couple of weeks ago: bidding over preempts. I have a couple of hands from the Palo Alto sectional.
1. LHO opens 3S, pass, pass to you and you hold:
You don't really want to start with a double because that will take you past 3NT. So there is no plausible alternative but to bid 3NT yourself. That's what I did and it was a push board. Partner had enough cards to bring home the contract.
2. RHO opens 2S and you hold:
I overcalled 3D, LHO jumped to 4S and partner bid 5D. Careful play brought home the contract. I hoped that we would win some imps but it, too, was a push board.
OK, these weren't too tough. Send me some tough ones.
The were certainly some difficult ones recently in the Senior Trials. I've never seen so many hands played at the 5 and 6 level. One of the commentators pointed out that it is not good form to drive to an unmakeable slam after the opponents preempt and take up all your bidding room. Just settle for your game. He added that it was psychologically damaging to your match to get too high after being preempted. Sounded like good advice to me.
I've learned that you have to give up looking for the perfect contract when the opponents preempt. Just make a practical bid, try to get to a decent contract, and move on to the next hand.
And of course there is the old adage: "The 5 level belongs to the opponents". You have often done your job when you have pushed them to the 5 level. Just sit back, defend as as well as possible, and hope they go down.
After a preempt it may seem dangerous to bid...but it is usually equally dangerous to pass! When you find yourself in that impossible situation the preempt has been effective. I have found that it is usually right to bid. Just do it and hope you don't hear a loud double!
Finally, if you find that bidding over preempts is especially troublesome, fight back...step up your own preempting!
See you at the table!