Preempt and Bid Again?

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 12/11/2007
Level: Intermediate

I always teach that "once you preempt you don't voluntarily bid again." On the other hand, another rule is: "rules are made to be broken." This deal comes from the Open Board-A-Match that our team won in San Francisco (2007).


With nobody vulnerable, I dealt with :

?A J 10 8 5 4
?Q 9 6 4
?10 8

I opened 2?--that was routine, although very aggressive preempters might choose 3♠.

LHO passed, partner passed, and RHO balanced with a double. I passed and LHO bid 2?, passed back to me.

Time to break the rules. Rather than settle for +50 a trick (or worse, -110), I decided to take action. Maybe we could make 3? or 3?. Maybe partner could penalize them. I doubled!

This couldn't be penalty, of course. It had to be "takeout/cards." If partner passed, I'd have plenty of defense. If he pulled to clubs, I'd correct to diamonds. No, this isn't in the "book" but it just felt right.

After my double, LHO passed and partner took out to 3?.

RHO bid 3?. Hurray! This is what I live for--to push them from two to three. This went around to partner, who doubled. The auction was:

2? Pass Pass Double
Pass 2? Pass Pass
Double! Pass 3? 3?
Pass Pass Double All Pass


Partner led a small trump, and this was the full deal:

Vul: None
Dlr: South
?8 7 6 4 2
?A K 10 5
?K 4 3
?J 10 9
?Q 9 7 2
?J 7 2
?9 7 2
  ?A K 5 3
?6 3
?8 3
?A Q J 6 5
?A J 10 8 5 4
?Q 9 6 4
?10 8

Declarer (West) was broke. And he did not enjoy the play. He played low from dummy at trick one (yes, we can see that rising would have been better). I won my singleton ?Q and played a diamond to partner.

Partner played another trump, and declarer won it in his hand (his only entry). He took a club finesse, but couldn't repeat the finesse.

He ended up with only 2 club tricks and 3 trump tricks for down 4, minus 800.

At the other table, our teammates bid the East-West cards to 3? but weren't doubled. They were down 4 on the same defense, but delighted to win the board for -200.

Notice that David chose well to bid 3?, which would have made 140--scoring more than the 130 we are entitled to in diamonds. Also, note that following normal procedure (passing out 2?) would have lost us the board.

Updated: October 2021