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Extreme Bridge #1: The 7NT Opening Preempt (Amended Version)

Extreme Bridge #1: The 7NT Opening Preempt (Amended Version)

Yes folks, it’s time for another Bridge Addict Special Report!

I have written about this topic before, and it was the first one in my Extreme Bridge series. Recently I had an opportunity for a competitive variation in a Pro-Am tournament. If you have read an earlier version, please skip to the new portion titled “Pro-Am Event.”

Almost as soon as people start playing bridge, many of them realize that they are rarely, if ever, the cause of any of their bad results. Instead, a large portion are due to their center-hand opponents (CHOs). They are highly confused, huge obstacles on the road to victory in all types of bridge events. For example, when they are on lead, it would be much better to just reach over, and pick a card at random each time.

I decided that I would try to develop strategies to confuse each right-hand opponent (RHO) and left-hand opponent (LHO) as much as my CHO. On many deals, that 2-1 advantage quite often should be enough to overcome many of the other two opponents’ usually gigantic number of HCP’s, trumps, etc.

Naturally, most bridge organizations love to bar the most effective bids and systems. Some of those are various types of 2 level openings, forcing pass systems, many types of controlled psychs, 3rd hand preempts bar CHO, 8+ level bids, etc., etc., etc. Despite that, I struggled on, developing whatever I could despite all the restrictions. It seemed amazing to me that few players bid in numerous “obvious” situations. Later, I hardly played in any National Tournaments for about 16 years, but recently I have started playing in some again. Despite the fact that there is more bidding today, I see that almost all players, including just about all “great” experts, still are infatuated with green cards, and are mesmerized into passing so frequently. [Of course, the non-PC version is that they are pussies. :) ]

I found that one of the most unmined areas of potential minefields for the opponents was preempts. Even more amazing was that there were few NT preempts, especially by the first player to bid, except when they had an artificial meaning. Just about the only exception was an infrequent 1NT preempt by some players who were self-described comics. BUT - a preempt without a jump really is a wimpempt. PLUS - usually they had a suit to which to run if the X’ing started.

All right, that’s more than enough of a bloated intro for this topic. Among my NT patents is the 7NT Opening Preempt, which I unleashed in real ACBL combat! Obviously, anyone can just up and bid it, but when would it rate to get a good score? No, the other players hadn’t tipped their hands, made some revealing remarks, etc. Barring CHO having a super rock crusher, there was no hope of making the contract. As previously mentioned, the ACBL isn’t keen on players running to a suit on the 8 level to reduce the penalty either.

I didn’t get some great 100% of the matchpoints score on the board, but I was over average. Of course, that is a great feat on any board because so many players “play for averages”. Sooo --- think about how this possibly could happen, and then scroll down for the answer.

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There are some director matchpoint screw-ups that result in players meeting boards that they already have played. Evidently, all pairs sometimes can run into this mess on the same round, and in other situations, it may occur on different rounds. The usual fix is to shuffle, and then play the new boards. Therefore, a given board is scored separately for each version, and the scores are factored up in total to whatever the top for a normal board was supposed to be. Of course, that’s assuming that there really are normal boards in bridge. We happened to meet previously played boards on the last round. So I asked the director what we should do. He said to shuffle and play them. So we did that.

On the first one, I was the dealer and had about 8 random HCP’s with pretty flat distro. I preempted with, “7NT!” (I saw no reason to waste energy with that usual “Skip Bid” or “Stop” stuff.) That got hammered. Since my partners always like to win bridge congeniality awards, I figured that would be a great time to give them some pointers. Accordingly, I XX’ed to prolong the opponents’ ecstasy, even though I was the only one at the table who appeared to be on Ecstasy. Everyone decided to pass after that. The lead was made, and I delighted the opponents even more by conceding the first 13 tricks.

Lo and behold, no other pairs played the board, so with whom could we compare scores? Nobody. Both pairs were given the higher of an average plus, or percent of game. Incredibly, there were somewhat related lunacies and scores on the companion board or two, even though I wasn’t the dealer.

Unfortunately, the game did not have online results available at the time, and I had to make a quick getaway in the car that has the license plate shown in the photo. Since photos apparently cannot be stored on here permanently due to space limitations, please use this Facebook link if possible to see it: https://www.facebook.com/notes/allan-stauber/extreme-bridge-1-the-7nt-opening-preempt-amended/10153469132661498. I didn’t find out if our -7600 on the deal got more matchpoints than the opponents +7600 did!!

Pro-Am Event: This “opportunity” may not have been during the most serious event of all time. In fact there may have been some drinking, use of hallucinogens, etc. --- especially by the director! He used some variation of the rarely used Rainbow Movement.

The pros were all seated North and remained stationary. There were 3 boards/round. The three ams switched around after each deal, although perhaps not the same way at each table, until each had played one deal with the pro. Often the pro would comment about the bidding or play. Then all three ams moved up to the next table, and the boards moved down. Many ams did not have a lot of experience, and the scores weren’t even recorded officially. Often the people in a group seemed to be friends so they wanted to move as a group, and just get some practice with some of the “great” pros.

There was a screw-up on the penultimate round. Ams (not any pros) met boards they had played, but the director didn’t announce a skip. I don’t know if it even would have been necessary in any other section because they may have had a different number of tables. During that round, apparently no one realized what had happened, or if they did, didn’t report it to the director. (In a typical type of movement and with scoring, some of the more experienced players might be a lot more likely to know that there should be a skip.) So the ams just played the boards again although maybe from different positions.

During the first board of the last round, my partner said that she seemed to have a hand that she had played, and that her earlier RHO had started with the same bid. It became obvious that she was right. She even led her stiff club against 4S instead of leading from her AK of diamonds! :) That gains a trick unless declarer takes an unnatural line of play.

The shuffle and play solution also was irrelevant in this situation (because the error wasn’t caught on the previous round.) Anyway, in a usual type of game, I would have tried to get such a ruling anyway. :) I might have had another chance to unleash a 7NT preempt, possibly in comp, on some board(s). I could have done it anyway, but being such a splendid ambassador of the game (OK, maybe for the first time), I restrained myself in those circumstances so they could get some more practice.

Al, The Plumber of the Depths of Lunacy; Bridge Blog (Al the Plumber on Bridge Winners); NSA address (redacted by NSA)

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