Defense Methods to Preemptive Opening Bids

Each and every bridge player, in rotation, has the right, without being penalized, to make any legal bid or call. A suit or No Trump bid on the two level or higher is considered to be a preemptive bid, which is sometimes referred to as a shut-out bid, a designation, which no longer has any validity.

Although the bridge community has generally adopted the philosophy that all preemptive bids should be on or above the three level, the more modern approach is that any opening bid beginning on the two level also be considered a preemptive bid, such as a 2 No Trump opening or any suit bid on the two level. Even overcalls on the two level in a higher-ranking suit is also considered preemptive in nature.

Note: Preemptive bids on the two level are considered by bridge authorities to also be preemptive bids, but also somewhat different in nature in that the suit bid on the two level should, by definition, contain the working values of the holding in that particular suit, and that the suit must be of a certain and required length. The preemptive bid on the two level serves also the purpose of deleting and eliminating a certain amount of bidding space, which can be used for the exchange of more precise information.

Note: For all partnerships, who base their preemptive bids on the Losing Trick Count method, all preemptive opening bids or preemptive overcalls are generally based on this evaluation method, which results in the conclusion that such partnerships do not employ Weak Two bids.

The bridge player makes generous use of such preemptive bids in order to obstruct the bidding of the opponents, to convey information to partner about the holding, and to show strength and length in a particular suit.

The members of the bridge community have devised and developed defense methods against such preemptive bids, and the attempt has been made to list these on these web pages. Any contributions would be greatly appreciated.

 

Cheaper or Lower Minor
This is a method, sometimes referred to as a convention, which uses the Cheaper or Lower, still available Minor suit, if the preempt on the Three Level is in the Club suit, as a takeout double.

Cheaper Minor Over The Blacks
This method uses an overcall of 3 Diamonds after a preempt on the Three Level of 3 Clubs, and a 4 Clubs bid over a preempt on the Three Level of 3 Clubs, for takeout. Any double over a preempt on the Three Level of 3 Clubs is for penalty. Any double over 3 Diamonds or 3 Hearts is considered a cooperative double.

Defense Method to Preempts on the Three Level
Defending against Preempts on the Three Level have encouraged bridge partnerships to devise several methods to counteract and counter-attack, intending to share as much information as possible with the limited bidding space available. Some of these partnership agreements are listed below. Some of these partnership agreements are simple, sometimes radical, methods and some have evolved into conventions of their own standing.

FILO
A defense method after an opponent opens the auction with a preempt on the Three Level. This method is used mainly in England and is called FILO for FIshbein over Red suits and LOwer Minor, or Cheaper Minor, over Black suits is for takeout. Any double is considered to be for penalty.

Fishbein Convention
This convention was devised by Mr. Harry Fishbein. The concept of the Fishbein convention allows the player directly following the preemptive opener to make a Penalty Double. The double is not a Takeout Double and the partner must pass this double.

Hackett Defense Against Weak Two Bids
This defense method was devised and developed by Mr. Paul Hackett of England. It is a defense to Weak Two bids of preemptive nature, especially opening bids.

Halsall Convention
The origin of this conventional method is unknown. The Halsall treatment is used as an action over preemptive opening bids, especially on the three level. To a degree, it is a defensive action when one opponent has shown a one-suited holding, which means that he is weak in high card points and has five or six side losers.

Reese Method
A method, which uses the bid of 3 No Trump as a takeout after a preempt on the Three Level in a Major suit only. The call of a double is for penalty. If the preempt is in a Minor suit, then a double is takeout, even in the pass-out seat.

Smith Convention
A variation of the Cheaper or Lower Minor suit, devised by Mr. Curtis Smith, whereby a bid of 4 Clubs is the only bid over any preempt on the Three Level for takeout. Used mainly in England.

Tonto Convention
This conventional method was devised and developed by Mr. Robert Stone. The designation is an acronym for Transfers Over 3 No Trump Overcalls. It is a basically a means employed by the partnership to continue to explore for additional information after one partner has overcalled an opening preempt bid on the three level by the opponents with 3 No Trump.

Weiss Method
This is a method of defense, which is a partnership understanding, generally against a Preempt on the Three Level, and which combines the application of the Cheaper Minor Suit for takeout, and the double is applied as an Optional Double.

 

 

If you wish to include and of these features, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.




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