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A. DEFTNITION: An opening bid of two or more with a hand containing both a long suit and
a sub‑minimum high-card strength (5-11 HCP’s) The bid is usually
defensive in purpose. The pre‑emptive bidder hopes that the hand belongs to
the opponents with the stronger hands and that they find it difficult to bid
accurately when the auction has started at a higher level with one or more
bidding levels have been previously consumed by the pre-emptive bid.
B. POSITIONAL CONSIDERATI ONS:
The third player seat in the auction is in the best position to make an opening pre‑empt. He/she knows that such a bid cannot pre-empt the first position player since that partner has already limited his/her hand by passing. The fourth player is almost sure to have the best hand at the table. Since partner's initial pass makes game unlikely, a sub‑minimum pre‑empt is often very effective.
Next to third chair, pre‑emptive bids by the dealer are the most attractive. Although they may present difficulty to partner, there are two opponents who may have good hands, and the odds favor that the hand belongs to the opponents.
Second chair is least desirable for opening a pre‑emptive bid. One opponent has already passed; therefore, the odds are no longer two to one in favor of the opponents having a good hand. Hence, marginal pre‑empts should always be avoided in second position; i.e., they should be slightly stronger than pre‑empts by the dealer and by the third positioned player.
When opening a pre‑empt in fourth chair, one obviously expects to get a plus score, otherwise one would simply pass the deal out for no score to either side. Therefore, fourth chair "pre‑empts" generally suggest the values of a minimum opening one‑bid both offensively and defensively.
C. INFLUENCING FACTORS:
(1) LENGTH OF SUIT ‑ A pre‑emptive or weak 2‑bid is usually with a 6‑card suit, a weak 3-
3-bid is with a 7‑card suit, and an opening 4‑bid is usually with an 8‑card suit.
(2) POSITION AT THE TABLE ‑ Already discussed.
(3) STRENGTH OF SUIT ‑ The best pre‑empts have a concentration of honor strength in the
bid suit. This automatically increases his/her playing strength, decreases the
danger of suffering a substantial penalty, and decreases the chance of a successful
defense against an the opponent’s presumed contract. Weak 2‑Bids usually have 5‑11
HCP’s in strength; weak 3‑Bids have about 6‑10 HCP's.
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(4) VULNERABTLTTY ‑ With favorable vulnerability; i.e., when not vulnerable against
vulnerable, the pre‑emptive bid should be within three tricks of the bid within one's
hand. With equal or unfavorable vulnerability, the bid should be within two tricks of
the call. The best way to count winners in pre‑emptive type hands is by counting
losers and subtracting them from thirteen.
D. RESPONSES TO A WEAK 2‑BID:
(1) "RONF": (“Raise‑Only‑Non‑Force”) ‑ A raise of partner's pre‑empt bid by one or more
levels. Such a bid is not forcing, but rather an attempt to further the obstruction of the
opponents who are seen to have the preponderance of points. It obviously guarantees
two or more pieces in partner's pre‑empt suit.
(2) “2NT”: (An artificial and forcing convention asking for a further description of partner's
hand.) The invoking 2‑NT bidder must have better than an opening hand since the
pre-empting partner has evidenced a weaker than opening strength. The responses to
same are all artificial are declare the following in their responses:
a. "3C" = 5‑7 HCP's and l of the top three honors.
b. "3D" = 5‑7 HCP's and 2 of the top three honors.
c. "3H" = 8‑11HCP's and 1 of the top three honors.
d. "3S" = 8‑11HCP's and 2 of the top three honors.
e. "3NT"= 8‑11HCP's and 3 of the top three honors.
(3) The Bid Of Any New Suit: (A strong forcing bid of a better than opening hand with at
least a 5-card suit in the newly-mentioned suit ) Such a bid asks for one of the
following three responses, and no other response:
a. Raise the responder's suit one level with three pieces.
b. Bid cheapest NT with two of responder’s suit.
c. Re‑bid opener's suit with one or none of responder's suit.
Responder will then place the contract based upon opener's answers to either (2) or (3) above.
E. RESPONSES TO A WEAK 3‑BID: ‑ Responder should bend over backwards to play in
opener's suit, for if one elects to play the contract elsewhere, the dummy is unlikely to be
(1) 3NT: ‑ A Sign-off. (Opener MUST pass)
(2) A Raise To Game in the pre-empt suit is either pre‑emptive in of itself, or made with game-
(3) Game Bids In a New Suit are a Sign-off. (Opener MUST pass)
(4) Jumps to Five of Opener's Suit (Majors only) are slam tries asking about the quality
of opener's trump suit. (With no more than one likely loser in trumps, opener
accepts and proceeds to Slam, else passes.