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Have the opponents preempted?

When one opponent has shown a weak hand with a very long suit – by preempting – then your trump contracts can be wrecked by a bad trump split or the opponents unexpectedly trumping your winners. The solution is to choose Notrumps.

This week’s declarer heeded this piece of advice - watch how he renders the preemptor’s hand useless.

East Deals
N-S Vul
7 5
K 7 5 4
A J 10 9
7 5 4
8 3
Q 10 9 8 3
7 6
J 9 8 2
W   E
K Q J 10 9 4 2
Q 8 4
10 3
A 6
A 6 2
K 5 3 2
A K Q 6
West North East South
    3 ♠ 3 N
Pass Pass Pass

South had a choice between doubling East’s 3 ♠ opener – asking partner to speak – or bidding 3 NT. Had he doubled, North would have replied 4  - not a happy contract with West holding five decent trumps. 3 NT was a far pleasanter proposition.

West led ♠ 8 and declarer ducked East’s ♠ 9. He won his ♠ A on the next round and, crucially, he knew (assuming East held seven ♠s for his three-level opener) that West had no more ♠s left. He then turned his attention to s, making sure that East did not win the lead. He crossed to dummy’s  A and ran  J, not minding if it lost to West. In fact  J won, so he followed with  9 to  Q and  K, and crossed to  10. He cashed ♣ AKQ and ♣ AK and so made his contract with an overtrick.

ANDREW’S TIP: If in doubt, play in Notrumps after an opponent has preempted.

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