Edited and updated 6-14-11
opening bid of 2D, 2H, or 2S (not 2C)
- Describing a hand with a strongish
- Along with 7-9 HCP (6 or 10 HCP are exceptions, particularly
It can be compared to an opening three bid, the difference is that a three bid normally
shows a seven-card suit.
The distribution of the bidder’s Weak Two hand rates to be
Notice: no five card side suits, no voids.
Suit strength can vary with the vulnerability
and seat. Ideally three or four of the top five honors will
head the suit. Practically, two of the top five honors along with
the 98 or 97 attached will do just fine, thank you. Suits that look
like: AK10765, AK9732, KQ9732, AJ9843, QJ10432, KJ9765 are fine.
In addition, at favorable vulnerability liberties are allowed, particularly
in 3rd seat.
Third seat weak twos (after
partner has passed) are often made with a strong 5-card suit as
a lead director. Partner is supposed to have four card support plus
a side suit singleton or two side suit doubletons to raise a third
seat weak two. Discipline!
Opening the following hand-type with 2S in THIRD seat eliminates the necessity for
many light third hand openings:
The advantages of opening
a weak two are:
(1) limiting the hand immediately;
the opening lead;
(3) taking away bidding space from the opponents.
Assume you deal and hold:
Not playing weak twos,
you pass and hope to bid hearts later. However
"later" may not happen!
You can hardly expect your partner to lead a heart unless you beat on your chest. How
much easier (and safer) to open 2H, limit the hand, and get the lead you want.
Before considering your
response, keep in mind that your partner has about 7/8 HCP along
with a reasonable six card suit.
Your response depends
to a large extent on how well you fit your partner's suit (unless you
are blessed with an independent suit that can play opposite a singleton
- With a singleton in partner's suit and no strong suit of your own, do not even think
of bidding on unless you have 16+ HCP.
- With a small doubleton
in partner's suit, you need about 15 HCP to bid on. However, with
a doubleton honor (Ax, Kx, Qx), and an interesting looking hand
(no wasted jacks or queens), 14 HCP will suffice.
- Hands with three or four
card support normally do something. Frequently you "further
the preempt" by raising partner to the three or four level.
All you need is a little distribution plus a bunch of courage! Keep
in mind the opponents figure to have a game, possibly a slam, so
if they nail you with a penalty double and beat you a few tricks
it may still be a good result.
Rule: WHEN YOU AND YOUR PARTNER HAVE A 9-CARD FIT
OR LONGER, THE OPPONENTS MUST HAVE AT LEAST AN 8-CARD FIT OR LONGER
IN ANOTHER SUIT.
Your advantage is that
you know where your fit lies; the opponents have yet to find theirs. By raising your partner’s suit, you make it that much harder for your
opponents to uncover their fit.
Assume for the moment that your partner opens 2H and your right hand opponent passes.
North (partner) East South (you) West
2H Pass ?
What are your options?
think of bidding on with the example beneath.
AJxx H. 2 D. KJ54 C.
(2) Bidding a new suit:
suit in response to a weak two bid is forcing for one round.
Responder must have at least a strong five card suit, more
likely longer, with opening bid values. With the example
hand beneath, bid 2S, forcing for one round.
AKJ943 H. 2 D. AQ10 C.
(3) Raising to 3H:
This is strictly preemptive and opener is not allowed to bid on. Ever!
Responder could have less than the example hand that follows.
S. 87 H. K43 D. A9432 C. 976 Raise
(4) Raising to 4H
(a two-edged sword).
You may have a good hand with
hopes of making 4H, or you may be furthering the preempt, taking
an advance sacrifice, so to speak. The opponents now have
to find their fit at the four or five level never having had a chance
to exchange any information and not know for sure what your intentions
were. Raise to 4H with either hand.
S. AKJ3 H. Q5 D. 4 C. A76432
S. 4 H. KJ43 D. KJ743 C. 1087
(5) Responding 2
A one round force asking partner to further describe the
hand. At this point the opener has several options.
- Return to the original suit: The weakest of all rebids.
- Raise to 3NT: Should only be done with a suit
headed by the AQJ, AKJ, or exceptionally the AKQ.
- Show a feature — perhaps an ace or a king.
For example, having
opened 2H with:
S. 54 H. AJ10xxx D.
54 C. K105
In response to 2NT, bid
3C to show where your side suit strength lies.
(A 2NT response followed
by a new suit is forcing.) If partner then
returns to the three level of the agreed suit, you are allowed
to pass, but the sequence is invitational.
(6) Responding 3NT:
This response ENDS the bidding. Responder is not interested in hearing
any more about opener's hand. Responder usually has
a solid minor perhaps with a singleton or void in opener's suit.
An example hand for a 3NT response to a 2H opening:
S. K4 H. 2 D. AKQJ876 C.
(7) Responding 4NT:
Simple Blackwood, perhaps Key Card Blackwood ( to be determined
by the partnership).
(8) Responding 4C:
Some partnerships now play that a jump
to 4C after any Weak Two opening bid is keycard for opener's suit.
This assumes that a 3C response would be forcing. This treatment is recommended. It allows you to sign off at four of the major if two keycards are missing.
There is a new set of responses, however, as the opener is not going to have 3 or 4 keycards!
- When spades is the agreed suit, these are the step responses to the jump to 4C:
First step=0 or 2, 2nd step=1, 3rd step=1 with the queen.
If partner signs off after a 0 or 2 response, do not pass with 2. Jump to slam with the trump queen, bid 4NT without the trump suit queen. Your 4NT bid allows partner to ask about your exact holding in another suit.
- When hearts is the agreed suit, these are the step responses to the jump to 4C:
First step=0 or 2, 2nd step=1. If partner wishes to ask about the HQ he bids 4S. Without the HQ, signoff at 5H. With the HQ, show any side suit king you may have and bid 5NT without a side suit king.
When your opponents open
with a weak two, you should have some simple defense to counteract
the preemptive effect of the bid.
East's opening bid is 2H, and you are South. Here are suggested defenses:
Strongish 5 card suit,
usually a 6 bagger at the two level, 6 card suit presumed at the
three level with opening bid values.
Double — Takeout: same strength as needed to double a 1H opening bid.
2NT — 15-18 balanced. Same as a 1NT overcall of a 1H opening bid.
With 15 HCP, a double stopper or a five or six card trick taking side suit is suggested.
3H — The cue bid shows some solid suit (usually a minor) and asks partner to bid 3NT with
a stopper in the opener's suit.
4C or 4D — Leaping Michaels. A poweful two-suiter with the minor
you are bidding plus the unbid major. The distribution
should be 5-5 or 5-6. (The six card suit the minor). The jump is
not forcing, but partner needs next to nothing to bid game.
Assume your right hand opponent opens 2H. What would you bid with
each of the following hands?
(1) S. AJ54 H. 65 D.
KJ87 C. AJ3
(2) S. K87 H.
32 D. KQ987 C.
(3) S. 54 H. AJ108 D.
AK87 C. 654
(4) S. KQ987 H. 2 D.
AKJ983 C. 3
(5) S. 2 H. 43 D.
KQ987 C. AQJ98
(6) S. A7 H. 87 D.
A7 C. AKQJ976
(7) S. 987 H. AJ9 D.
AKJ8 C. K98
(8) S. 8 H. AJ87 D.
KQ87 C. KJ65
(1) Double — You
would have doubled a 1H opening wouldn't you?, so double a 2H opening.
(2) Pass — You
should have a 6-card suit to overcall at the three level, particularly
a three level minor suit overcall.
(3) Pass — And
hope partner reopens with a double.
(4) 4D — Leaping
Michaels. A powerful diamond/spade two suiter.
(5) 3D — The cue bid asks for a stopper. Partner will
expect 6 diamonds, but if you bid clubs later, partner will play
you for 5-5.
(6) 3H — Shows a solid suit and asks partner to bid 3NT with a stopper in
(7) 2NT — Shows
15-18 balanced with at least one stopper in their suit.
(8) Pass — There
is no sane bid at this point to describe this hand.
When you play Weak Twos,
your only forcing opening bid is an artificial 2C bid. You show your "real" suit or your strong notrump
hand (22-24 HCP) (27-28) at your next opportunity.
A positive suit response
to a 2C opening shows at least five cards in the suit, typically,
but not necessarily, headed by three of the top five honors or two
of the top four honors with 7+ HCP. A positive response
should show at least one ace or two kings. Some play that a suit response promises two of the top three honors. I am not in this camp.
These hands qualify for a positive
response of 2H if partner opens 2C (unless you play that the response
absolutely promises 2 of the top 3 honors).
(1) S. A3 H. QJ1054 D. J98 C.
(2) S. 2 H. KJ873 D. KJ932 C.
(3) S. K4 H. A97643 D. 32 C.
One popular method for responding
to 2C is to use 2D as a waiting response, which means next to nothing.
A 2D response denies a long, strong suit, but does not deny a strong
hand. Many others use a 2H response to show a bust hand. No, ace, no king, and not as much as two queens. Those that use this response respond 2NT to show a positive response in hearts.
Say you hold — S. AJ43 H. K764 D. J10 C. J76 —Respond
2D. You will catch up later.
Here are a few common sequences that begin with 2C-2D. Assume you
are the responder.
Opener Responder (you)
S. AKJ986 S. 3
H. A104 H.
D. AKJ D. 986
C. 2 C.
2 Clubs 2 Diamonds
2 Spades 3 Hearts
4 Hearts Pass
Opener knows that you
do not have a strong heart suit or a particularly good hand.
Had you a stronger hand, you would have responded 2H directly.
In this sequence you show five or six hearts with 4-6 HCP.
S. AKJ10987 S. 2
H. AK3 H. J9875
D. A4 D. 10876
C. 2 C.
2 Clubs 2 Diamonds
2 Spades ?
At this point you have
to bid something. The 2 diamond response has not shown a weak hand
and if you bid 3H, partner will play you for more than this!
When you have been dealt
a miserable hand (0-3 HCP), your first obligation after your obligatory
2D response is to let partner in on this terrible secret. You do
this by by bidding “cheaper minor” called a 'double negative'. After
partner rebids 2H or 2S, bid 3C. This 3C bid does not show
clubs, in fact it shows nothing. It means you have a nothing hand.
Had partner rebid 3C over your 2D response, 3D is your double negative.
If partner rebids 3D over 2D, there is no double negative.
Good luck. In the preceding example, you rebid 3C after the 2S bid and partner, knowing you have garbage signs off at 4S. Rebidding 3S after the 3C response would not be forcing. Those that respond 2H originally do not have the follow up problem of how to show a bust. They have already shown one! Incidentally, playing that 2H shows a double negative, 2NT substitues for a positive respond in hearts.
A 2C opening is a game
force unless the bidding proceeds:
Even though opener shows
22-24 HCP, responder is allowed to pass. You can imagine
what kind of hand responder must have to pass 2NT.
S. 983 H. 87
D. 10874 C. J432 This hand looks like a good
candidate to pass 2NT.
3C (double negative)
As mentioned, 3H is not forcing, but partner needs very little to carry on to 4H. An eensy-weensy breath of a trick is enough. If opener bids a new suit, responder cannot pass.
H. 32 D. 743 C. 6432
This looks like the right hand to pass 3H in the preceding sequence.
Notrump Rebids By The 2C Opener
When playing weak twos,
a 2C opening followed by a 2NT rebid shows 22-24 HCP.
An opening bid of 2NT shows 20-21 HCP.
2 clubs 2 diamonds
2 NT ?
At this point, 3C by you is Stayman, and if you play transfers, they are “on’ as well.
Basically, you respond the same way as you would to an opening
bid of 2NT. The only difference is that your partner has 22-24 high
card points as opposed to 20-21.
When using Weak Twos, the 3 NT opening shows 25-26 HCP. A 2C opening
following by 3NT shows 27-28 HCP. Don’t hold your breath.
Most common responses to a 2C opening:
||Positive - at least 6-7 HCP with a respectable five or six card suit.
||A response to be avoided because it wrong sides the play if
partner has a balanced hand. Partnerships can work out what this should mean.
||6 or 7 card ONE loser suit
(KQJxxx, AQJxxx, AKJxxx)
S. Q98 S.
H. K853 H.
D. 105 D.
C. QJ102 C.
South West North East
2C Pass 2D Pass
2NT Pass 3C* Pass
3S Pass 4S
Opening Lead: CQ
Declarer wins the opening lead, plays the ace-king of spades leaving the queen at large,
cashes a second club, and begins to run diamonds. If West trumps in, West must break
hearts or give South a ruff and a sluff. Either way South loses two more tricks. If
West stubbornly refuses to trump a diamond, South exits with a trump and West must either
lead a heart or give South a ruff and sluff. Notice that South shuns the trump finesse,
using the queen of spades as a throw-in card to force a heart play.
(1) Both sides vulnerable
S. QJ107 S.
H. 863 H.
D. AQ42 D.
C. J9 C.
South West North East
2H Pass 4H AllPass
Opening Lead: Spade Queen
Bidding Analysis: North
bids 4 hearts to play. When your partner only has 7-8 HCP, you need
a pretty good hand to raise to game.
Play Analysis: South must play to establish the clubs for the tenth trick, keeping
the diamond finesse (leading up to the king) in reserve.Win the spade ace, cash the HJ and assuming both follow, play the
ace-king and ruff a club high, enter dummy with a trump, ruff another club high, draw
trumps ending in dummy and discard a losing spade on the fifth club.
Now you can lead up to
the DK for an overtrick. Sorry, not this time.
S. KQJ974 S.
H. Q85 H.
South West North East
1D 2S Pass Pass
Double Pass 3 C Pass
3D Pass 4
5D All Pass
Opening Lead: Spade King
Bidding Analysis: This
hand was included to illustrate that a weak jump overcall (West's
2S bid) is very similar to a Weak Two opening bid. Had West dealt,
West would have opened 2S. South shows a powerful hand by doubling
and then rebidding his suit. With a weaker hand, South would bid 3 diamonds without doubling.
Play Analysis: South must use both dummy entries to take two heart finesses. South
winds up losing one heart and one spade.
(3) Neither side vulnerable
S. K75 S.
H. AJ9843 H.
D. 108 D.
West North East South
2H Double Pass 3NT
Opening Lead: Heart 8
Bidding Analysis: North's double shows an opening bid or better, typically with heart
shortness. South’s jump to 3NT is obvious.
Play Analysis: South knows
that West has a 6-card heart suit and should duck the H10 knowing
that East has a doubleton heart. After East returns a heart,
it is safe for South to take the club finesse. Even though it loses,
South has 9 tricks without needing the spade finesse: 4 diamonds,
3 clubs and a trick in each of the majors. If South wins the first
heart, East has a heart return upon getting in with the CK.
(4) Neither side vulnerable
S. J32 S.
H. 7 H.
D. J54 D.
C. AKQ983 C.
South West North East
2C 3C Pass Pass
3D Pass 3S Pass
5D All Pass
Opening Lead: CK (Some lead the Q from the AKQ)
Bidding Analysis: North passes to show a weak hand and later shows a 5 or 6-card spade
suit over South's forcing 3D rebid. South closes the bidding with 5D, looking
at what appears to be 11 sure tricks.
Looks can be deceiving.
Defensive Analysis: West plays three rounds of clubs and East cleverly trumps the third
club with the D10. After South overtrumps, West’s DJ becomes the setting
trick. East’s neat play is known as an "uppercut".
Note: Some play that after interference
to a 2C opening bid, 'double' shows a double negative hand (no ace
or king, no two queens) and passing shows at least one king, likely