Conventional Wisdom

Jump Overcall

JUMP OVERCALL When your right-hand opponent opens with a suit-bid at the one level and you make a jump overcall, what kind of hand are you showing? Take a look at these auctions:

1♣ 2, 2 or 2♠
1 2, 2♠ or 3♣
1 2♠, 3♣ or 3
1♠ 3♣, 3 or 3

Most pairs treat these jumps as showing a weak hand with a long suit, something resembling a weak two-bid or an opening three-level preempt. If you play this way, check the “weak” box.

If you play that these jumps show strong or intermediate (opening values, but a long suit) hands, check the appropriate box and Alert the opponents.

Items in RED on the convention card require an Alert. If the opponents ask, you must disclose your agreements regarding the meaning of any Alertable call.


An opening bid on the three or four level typically promises a weak hand (below opening strength) with a long suit. A three-level bid normally suggests a seven-card suit, while a four-level bid suggests an eightbagger. The texture of the long suit can be the deciding factor for some players on whether the hand qualifies for an opening preempt.

The “Sound,” “Light” and “Very Light”

Boxes help your opponents gauge your preempting philosophy. How are these different categories defi ned? There’s a certain subjectivity to these three classes; what’s light for one pair may be very light for another. Here is a guideline for determining which box you should select to best reflect your preempting style:

  • • If you follow the “rule of 500,” meaning that — if doubled — your suit is good enough that you expect to go down no more than two vulnerable or three not vulnerable, check the “Sound” box. This is the most conservative approach.
  • • If you preempt on most reasonable (i.e., with some honor concentration) seven- or eight-card suits, select the “Light” box.
  • • If your style is to preempt even with a bad seven- or eightcard suit, or if you will preempt with fewer cards in the suit than is typically expected, check the “Very Light” box


This line is used to describe either conventional uses for preempts or conventional responses to an opening preempt. (Note the RED color; Alerts are required.)

If you play, for example, that the opening bids of 4♣ and 4 are actually transfers to 4 and 4♠ respectively (a treatment called Namyats), indicate it here.

Another example: If you play that a 4♣ response to a preempt is ace-asking or key-card-asking, describe it on this line.