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Responding to Preempts

When partner has opened at the three level - showing less than opening points and a good seven card suit, you should discount your queens and jacks outside his suit. You should expect to make a minimum of ten tricks (with his suit as trumps) if you have 12+ such “useful points” (UP’s), eleven tricks with 15+ UP’s and twelve tricks with 18+ UP’s.

South Deals
None Vul
A 8 5 3
A 7
A 4
Q 6 5 4 3
K Q 10 6
5 3
Q 10 7 2
K J 8
W   E
J 9 4 2
10 2
K J 9 5
A 10 9
K Q J 9 8 6 4
8 6 3
7 2
West North East South
Pass 4  Pass Pass

North discounted his ♣ Q but still had 12 UP’s - enough to have a go for a ten trick contract. How should declarer plan the play in 4  on West’s opening lead of ♠ K?
He could count nine easy tricks - seven trumps tricks, ♠ A and ♠ A. Can you spot the risk-free route to a tenth trick?

It will come from trumping his third in dummy. Accordingly he must delay drawing trumps. He wins ♠ A and immediately plays  A and  4. East wins  K and finds the best return of  2.

Declarer plays  9, winning the trick, and now leads  8, trumping it with  A (this is his crucial extra trick). He trumps ♠ 3, draws the two outstanding trumps and loses two ♣ tricks at the end. 4  bid and made.

ANDREW’S TIP: Discount queens and jacks outside trumps when responding to a preempt.

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