Bridge Basics 1TA5 Main

Lesson 8

 by Richard Pavlicek

Two Club Opening

Occasionally your hand will be too strong for an opening bid of one of a suit. Traditionally, you would open with a two-bid in your longest suit; but that is a poor method — the “strong two-bid” is extinct among good players. You should play weak two-bids in diamonds, hearts and spades, and use two clubs as the only strong bid. To be specific:

A 2 C opening requires 23 points or more.

The two-club opening is an artificial bid — it does not suggest a real club suit — and it is forcing.

Responses to Two Clubs

If your partner opens two clubs, you cannot pass — even with no points. Most of the time you will respond two diamonds, which is the negative response to show 0-7 HCP. Like the two-club opening, this is artificial; you may have any hand pattern.

If you’re lucky enough to hold 8 or more HCP (do not count distributional points at your first turn), you have several options. You may bid any five-card or longer suit — except with diamonds you must bid three diamonds because two diamonds is a weak response. With a balanced hand you may bid two notrump.

Below is a summary of the responses to two clubs:

HCPHand PatternResponse
0-7Any2 D
8+5+ card suit2 H, 2 S, 3 C or 3 D
Balanced2 NT

Rebids by Two Club Opener

After you open two clubs, most of the time partner will respond two diamonds (negative). Now is the time to show your real suit which requires five or more cards or to bid notrump with a balanced hand. This is summarized in the table below:

23+5+ card suit2 H, 2 S, 3 C or 3 D
23-24Balanced2 NT

Opener’s suit rebid is forcing — responder must bid again, even with no points. Opener’s notrump rebid is not forcing because it is restricted to a narrow point range.

Weak Opening Bids

Any suit opening bid from two diamonds through five diamonds is a weak bid — less strength than an opening one-bid. Opener usually holds 6-10 HCP but this is not a strict requirement.

An opening bid of two diamonds, two hearts or two spades typically shows a six-card suit. An opening bid of three of any suit suggests a seven-card suit. An opening bid of four of any suit (or five of a minor) suggests an eight-card suit. Here is a summary, but remember that the HCP and length are typical, not absolute:

HCPLengthOpening Bid
6-1062 D, 2 H or 2 S
73 of any suit
84 of any suit, 5 C or 5 D

Bridge Basics 1TA5 MainTop Lesson 8

Notrump Structure

You should be well familiar with an opening bid of one notrump to show 16-18 HCP and a balanced hand. Now is a good time to learn the complete notrump structure — that is, how the opening bidder describes balanced hands of any strength from 13 to 28 points.

The structure utilizes the opening bids you have already learned, plus it introduces the two- and three-notrump openings. In each case opener shows a balanced hand. This is the structure:

HCPOpening BidRebid
13-151 of suit1 NT
16-181 NT
19-201 of suitJump to 2 NT
21-222 NT
23-242 C2 NT
25-263 NT
27-282 CJump to 3 NT

Observe that opener can describe his hand in one bid if he is able to open one notrump, two notrump or three notrump. Otherwise it takes two bids to complete the description.

Responses to Two Notrump

If partner opens the bidding two notrump (21-22 HCP), the responses are similar to those after a one-notrump opening. The main difference is that responder now needs fewer points to bid game — only 4 points instead of the usual 10. The responses are summarized below:

PointsHand PatternResponse
4+5+ card major3 H or 3 S
4-106+ card major4 H or 4 S
Any3 NT

After a response of three hearts or three spades, opener should raise with three or more trumps; otherwise, he should rebid three notrump.

Bridge Basics 1TA5 MainTop Lesson 8

Quiz 8

Assume you are the dealer. How many high-card points do you have and what is your call?

Enter calls like this: P 1H 2C 3N 4S 6D

1. S A K Q
H A J 9HCP  
D K JCall  
C A 9 7 5 3

2. S A Q J 9 7 6 5
H 2HCP  
D 8 3Call  
C J 8 2

3. S A K Q 9 6
H A K 7 4HCP  
D K Q 6Call  
C 2

4. S K Q J 7
D A K Q 9Call  
C K 10

5. S 9 2
H A 2HCP  
D A K J 2Call  
C A K J 8 2

6. S A Q 2
H A K Q 6HCP  
D A K 8Call  
C J 9 2


Top Lesson 8

Partner opens the bidding as shown. Fill in the response you would make and also your rebid if required.

7. S 8 7 6
H K J 8 5
D 9 7 2
C Q 10 2
2 C
2 NT

8. S Q J 4 2
H A 8 2
D Q 8 2
C 8 5 4
2 C
3 H

9. S J 8 3
H K 9 7 3 2
D 8 2
C 9 7 6
2 C
2 S

10. S Q 10 8 7 6
H J 8 6 2
D 9 7 2
C 2
2 C
3 C

11. S A J 9 8 5
H 2
D Q 10 8 2
C 4 3 2
2 NT

12. S A 9 2
H 7 2
D 10 8 2
C J 9 8 7 4
2 NT


Top Lesson 8

© 2012 Richard Pavlicek