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Common Game 2019-01-21 Board 5
West
K107
QJ872
74
AKJ
North
AQ98654
943
6
53
East
J32
A10
KQ10952
Q2
South
K65
AJ83
1098764
D
5
West
North
East
South
3
P
P
P

Analysis by David Loeb

The Bidding: The Rule of 2-3-4 advises against North preempting 3 at unfavorable vulnerability. In his "Better Preempts IV: Preempts by Seat Position (part 1)" article, Andrew Gumperz advises agreeing to preempt aggressively in 1st seat. The Rule of 2-3-4 tends to be too conservative in 1st and 3rd seats. The reason North might preempt 2 is to leave room to find a potential heart fit. While North-South may be better off in hearts, that chance doesn't merit allowing East-West to bid at the 3-level. Preempting 3 seems best.

The ACBL mandates a 10 second pause after a skip bid to avoid communicating unauthorized information. East's spade length is a big negative. East passes in tempo after pausing. West's spade length is also a negative. West cannot reasonably overcall 4. West lacks the strength or source of tricks to overcall 3NT. North 3 preempt ends the auction.

At tables where North opts to open a conservative Weak Two Spades , East and West still have the same spade length defect. An aggressive East may overcall 3. If East passes, West may balance with a slightly light 2NT overcall. If either takes action, East-West will reach 3NT. If both East and West are conservative, they will record +100 with their combined 26 HCP. If you didn't get to the right spot after North preempted, you may want to consider preempting more often yourself.

The Play: Declarer is fortunate dummy provide 2 tricks. However, dummy's spade void prevents declarer from finessing against the King. Declarer cannot avoid losing 6 tricks: 2 + 2 + 2.

Analysis by Lynn Berg

North's 3 may pass around to West. What now? A balancing 3NT seems preferable to 4--Pass won't be popular! I know, 14 HCP is not perfect, but I prefer it to overcalling a weak suit at the four level.

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