Main     Lesson 3K by Richard Pavlicek    

Weak Two-Bids

The strong two-bid is almost extinct among good players because strong hands do not occur often enough to justify four opening bids. Bridge is a bidder’s game. The use of an opening bid of 2 D, 2 H or 2 S to show a weak hand allows you to bid more often, especially when the opponents hold the majority of high cards.

Requirements

I recommend an aggressive but sensible use of weak two-bids. Just as with preemptive bids, it pays to get in the bidding at every reasonable opportunity. This creates more problems for your opponents and increases your chance of winning.

My requirements for an opening bid of 2 D, 2 H or 2 S are summarized below:

A six-card suit Q-x-x-x-x-x or better; or a strong five-card suit K-Q-J-x-x or better.

If you are vulnerable the minimum suit holding should be increased to at least Q-J-9-x-x-x or K-Q-J-9-x.

5 to 11 HCP (but if 10-11 HCP your hand should not qualify to open with one)
No side four-card major Q-x-x-x or better

If Partner Has Passed

Weak two-bids in third seat (partner passed as dealer) are not bound by the above requirements. Slight deviations are permissible. For example, you might fudge on the suit quality or your hand might contain Q-x-x-x in a side major suit.

Weak two-bids in fourth seat are rare. The main consideration is that your suit should be a major and you should have at least 8 HCP. Otherwise just pass the deal out.

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Raises

The most common response to a weak two-bid is to raise opener’s suit. Usually this is done to impede or compete against the opponents.

A raise to the 3 level (or to 4 D over 2 D) denies any interest in game. Opener should pass.

1.
S K 2
H A K 9 8 7 2
D 8 7 4
C 7 2
TableS 8 6 3
H Q 6 5
D A Q 5 2
C 6 4 3

West
2 H
North
Pass
East
3 H
South

The purpose of 3 H is to hinder the opponents who can make at least 2 S, perhaps even 4 S.

2.
S 2
H 9 7 5 2
D K Q 10 8 6 4
C K 4
TableS A 7 6 3
H A 6 4
D J 3
C Q 7 6 2

West
2 D
North
2 S
East
3 D
South

East competes to 3 D. If the opponents want to buy it, make them bid 3 S.

A raise to game may be made with a strong hand (about 16-19 points) if you are sure of the best contract, or a weak hand with at least four trumps.

3.
S 2
H Q 9 7 6 4 2
D 10 4 2
C A 8 6
TableS A 8 4
H K 5
D A J 5 3
C K Q 10 2

West
2 H
North
Pass
East
4 H
South
None Vul

West (if nonvulnerable) opens 2 H and East knows exactly where to play.

4.
S A Q J 10 4
H 8 7 2
D Q 7 5 3
C 8
TableS K 9 7 2
H 3
D K 8 4 2
C J 7 6 5

West
2 S
North
Pass
East
4 S
South

Here East does not expect to make 4 S, but the opponents are sure to make a game in 4 H; hence the advance sacrifice bid.

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New Suit Response

Responding to a weak two-bid in a new suit is a controversial topic. Many players treat it as forcing, but I believe it should be nonforcing. The weak two-bidder is allowed to bid again but not required.

A new-suit response shows at least a six-card suit and about 10 to 15 points. Further, this denies two or more cards in opener’s suit after a major weak two-bid.

5.
S 2
H A Q 9 7 5 3
D 5 4 3
C K 8 6
TableS K Q 9 7 6 5
H 2
D A 2
C J 10 7 3

West
2 H
Pass
North
Pass
East
2 S
South
Pass

East’s 2 S is a sensible attempt to improve the contract. West does not bid again because of the misfit.

6.
S A 6 3
H 10 8
D A J 9 8 7 3
C 9 4
TableS 7 5
H A K J 9 7 3
D 2
C K J 10 5

West
2 D
3 H
North
Pass
Pass
East
2 H
4 H
South
Pass

Here West has adequate trump support and a maximum weak two-bid so he raises. East takes a chance and bids game.

7.
S K Q J 7 5 2
H 4 3 2
D Q 8 2
C 2
TableS 3
H J 9 5
D K 6 3
C A K J 8 6 3

West
2 S
North
Pass
East
Pass
South

It would not be wise for East to bid 3 C as it increases the level with no assurance that it will improve the contract.

There’s no way I’m gonna pass a six-bagger.

So the bidding goes:

West
2 S
3 S
4 S
North
Pass
Dbl
Dbl
East
3 C?
4 C?
Call 911!
South
Dbl
Dbl

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Two Notrump Response

The 2 NT response to a weak two-bid is used as an all-purpose forcing bid. This is appropriate if you want to invite game, if you are not sure of the best game, or if you have interest in slam. It is the only way to investigate the final contract.

The 2 NT response requires at least 14 points and it forces the weak two-bidder to bid again.

A variety of methods have been devised for rebidding by the weak two-bidder after the 2 NT response. The easiest and most popular way is called “feature showing” and it works like this:

With a minimum (typically 5-8 HCP) rebid your original suit.
With a maximum (typically 9-11 HCP) bid 3 NT if your suit is headed by the A-K-Q or A-K-J; otherwise bid a suit in which you hold the ace, king or queen.

8.
S K 9 7 5 4 3
H 2
D K 8 5
C 7 3 2
TableS A 2
H A 8 7 6
D 9 7 4 3
C A Q 9

West
2 S
3 S
North
Pass
Pass
East
2 NT
Pass
South
Pass
None Vul

West opens 2 S nonvulnerable (suit is too weak if vulnerable) and East bids 2 NT to try for game. West rebids his suit to show a minimum so East gives up.

9.
S 7 2
H 9 2
D A K Q 8 6 3
C 9 4 3
TableS K 8 3
H A 8 7
D 10 5 2
C A K 6 2

West
2 D
3 NT
North
Pass
Pass
East
2 NT
Pass
South
Pass

Here West has a maximum with all his strength in his suit so he bids 3 NT. East is delighted to pass because he has the other three suits stopped.

10.
S 3
H A J 8 7 5 4
D Q 7 2
C K 10 3
TableS J 7 5 2
H 10 6
D A K J 9
C A Q 2

West
2 H
3 C
North
Pass
Pass
East
2 NT
4 H
South
Pass

West has a maximum weak two-bid so he bids a new suit to show a feature. East then places the final contract.

11.
S A 4
H 9 7 2
D K Q 9 7 5 4
C 7 5
TableS K Q 7 2
H J 3
D A 10 8 2
C A Q 4

West
2 D
3 S
North
Pass
Pass
East
2 NT
5 D
South
Pass

West’s feature in spades makes it clear to East that 3 NT is hopeless (no heart stopper) so he bids 5 D. Had West shown a feature in hearts, East should try 3 NT. Note that East does not raise spades since 3 S does not show a real suit.

12.
S A Q 10 6 4 2
H 3
D K 8 2
C 9 7 6
TableS K 9 8 7
H A K J 8 7 4
D Q 4
C A

West
2 S
3 D
5 D
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
2 NT
4 NT
6 S
South
Pass
Pass

After West shows a feature in diamonds, East can safely use Blackwood. West indicates one ace, then East can bid the slam with a high degree of confidence.

The forcing 2 NT response also applies in competition over an overcall or a takeout double.

13.
S 4 3
H A K J 10 9 8
D 8 2
C J 10 6
TableS 9 7 2
H 7 6 5
D A K 3
C A K 8 2

West
2 H
3 NT
North
2 S
Pass
East
2 NT
4 H
South
Pass

With 14 HCP East is interested in game so he bids 2 NT (a raise to 3 H is just a competitive bid). West shows a maximum with all his strength in hearts, and East corrects to the proper contract.

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If the 2 NT responder next bids a new suit (or the suit in which opener indicated a feature), this shows at least five cards and is forcing if below game.

14.
S 4 2
H 9 6 3
D A Q 8 7 4 2
C 9 7
TableS A 10 8
H A K Q 8 7
D K 3
C J 5 3

West
2 D
3 D
4 H
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
2 NT
3 H
Pass
South
Pass
Pass

Even though West shows a minimum by rebidding his suit, East is not willing to give up on game. 3 H shows at least five hearts and West happily raises. Note that East could not bid 2 H over 2 D because it would be nonforcing.

15.
S 6
H K Q J 10 3
D Q J 6
C 10 9 8 3
TableS A J 9 8 4
H 2
D A K 8 3
C A 7 6

West
2 H
3 D
3 NT
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
2 NT
3 S
Pass
South
Pass
Pass

After West shows a feature in diamonds, East is still unsure of the best contract so he bids 3 S (forcing). West returns to 3 NT (note that East will be declarer) because he does not like spades.

If the 2 NT responder to a major weak two-bid next bids 3 NT, opener may correct to his major if he has a singleton or void.

16.
S A J 10 8 7 4
H 3
D 9 4
C K J 5 3
TableS 5 3
H K Q 7 4
D A Q 8 3
C A 10 4

West
2 S
3 C
4 S
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
2 NT
3 NT
Pass
South
Pass
Pass

East’s 3 NT is a suggestion, not a mandate. West’s hand is highly distributional so he corrects to 4 S. If East wanted to play 3 NT regardless of West’s hand, he should bid 3 NT directly.

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© 2013 Richard Pavlicek