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Preemptive Opening Bids

A preemptive opening bid is a bid at the two level or higher, with the exception of 2 ♣. The opening bid of 2 ♣ has a special meaning, which I will deal with later.  A preemptive opening bid may be made at any level from 2 to 4♠ or rarely even higher.  The purpose of a preemptive opening bid is to use up the opponent’s bidding space, so that it is more difficult for the opponents to find their best contract.  A preemptive opening bid is made with a long, strong suit and very few values outside that suit.  

The following hand would qualify for an opening bid of 3:      ♠ 7 2, K Q J 9 6 5 3, 8 6 4, ♣ 7.  With reasonable distribution of the outstanding cards this hand will take 6 tricks, with hearts as trump.  

When you make a preemptive bid, you expect the opponents hold the majority of the high-card values.  You make the assumption that
1.    The opponents can make a game.
2.    If you become declarer you will be doubled
3.    your contract will be defeated.  
Therefore, a preemptive bid is also called a sacrifice bid. To sacrifice safely, you must consider vulnerability. The guideline is what bridge players call the Rule of Two and Three.

(a) If the vulnerability is even (both side vulnerable or neither side vulnerable), you can be defeated two tricks and still have made a safe sacrifice.  

(b) If the vulnerability is favorable (you are not vulnerable while the opponents are vulnerable), you can be defeated three tricks and still have made a safe sacrifice.

(c)When the vulnerability is unfavorable (you are vulnerable and the opponents are not vulnerable), you must hold your defeat to one trick, in order to have made a safe sacrifice.

Guidelines for a 3 Level Preemptive Bid

·       A long suit 7 or more cards.
·       Two of the top four honor cards in the suit.
·       A weak defensive hand – Less than a one-level opening bid.
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