One of the most effective strategies in competitive bidding is the preempt. When you have a long strong suit and not many points you can start the bidding at the 3 level with a 7-card suit and at the four level with an 8-card suit. This makes life very difficult for the opponents since they have lost the space needed in the bidding to find their own correct contract and most of the time doubling you will not be profitable enough.
Using the 2 level for pre-empting as well, makes it even harder on the opponents and only gives up bidding space on those very strong (22+) one suited hands that you almost never get. The bid of 2 clubs is used for all your hands of 22+ (except 21-22 balanced which are opened 2NT).
II. FACTORS TO LOOK AT WHEN DECIDING TO PREEMPT
The perfect preempt has a long good suit and at most one outside high card. A hand like this:
But if we only preempted with the perfect hand, we would not be giving the opponents much trouble. So let’s consider what other hands we can preempt on. First of all, partner needs to understand that our non-vulnerable preempt is not a descriptive bid, but an attempt to give the opponents trouble.
Second of all, our suit does not need to be good if we are not vulne r able. The advantage of length outweighs the need for a good suit. R e member we want to preempt as often as possible, particularly first in hand.
How about this:
Or this :
Neither of these has a good enough suit for a classic preempt, but both could be very effectively preempted not vulnerable.
III Position at the table
The two positions at the table to be most aggressive with your preempts are first and third when no one else has bid. If you are in second seat, your partner is as likely to have a good hand as the remaining opponent, so you want to have a more classic preempt.
When your right hand opponent has opened the bidding, the time to preempt aggressively is with either shortness or length (four or more) in their suit. Having three cards in their suit should be a warning to be more conservative.
When both opponents have bid, they have already exchanged enough information to be in a better position to double you. This is the wrong time for an aggressive preempt.
IV. OPENING BIDS of 2 , 2 , and 2 are WEAK 2 BIDS
These bids promise 6-10 points and a 6 card suit. In other words,
a hand which, if your partner opened 1 spade, you would not be strong enough to bid your suit at the 2 level (you would have to bid 1NT and hope partner bid again). If vulnerable (RED) then the suit must have some honors, a good rule of thumb is 2 of the top 3 or 3 of the top 5 (thus KJ10xxx or AQxxxx but not KJxxxx). If the decision on
whether to open a weak two-bid is close, do it with a singleton and not without one.
Exercise 1 . Would you open a weak 2 bid on the following hands at all vulnerabilities (or just non-vulnerable or just favorable)?
|Pts ______||Pts ______||Pts ______||Pts ______||Pts ______|
|Y/N ____||Y/N ____||Y/N ____||Y/N ____||Y/N ____|
|Vuls ______||Vuls ______||Vuls ______||Vuls ______||Vuls ______|
IV. RESPONDER IS CAPTAIN AFTER PARTNER OPENS A WEAK 2
What happens next? Well, now your partner is captain. One of the golden rules of pre-empting is that you never bid again unless partner bids 2NT to ask about your hand. All further decisions on competing and saving belong to your partner.
Partner should not expect to be making a game unless their hand is at least 16 plus points. However, partner should always raise the level
immediately with a trump fit. Since your level of safety is to contract
for the number of tricks that is equal to your side’s number of trumps,
with hands of less than 16 points, raise partner to 3 with 3 trump and to 4 with 4+ trump (raise 2D to 5D with 5+ trump). Your side has enough trumps to either make your contract or to have a good sacr i fice against the opponent’s contract. If you are red versus white be more careful – you need a side singleton or extra strength to raise it to 4 and a side doubleton to raise to 3.
How about responder’s new suit bid? This is a game try in that suit and it is forcing.
III. RESPONDING to a WEAK TWO-BID with 16+ POINTS:
A. If you are balanced or have a fit, bid 2NT to ask partner about her hand.
1. weak two-bidder repeats her suit with 6 to a bad 8 (and you pass)
2. With a good 8 – 10, weak two bidder:
a) bids another suit that has an A or K (stopper for NT). Now responder decides whether to play 4 of her suit (often sa f est) or 3NT
b) bids 3NT with a solid suit
c) with neither of the above but a good 8+, she bids game in her suit.
B. If you have a long suit of your own and think game is possible, bid your suit, this is forcing for one round and partner will use common sense to respond, raising whenever possible.