Passion of The Game of Bridge

Bidding Problem: Strong Hand After Opponent Preemptive

Bidding Problem: Strong Hand After Opponent Preemptive

One of the must do after reading any bidding problem like this one, is to check what your partner will do. Then discuss the difference between you two. You will be gracious if such bidding problem has not been covered by your bidding system. That’s mean you will be ready when it comes on the table.

Bidding Problem

Here is one:

Your LHO Pass, Partner open 1 and RHO bid 3. You have 16HCP semi-balance 5-4-2-2 distribution with 5cds and good 4cds. What will you bid ?

South West North East
Pass 1 3
AKQ6 Dealer: West
J2 Vul: NS

Before we proceed, i would like to remind you again to always count tricks and loser on your hand. Count tricks for No Trump contract, count loser for Suit contract – regardless who play. So, in this example hand: you have 4 tricks, with 6 losers.

With partner has opening hand, you should smell possible slam here. Imagine if only partner has just AKQ 5+ cards or AK 6+ cards,  A and one of the K (either or ), that’s mean maybe easy slam with additional 14-17 HCP only.

With that in mind, multiple choice question, what will you bid from the hand above?

  1. Pass ?
  2. Double ?
  3. 3 ?
  4. 3 ?
  5. 4 ?

and why? ____________________________________________________________________ . Check what is the answer from your partner!.


‘Pass’ will be the poorest choice. What for? Penalty if partner doubles? with only 2 trick diamonds? Maybe contract will be 3 down, but you miss your slam! Furthermore, partner maybe cannot really double for takeout as he could hold 4 card Diamond.

You should not bid 3 either as you only have 2 cards instead of minimum 3, also your point is too strong. 3 is probably for 6-10 HCP with intention of competitive only (even with 2 cards support)

3? Yes, the suit is superb. But bidding 3 promises 5 cards , partner could just raise to 4 only with 4 card . Also, you could miss 5-4 fit in (if partner hold 3-5-1-4)

How about 4? This bid is natural as you really have clubs and forcing, so partner will not be allowed to Pass. But what you expect from partner to bid with 4 card spade ? 4. But if this 5 cards of headed by AKQ, then prioritize it first.

In my opinion, the best bid would be Double. Yes, it could be interpreted as negative double, no fit, but generally it should be interpreted that partner need to bid his second suit. In this bidding sequence, the captaincy of the bidding is in your hand, so you are the one getting the information. Once double partner , some of the continuation could be:

  • Pass, for penalty, maybe holding KJxx in (opponnent did bare-careless preemptive bidding) – go for it !
  • 3(no 2nd suit, could be only 5 cards , 5-3-3-2). The rest of the bidding could go:

    Game only…
    Partner You
    3 no 2nd suit, could be only 5 cards , 5-3-3-2 3 I got 4 cards spade partner
    3NT promises diamond stopper (gee, what RHO bid with?) 4 sign off, too much point in opp suit, could be losers in
  • 3(4 card , means fit 4-4 with you, plus 5-2 fit in ). The rest of the bidding could go:

    Small Slam ?
    Partner You
    3 4 card , means fit 4-4 with you, plus 5-2 fit in 4 cuebid, slam try, has DA or void
    4 has A 4 waiting, any extra?
    5 has A 5 waiting, do you have K?
    5 Yes, I have 6 AK,A (11HCP) + some other honor, good enough. Good luck, partner !
  • 3NT, promise Diamond stopper, could be 5-3-3-2. Risking many losers in Club, then sign off to 4
  • 4 meaning 5+-4+– fits in !

    Another Slam ?
    Partner You
    4 5+-4+– fits in C! 4 cuebid, slam try, has A or void
    4 has A 4 has A, what else partner?
    5 has A – w/o Ace partner can bid 4NT 5 waiting, do you have K?
    5 Yes, I have 6 AK,A (11HCP) + some other honors, good enough. Good luck, partner !

Of course, the possibility is rather endless. But you can see good bidding can lead to good and better contract.

Some nuggets on Bidding after Opponent Preemptive

Preemptive bidding is elegant strategy to be pulled to make bidding more difficult, therefore your partnership must prepare for it. In preparing the defensive bidding you need to consider the following:

  1. Try to get a suit fit first, especially if you hold 4 card Major
  2. If you have 1 suiter, especially strong one, prioritize this suit to be bid probably better rather than of Double.
  3. By bidding Negative Double as asking partner to bid second suit, you took over the captaincy – from here forward you need to decide the final contract
  4. If you can made more than 1 bid, always simulate first what could partner bid over your bidding. Consider several bidding that you can made and choose the best according to your hand.
  5. Establish cue-bidding as slam try. This system is not as easy as it looks, it is advanced system, you and partner need to have firm understanding about it. But on the other hand,  it has major advantage over simple Ace asking convention such Gerber/Blackwood Convention because it gives detail control.

Call your partner !

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