~Preemptive Opening Bids


 Preemptive Opening Bids

Here is a typical preemptive hand in a minor suit:
S T5 H 7 D AQJ5432 C Q54

When you open three of a minor, you promise 8-10 HCP, a strong seven-card suit (two of the top 3 or three of the top 5 honors in third seat)  and less than two defensive tricks. The hand should not hold a void or a 4-card major. The bid tells partner that you have a long strong suit with very little outside strength. The bid also invites partner to bid 3NT holding 2+ cards in the long minor and stoppers in all the side suits. The bid is a try for 3NT if partner has the right cards with game in the minor also a possibility. Another purpose of the 3-level preemptive bid is to make it more difficult for the opponents to find their fit. The hand may meet the requirements of the Rule of Twenty–there may be the possibility of opening at the 1-level, usually in 1st or 2nd seat.

Preempting in a major suit is a bit different. The high card strength may be less–generally 5-10 HCP and a 7-card suit; with unfavorable vulnerability, the hand and suit should be stronger. Again the hand should not contain two quick tricks, a void, or an outside 4-card major. The primary purpose of a 3H or 3S bid is to interfere with the opponents’ bidding. If partner has a good hand, game may be possible; but more likely in 4 of the major, not 3NT. A 3H or 3S bid is more preemptive than three of a minor, because there are fewer bids available at the 3-level.

Bidders may preempt as high as the partnership feels comfortable doing so, but preemptive bids at the four and five levels are common. These bids usually are made with an 8-card or longer suit.

Examples of minor suit preempts:
1. S —   H 53    D KQT87654    C J64
Only six losers and a good suit. In third seat, with favorable vulnerability, open 5D. With unfavorable vulnerability, 3D is sufficient. With equal vulnerability, bid 4D. Note: In first or second seat, partner may hold a good hand. Consider opening at 3D; 3NT may be your best contract. In fourth seat, pass.
2. S 4    H 76    D AKQJ432    C J54
Pass or bid 1D in first or second seat. Bid 3D in third and fourth seat.
3. S QJT876542    H 5    D 6    C K5
Bid 3S or 4S depending on vulnerability.

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