THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder

Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychiatrist who died in 1937, said, “There is no such thing as talent. There is pressure.”
True, if you wish to be successful at the top level of anything, you must be able to handle the pressure. This applies even at the bridge table. But there is another form of pressure in bridge — pre-emptive bids, which pressure the opponents by removing bidding space.
Look at the South hand. After two passes, what would you open?
In the first two positions, one heart would be a popular choice. But after two passes, the dynamic changes. North-South’s chances of making game have diminished. It is time to pressure West. Open three hearts! Or, if that is too rich for you, bid two hearts.
Now look at the full deal. After a three-heart opening, West would make a takeout double and East would advance with three spades. This contract would go down after three rounds of hearts are played, but West would never pass with such a strong hand. He would carry his side into deeper waters.
At the table, South opened one heart, West doubled, North responded one no-trump, East passed, South rebid two hearts, and this ended the auction when West very cautiously passed.
The defense was excellent, though. West led the spade ace: three, six, queen. West, not fooled, continued with the spade king, and East dropped his nine, a suit-preference signal for diamonds (the higher-ranking of the other two side suits). West cashed his diamond ace, gave his partner a diamond ruff, got back on lead with the club ace, and gave East a second ruff for down one.

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