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Overview of Preemptive Bids  

One of the most exciting parts when you learn to play Bridge is bidding competitively so that the opposition struggles to find their optimum contract. As long as you make the contract you are playing your score depends only on the number of tricks you have made. In order to determine when and how high to preempt it is necessary to estimate how many winning tricks you hold in your hand if your long suit is trumps. This Bridge lessons builds on the opening bid skills you learned our Beginners Bridge Lessons.

What do I bid with a really long suit?

Why should I make a Preemptive bid?

Bidding 1 and making 3: or bidding 3and making 3 are both worth the same amount 140 points. This means it is in your partnerships best interests to be in the lowest level contract - but it is in your opponents' best interests to push you to the highest level contract in the hope you 'go light' and not make your contract.

What is a Preemptive bid?

A pre-emptive bid is an opening or overcalling bid in your long suit. Its purpose is to fully describe your hand both length and HCP in just one bid, and to make the opposition bid at a higher level than if you had not bid. Remember you are always trying to push your opponents to the highest level contract. Preempts are implemented  by jumping the bidding that is by opening or overcalling and missing one or more bidding levels.

General guidelines before making a Pre-emptive Bid.

Length of the Suit

1. Opening or overcalling at the 2 Level requires a 6 card suit preferably with two honour cards in the trump suit.
2. Opening or overcalling at the 3 Level requires a 7-card suit with an honour in the trump suit.
3. Opening or overcalling at the 4 Level requires a 8-card suit and approximately opening hand values.

Vulnerability and its impact on bidding

If your contract goes down 2 doubled by the opposition then that equals 300 points against you Non Vulnerable;
If you are vulnerable however and you go down 3 tricks doubled equals 500 points against you.
Your opponents will only score 420 points if they bid and make their non-vulnerable game. Its all in the scoring!

Strength of the Suit and Outside Strength 
The honor strength or location of the values should be in the suit bid. The number of tricks taken will come mainly through this suit.

Responding to your Partners Preemptive Bid

The problem with Pre-emptive bids is not what you bid, but what your partner decides to bid in response. Usually partner is best to "pass", even if they have 15-16 HCP. This is because The Pre-empter is already counting on you for two or three tricks depending on vulnerability so you should only support partner if you have values above and beyond these tricks rather than using point count.

1. How many losers and how many winners are there in this hand if Spades are Trumps?

Hand 1.
A 10 9 7 4
K Q 9
9 7 2
8 6
Your Bid
You have 8 losers in this hand they are: 2 spades, 1 heart, 3 diamonds and 2 clubs This means your hand has 5 winners. (13 - 8 = 5)

2. If Spades are trumps, how many losers and winners in this hand?

Play Bridge online now and practice your preemptive bidding.

  • A Q 7
  • A K 6 4 2
  • A 10 5
  • 8 5

You have six losers in this hand, 1 spade 1heart, 2 diamonds and 2 clubs.
Remember your 6 is the 3rd card and is not an honour so it is counted as a loser, and so you have seven winners (13 - 6 = 7)

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