Sound Vs. Light Preempts
SAYC uses "sound" opening preempts. This means that you will not go down more than 2 if vulnerable or more than 3 if not vulnerable, even if partner is busted.
Few, if any, experts play this way any more. Most preempt with next to nothing, and while preempting at the 3 level normally is done with at least 7 in a suit, sometimes experts will bid 3x with just 6, especially with a 6-card Club suit when playing that 2C is strong.
When not to preempt:
- With more than 10+ HCPs.
- With a solid suit (headed by AKQ) except in 3rd seat.
- With more HCPs outside the suit than in it.
- In 4th seat with a weak hand (just pass). You may, however, bid game with a good hand, expecting to make, but this is obviously not a preempt.
Larry Cohen has some logical guidelines for preempting light vs. sound:
- Light in first seat, You have two opponents to impede and only one partner.
- Sound in second seat. Opposite of first seat.
- Light in third seat.
- Bid what you can make in fourth seat.
Responding To A 3-Level Preempt
- With a very weak hand and support, extend the preempt.
- With a very strong hand, raise to game or slam either directly or by exporatory bidding.
After 3H-P-??, AQ2-A-A2-AT98753 is good enough for 4H when playing sound preempts, but even more is needed opposite "modern" types of preempts.
Bidding Against Preempts
- Overcalling promises a good 6+ suit and better than opening strength.
- Cue bid with a great hand.
- 3N shows a stopper and usually a running minor; usually 18-19 HCPs.
- 4N over 3x shows the minors and a great hand.
- 4N over 4H shows the minors and a great hand.
- 4N over 4S shows hearts and minors and greatness.
- Dbl is for takeout up to 4H.
- Dbl of 4 is "optional".
- Dbl of 5 is penalty