Main   Study 3K81 by Richard Pavlicek  

Pavlicek Weak Two-Bids

Almost all duplicate players use weak two-bids, but few take full advantage of the opportunities. It is widely accepted that bridge is a “bidder’s game,” and the weak two-bid provides a means for increasing your activity. Getting into the bidding first, and often, is a winning strategy.

I have long been an advocate of undisciplined (but sensible) weak two-bids. The main drawback was that partner would sometimes bid a hopeless game or slam. Therefore, I devised a responding structure to cater to this aggressive style.

Responses & Rebids

After any weak two-bid, the basic responses are:

ResponseMeaning
2 NTArtificial; only force
New suitNatural; constructive
RaiseObstructive

After a 2 NT response to a major, opener rebids as follows:

RebidMeaning
3 C5 card opening
3 DAverage or max
Same majorWorst hand
Other majorNatural; 4 cards
3 NTA-K-Q or A-K-J

After a 2 NT response to 2 D, the rebids are slightly different:

RebidMeaning
3 C5 card opening
3 DWorst hand
3 H/SStopper in major bid
3 NTNo major-suit stopper

TopMain

Examples

Below are eight examples of the responding structure. Vulnerability is stated when significant.

1. None Vul
S Q 8 6 5 4 3
H 2
D 8 6 2
C K 6 2
Table S K J 2
H A 8 6 3
D Q 5 3
C A Q 7

2 S
3 S
Pass
Pass
2 NT
Pass
Pass

The 2 S bid is acceptable nonvulnerable. The 3 S rebid shows “the worst” (implying most wouldn’t even open) so responder is warned not to bid a terrible game.

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

2 H
3 D
Pass
Pass
Pass
2 NT
3 H
Pass
Pass

Opener’s 3 D shows a typical (or better) weak two-bid. The return to 3 H allows opener to bid again with the best hand; but here he has nothing extra.

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

2 S
3 D
4 S
Pass
Pass
2 NT
3 S
Pass
Pass

This time opener has a maximum so he continues to game over 3 S. Note how the structure allows responder to cater to three ranges: worst, average and best.

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

2 D
3 H
Pass
Pass
2 NT
3 NT
Pass

Opener shows a respectable hand with a heart stopper, leading to the obvious game. Had opener shown a spade stopper, responder should bid 4 S to play.

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

2 D
3 NT
Pass
Pass
2 NT
5 D
Pass

When opener shows no major stopper, responder wisely removes 3 NT. Note that opener is marked for the C A, else he would have rebid 3 D.

6. None Vul
S 9 7 4
H 2
D A Q J 9 4
C 10 8 7 2
Table S A 8 6 3
H A K Q 8 5
D K 3
C 4 3

2 D
3 C
3 NT
Pass
Pass
Pass
2 NT
3 H
Pass
Pass
Pass

Opener shows a 5 card diamond suit, and 3 H is natural and forcing. Opener returns to 3 NT to deny support (switch opener’s majors and he would raise to 4 H).

7. None Vul
S Q J 10 8 7
H 5 3
D A 7 5 2
C 4 2
Table S A 4
H A K 9 6
D K 8 3
C A J 8 7

2 S
3 C
Pass
Pass
2 NT
3 NT
Pass

When opener shows only a 5 card spade suit, responder is able to reach the normal contract, as others will do quite easily after an original pass. Examples 6 and 7 are borderline openings vulnerable; personally I would open Hand 6 but pass Hand 7.

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

2 H
3 S
Pass
Pass
2 S
4 S
Pass

The 2 S response is nonforcing, though opener should bid again with his useful hand. If opener’s spades and clubs were switched, he should pass 2 S.

Alert!

On your convention card you should describe weak two-bids as “5+ cards, 5-10 HCP.” Also, you must alert the special rebids (not the 2 NT response).

TopMain

Advanced Gimmick

After a 2 NT response to a major weak two-bid and a 3 C rebid to show a 5-card opening, 3 D is artificial. Opener must bid three of his major with a minimum (5-7 HCP).

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

2 H
3 C
3 NT
Pass
Pass
Pass
2 NT
3 D
4 H
Pass
Pass

Responder’s 3 D is artificial and opener bids 3 NT to show he is not minimum. Without the C Q opener would bid 3 H and responder would pass.

TopMain

In Competition

If the weak two-bid is overcalled or doubled for takeout, the same basic structure applies insofar as it is possible.

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

2 H
3 NT
2 S
Pass
2 NT
Pass
Pass

Responder’s 2 NT is the same as without the 2 S overcall (stopper is coincidental) and opener shows a strong 6-carder, A-K-J or better. Responder can count 9 tricks in notrump with a spade lead, so he leaves it there. (Note that 4 H is likely to fail.)

11.
S K J 10 9 8 4
H 3
D K 10 2
C 7 6 5
Table S Q 6 2
H A 8 4 2
D 9 3
C A K 4 2

2 S
3 D
Pass
Dbl
Pass
2 NT
3 S
Pass
Pass

The double is virtually ignored. Opener shows an average to maximum opening (good judgment not to consider it “worst”) and responder returns to 3 S to leave an out. With a maximum, opener would continue to game.

If an opponent bids after the 2 NT response, the structure is off. Basically, opener should pass with all bad hands. With a sound opening bid naturally with offensive values (shapely or short in enemy suit) or double with defensive values.

12.
S 8 2
H A Q 10 8 7 6
D K 9 2
C 4 3
Table S A 9 3
H K 2
D A Q 8 7 3
C J 5 2

2 H
Dbl
Pass
Pass
2 NT
4 H
3 S

Opener’s double shows a good opening (not penalty) and responder bids the sensible game. (Without the double responder should sell out to 3 S.)

TopMain

© 2012 Richard Pavlicek