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Context  -  Opening two of a suit - single-suited weak twos

Responder’s continuations

This page last revised 17th Mar 2018

Which suits and how many?


In the early days of weak two-bids 2 was always played as weak alongside weak twos in the majors.  It lost some popularity as alternative applications for the opening bid of 2 were developed.  The majority of tournament players are likely to play something such as a multi-2, but the natural weak interpretation has made something of a come-back, and rightly so.


There is in principle no reason why these bids should not be used in each and every suit.


However, I have only once come across a weak 2 - most partnerships have other more pressing needs for this bid.

If you wish to venture down this path then its obstructive effect will be much the same as a weak 2 (see below).  It is certainly arguable that the bid is at least as effective as a weak 2.

On this page I shall confine my attentions to weak twos in the other three suits.


A weak two in any suit will be reasonably effective in itself against timid or unprepared opponents.


Against organised opponents, though, by themselves they are not amazingly effective.  An opening bid of 2 certainly puts some pressure on the opponents, but 2 and 2 are unlikely to stop the opponents locating their game contract, or indeed a part-score, particularly if it is in spades.


The true preemptive effect comes into play on those occasions when responder can raise the suit rapidly to the three- or preferably the four-level based on little more than the level of fit.

Even then they won’t always win the bidding contest when overcaller is able to show a good hand and at least a five-card suit with a natural suit overcall, or perhaps a two-suiter with some device such as ‘leaping Michael’s’, but when overcaller can only double to show a good hand and probably promising a four-card major it will be a different matter.


2  If responder passes or raises to 3 then advancer is unlikely to have any difficulty in bidding 4 facing either an overcall of 3 or a double, but if responder can raise rapidly to 4 then advancer has a real decision - pass, bid 5 or double - particularly when facing his partner’s double.

2  Advancer will have little difficulty in bidding 4 following either an overcall or a double from partner, even when facing a preemptive raise to 4.

2  When partner can overcall on a five-card major advancer will have little difficulty in bidding the game with either three- or four-card support, unless the overcalling side dare to compete to the five-level.  If however, overcaller doubles (probably promising one four-card major) then advancer has a much more difficult task in bidding four of a major over a preemptive raise to 4 when he himself holds four cards in either or both majors.

5 3

K Q 8 2

K 6 5 4

A T 2

Well?

You

LHO

Pard

RHO


2

x

4

?








K Q 8 2

5 3

K 6 5 4

A T 2

Bid 4.

Easy.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO


2

x

4

?








K Q 8 2

5 3

K 6 5 4

A T 2

Well?

4 is quite likely to be the winning move, but it may well be on a 4-3 fit.

If partner’s suit is hearts it could be a disaster.

You

LHO

Pard

RHO


2

x

4

?









Clearly this is a very specific set of sequences which I have chosen to look at above, and there is no doubt that any one of these bids will win the part-score battle more than occasionally, but it is also clear in my mind that 2 is by far the most effective of the weak twos, 2 can be effective on occasion, and that 2 will frequently do little to hinder the opponents.


Most club partnerships will play such bids either in both majors or in three suits - diamonds, hearts and spades - and, as a general rule, writers and teachers tend to consider it obvious that the weak twos in the majors will be the more effective preemptive bids.


My recommended starter system incorporates weak twos in all three suits.


But if you want to branch out, consider playing a single-suited weak two just in spades, or in spades and diamonds, and perhaps looking for some other way of utilising the 2 bid.

You may well prefer to use the bid for either ‘assumed fit’, or ‘Flannery’ as you develop your partnership system.


For many years I had thought that the concept of 2 being less effective was an idiosyncratic notion of my own shared by no one else. However I have recently come across a similar sentiment hinted at by Chris Ryall on his web site.  The idea therefore carries some pedigree.


The rest of the room might express total incredulity as you make some other selection of weak bids, but both Chris Ryall (I hope I am correct in putting these words in his mouth) and I will look on approvingly.

Post intermediate and above