How can a two bid mean two different things?

A bid of 2 clubs is a strong bid and demands a response from partner; a bid of 2 diamonds, 2 hearts, or 2 spades is a weak bid that does not demand any response.

In most situations, responder will pass partner’s weak two bid. He must, however, respond to partner’s 2 club bid, even if he has NO points in his hand.

Weak two-bids require a six-card suit to open and fewer than 10 points; they are obstructive to the opponent, making it hard for the enemy to bid accurately.

The advantages of the weak two bid are:

  • It allows the opener to describe a very specific hand, one that is weak in honor count but strong in distribution;
  • It helps partner to judge your side’s trick-taking potential;
  • It interferes with the opponents’ ability to find their best contract;
  • And, if you must defend, it steers the opening lead in the right direction – provided, of course, you resist the tendency to open (preempt) trash.

Have you heard any of these views about weak two-bids?

Always have two of the top three honors or three of the top five; never have an 11 point hand; never open a weak-two with a 4-card major; never open a weak-two with a void; never have an outside 5-card suit; always respond to preemptor with an opening hand; never bid again after you make a weak two-bid.

Now, what two words rarely enter a bridge discussion?

“Always” and “never.” As we explore the weak two bids, you will discover which of the above never’s and always’s work for you and your partner.

While these 2 bids are weak, the opening 2 club bid is the strongest opening bid a player can make. It is a bid that shows partner has 22 or more points, and partner may not pass this bid because it says nothing about clubs, and partner could possibly have 28 points, which is enough for game.

Most of the time when your partner opens 2 clubs, you will respond with a 2 diamond waiting bid. This bid says nothing about diamonds – it simply asks partner to describe his hand. Is it balanced? Is it unbalanced?

Do you always need 22 points to open 2 clubs? Must you always respond 2 diamonds, when partner opens 2 clubs? Is there a way to tell the opener that you have no points? Do all opening 2 club bids end up in game or slam?

These are questions you need to make sure you and partner agree upon.

Calling all social bridge players: The Lowcountry Bridge Connection is considering conducting a Hilton Head Island Social Bridge championship game on Feb. 10 at the Marriott and will do so if a sufficient number of four-person teams express interest. Email lowcountry with questions or expressions of interest.

Kathie Walsh is a certified ABTA teacher at Hilton Head Island Bridge Club.