48 to 52) that you will not score a defensive trick with your ace. Therefore, you should aim to keep the opponents from bidding their game or, quite possibly, a slam. How best can you do this? The imaginative bid of four no trump (Blackwood) may silence East-West if their strength is divided. At the same time, it ensures that you will get no higher than five hearts, which should be a profitable sacrifice. Partner might construe a five-heart bid as a real slam try, asking the quality of his trump suit. Four hearts could result in a bargain if each opponent believes you hold the high cards he is lacking. The only thing you must not do is pass.

5

3 NT—10
Double—5
4 [Club]—2
Pass—1

You want to play in three no trump unless partner's hand is so good that he can move toward slam or so poor that he rescues with some distributional values. Doubling for takeout creates problems if partner responds in diamonds. Four clubs runs three risks: a penalty double by West, a missed game—perhaps in hearts—or playing for game in the wrong suit. A pass gets one point, for on rare occasions it may avert disaster.

6

Pass—10
3 [Spade]—8
3 NT—3
Double—1

You hold only 13 high-card points, five of them in the suit bid at your right, so a pass is your best bet. If West also passes, partner will strain to keep the bidding open with as little as 10 points, plus some distribution. If partner has fewer than 10 points, you will have risked missing only a part score and avoided a possible big penalty in the event that West has the balance of power. Three spades may uncover a good 5-3 fit, while providing a possible retreat to three no trump if you are doubled. Three no trump could be your best spot if West holds a singleton diamond. But a takeout double could lead partner to bid hearts, for which you have no support; if you then retreated to spades, partner would expect a much stronger hand.

7

5 [Club]—10
6 [Club]—6
Double—4
4 NT—2

As much as you might like to play in four no trump, you cannot bid it, over four spades four no trump is a conventional takeout double, to which partner is sure to respond in a suit higher than clubs. However, I have given this bid a small award on the theory that if you have forgotten the convention, maybe partner has, too. The five-club bid is sound; six clubs seems a fair gamble; and a penalty double might produce the best result on some hands.

8

Pass—10
3 NT—5

By converting partner's takeout double into a penalty action, you should collect at least 500 points, which will more than compensate for a game at no trump. The trouble with three no trump is that partner may choose to go on if he has made a distributional double—and you don't want that to happen.

9

Double—10
3 [Spade]—5
Pass—1

You must take some risk rather than allow West's preemptive effort to succeed. You have reasonable support for all of the unbid suits; and if partner has passed because the bulk of his strength is in clubs and thus chooses to leave your double in, you can contribute tricks on defense. Three spades shuts out the chance to reach a better contract in one of the red suits, especially hearts. The award for a pass is in deference to those occasions when any bid will be costly.

10

4 [Spade]—10
4 [Heart]—5
Pass—3
3 [Spade]—1

Three spades is the weakest response you can make (it gets a point as a holiday gift), so you must show that you have much more than a "nothing" hand. Partner's double announces that he would welcome a bid in the other major, so you should not let your four-card spade length deter you from jumping to game. A cue bid in hearts distorts the picture of your hand and announces better support than you have for "every other suit." A penalty pass might collect 100 to 500 points and is rewarded accordingly.

11

Pass—10
4 [Heart]—8
3 NT—6
4 [Spade]—3
6 [Spade]—2

Because of your trump stack and the probability that East's hand is without an entry, West's estimate that he will incur no more than a 500-point penalty should prove faulty. Your pass may collect 800 points—possibly even more. If you choose another action, you must move toward a possible slam via a cue bid in hearts. Three no trump offers a sure game; four spades is a decided underbid; and the optimistic leap to slam gets some reward because you have recognized the potential of your hand.

12

1 [Spade]—10
Pass—7
4 [Spade]—4
3 [Spade]—2

Including distribution, your hand counts 14 points, thus it qualifies as an opening one bid. It is usually inadvisable to preempt when you hold four cards in the other major, so a pass, which could achieve greater accuracy if partner happens to open the bidding, rates higher than either preemptive bid. The opening one bid is also valuable in nullifying a possible opposing preempt. If you must preempt, four spades is preferable to three, because with 100 honors as compensation, it more nearly represents the value of your hand. Furthermore, if you bid only three, your partner is likely to discount heart strength and leave you short of a makable game. (If you play weak two bids—an increasingly popular, though not widely followed, method—and chose two spades as your answer, I will allow a six-point award.)

13

Pass—10
5 [Diamond]—4
4 NT—2

Partner should bid four no trump for takeout, so his double is strictly for penalties. Although five diamonds might make, it gets a low award because it is chancy and because it is bad for partnership morale. Four no trump might achieve a good result if partner reads it for takeout, or even if he passes and you are able to collect 10 tricks at no trump.

14

Pass—10
1 [Spade]—6
4 [Spade]—2
3 [Spade]—2

A preemptive bid describes a hand in which the strength is largely concentrated in a long suit; it is wrong to preempt when you hold two aces outside that suit. Besides, you can pass with the virtual certainty that this deal will not be thrown in. However, since your hand, counting distribution, can really qualify as an opening one-spade bid, that call is permissible, too. Both preemptive actions make it impossible for partner to judge whether he should raise or, if the opponents bid, pass, double or take a sacrifice.

15

4 [Spade]—10
Pass—3
3 NT—1

You are fairly certain to provide the four tricks partner needs to make game at spades, but his hand may be totally useless at no trump. Without a long, running suit of your own or cards that assure your ability to bring home his suit, it is almost always wrong to bid no trump in response to partner's major-suit preempt. Thus, an ultraconservative pass, which will at least bring in a plus score, rates higher than the no-trump bid.

16

4 [Heart]—10
1 [Heart]—7
2 [Heart]—2

To make a slam, you will need two aces and other values that are unlikely to come from a partner who has already passed. The deceptive preemptive opening, however, offers the advantage of enticing your vulnerable opponents into disaster. A forcing opening two bid—which might induce partner to do something reckless—is not justified by your point count and is further negated by your lack of first-round controls, even though it may appear you are close to "game in hand." Therefore, one heart, though it risks being passed out, gets a higher rating.

TWO ILLUSTRATIONS
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)