Al The Plumber

Extreme Bridge #1: The 7NT Opening Preempt

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


Extreme Bridge #1: The 7NT Opening Preempt


Almost as soon as I started playing bridge, I realized that my center-hand opponents (CHO’s) were highly confused, huge obstacles on the road to victory in all types of bridge events.  I’m sure that enormous numbers of other players would agree — not only regarding my CHO’s, but even many of theirs.  I decided that I would try to develop strategies to confuse the other two opponents as much as each CHO.  On many deals, that 2-1 advantage quite often should be enough to overcome many of the other 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, 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 that the fact there is more bidding today, I still see that almost all players, including just about all “great” experts”, are infatuated with green cards, and are mesmerized into passing so frequently.  [Of course, the non-PC version is that they are all 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 opening bidder, 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 page down for the answer.




There are some director screw-ups in matchpoint events 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 boards, 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 our companion board, even though I wasn’t the dealer.


BTW, innumerable players think that the total of those two scores was the most that I’ve even been over par for a round, even with the benefit of my unique methods.  However, that is completely false.  I have been far more over par for a round — especially, in golf!


Al, The Plumber of the Depths of Lunacy

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