Lesson 3L   Main

# Strong Two-Club Bid

by Richard Pavlicek

The use of weak two-bids is limited to three suits (2 , 2 and 2 ). An opening bid of 2 is reserved for the strong hands regardless of the suit actually held. This lesson explains the requirements to open 2 , and the responses and rebids thereafter.

## Requirements

An opening bid of 2 requires at least 23 points or a hand with a self-sufficient suit that is at least within one trick of game. The main difference between 2  and all the other opening bids is this:

An opening bid of 2 is forcing and artificial (it does not necessarily show a club suit).

The best way to understand when to open 2 is to see how it fits in with other openings. The following two tables summarize the general opening bid strategy:

Unbalanced Hands
13-22 points1 of a suit
23+ points2

Balanced Hands
12-14 HCP1 of a suit
15-17 HCP1 NT
18-19 HCP1 of a suit
20-22 HCP2 NT
23-24 HCP2
25-26 HCP3 NT
27+ HCP2

The above table presumes the popular 15-17 1 NT opening. If you prefer the traditional way, the first four ranges become 13-15, 16-18, 19-20 and 21-22 (higher ranges are the same).

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## The Negative Response

Most of the time the partner of the 2 bidder will have a weak hand and he should make the negative response of 2 . Count high-card points only at your first response.

With 0 to 7 HCP respond 2 regardless of your hand pattern.

After the negative 2 response opener must describe what kind of hand he has for his 2 bid.

With an unbalanced hand opener should bid 2 , 2 , 3 or 3 . These rebids are forcing.

 1. A 2 A K J 4 3 A K Q 10 4 3 K J 4 3 10 8 2 4 3 9 7 6 5

 2 2 4 PassPassPass 2 3 Pass PassPass

East responds 2 (0-7 HCP) then West shows his real suit. East raises to show three trumps and West goes to game.

 2. A K Q 7 4 — A K J 8 4 K 8 3 2 Q 7 6 4 Q 10 9 2 J 9 7 6

 2 2 3 5 PassPassPassPass 2 2 NT4 Pass PassPassPass

East does not like spades so he rebids 2 NT. When West shows his second suit, East raises and West bids game.

 3. 2 K Q 7 2 A K J A K Q 10 9 K 9 8 4 3 8 6 3 Q 10 4 2 3

 2 3 3 NT PassPassPass 2 3 Pass PassPass

West shows his longest suit (clubs) then, when East indicates a spade suit, he uses good judgment to bid 3 NT.

Confucius say: Man with strength for two clubs is one mean dude.

 4. A K 2 A K J K Q J 10 9 3 3 Q J 4 Q 9 6 5 4 2 9 7 6 4

 2 3 4 PassPassPass 2 3 Pass PassPass

West is happy to raise East’s heart suit, rather than play in a minor.

With a balanced hand opener should bid 2 NT with 23-24 HCP or 3 NT with 27-28 HCP. These rebids are nonforcing.

 5. A Q K Q 8 A Q J 9 2 A J 3 10 8 3 7 3 10 8 4 Q 9 8 6 2

 2 2 NT PassPass 2 3 NT Pass

West shows 23-24 HCP. East is not required to bid again, but with 2 HCP he correctly continues to 3 NT.

 6. K J 9 5 A Q A K 9 3 A Q 4 Q 10 8 4 10 9 7 3 8 2 J 6 2

 2 2 NT3 PassPassPass 2 3 4 PassPass

After the 2 NT rebid the bidding is just as if the opening bid were 2 NT. Hence 3 is Stayman; opener indicates a four-card spade suit, and East raises to game.

 7. A J 9 A K 9 A K Q 3 K Q J 10 6 2 Q 8 2 9 7 2 A 9 7 2

 2 3 NT PassPass 2 6 NT Pass

West shows 27 or 28 HCP and East does his arithmetic to bid a slam.

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## The Second Negative

You may have noted in examples 1-4 that responder’s hand had some potential even though it was weak. A problem arises when responder has a worthless or near-worthless hand and he is forced to bid again. The recommended procedure is to use what is commonly called the “second negative.”

After a 2 response to 2 and a suit rebid by opener, a rebid of 3 (or 3 over opener’s 3 ) is an artificial waiting bid. This indicates 0-4 HCP.

 8. A K A Q 9 7 5 A 4 A K 9 2 8 6 4 2 J 4 2 8 2 10 6 4 3

 2 2 3 NT PassPassPass 2 3 4 PassPass

East intends to support hearts (after 2 ) but he first bids 3 to indicate a terrible hand. Compare example 1.

 9. A K Q 9 8 5 3 J 3 A K 9 3 6 4 10 8 6 5 4 8 7 3 8 7 2

 2 2 3 PassPassPass 2 3 Pass PassPass

West rebids his spade suit to indicate “within a trick of game in hand.” East can contribute nothing so he passes.

 10. A K 10 4 A K 2 4 A Q J 10 3 Q 8 5 3 9 7 6 3 8 6 2 8 2

 2 3 3 PassPassPass 2 3 4 PassPass

East’s 3 is a waiting bid, West shows his second suit and East raises to game. In this case West’s 3  bid is a new suit and it is forcing. Compare example 9.

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## Positive Responses

If responder has at least 8 HCP, he should make a positive response to the 2 opening. This not only indicates that game is assured but also that a slam is probable (23 + 8 = 31 points) unless each player has the minimum strength for his bid.

With 8+ HCP bid a five-card or longer suit (2 , 2 , 3 or 3 ) or 2 NT if balanced.

 11. A K J 2 K 2 A K Q 9 7 4 2 4 A J 10 8 4 J 10 8 Q 9 8 7

 2 3 4 NT6 PassPassPassPass 2 4 5 Pass PassPassPass

East shows a positive response with five hearts, West shows his long suit and East raises. West uses Blackwood to bid the excellent slam.

 12. 5 4 3 A K Q J 8 7 4 A A 8 6 2 2 K Q 8 5 4 K 10 7 6 4

 2 3 4 PassPassPass 3 4 Pass PassPass

West’s hand qualifies for 2 because it is within a trick of game. East shows both of his suits and then gives up on slam when opener can only repeat his heart suit.

 13. A 2 K Q 3 A Q J 4 A K 7 5 K 9 7 3 A J 9 8 3 2 Q 10 2

 2 3 NT PassPass 2 NT6 NT Pass

East shows a balanced hand of 8+ HCP. West shows minimum values by bidding 3 NT, but East knows that 23 + 10 = 33. Without the Q, East would pass 3 NT.

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## Enemy Interference

The opponents do not always go quietly when you open 2 . They will often make overcalls to direct a lead or suggest a sacrifice, or just to be a nuisance. It is important to have a few simple rules to contend with this interference.

After an enemy bid, responder needs only 5 HCP to bid directly.

 14. K J 5 A K J 7 A K 10 5 A 3 4 Q 8 2 9 6 4 2 K J 10 8 4

 2 3 NT 2 Pass 3 Pass Pass

Without the overcall East would bid 2 negative, but in competition it is important to be able to show a decent suit. West bids the obvious game with his spade stopper.

All doubles or redoubles are for penalty, and all direct passes of enemy bids are forcing.

 15. A K Q 7 6 K 2 A K 3 A J 4 3 2 Q 10 8 4 J 7 4 10 8 6 2

 2 Pass 2 Dbl Pass

Very little strength is required to double as responder, as long as you have trumps. The double warns opener not to bid, and the opponents are in serious trouble.

 16. A K Q 4 A J 8 4 A 2 K Q 4 3 2 10 9 7 6 5 4 3 9 6 5 2

 2 Pass4 PassPassPass 2 3 Pass 3 Pass

West’s pass over 3 forces East to do something, so he bids his suit and a good game is reached. Note that if opener doubled 3  it would be for penalty.

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