Lesson 7 -- Weak Two Bids and Responses
A Weak Two Bid is a bid of 2D, 2H or 2S that shows 6-10 HCP and
exactly 6 cards in the bid suit. Not 5 or 7, but exactly 6. The
bid is said to be pre-emptive. That is, it should pre-empt most
of the bidding space away from the opponents. However, the bid is also
meant to show your partner that you have some points and a good suit.
To that end, your weak two bids should be disciplined. You only make them
with 6-10 HCP and a six card suit. But beyond that, your suit should be
fairly good: At least two of the top three honors (A,K,Q) and three of
the top five (A,K,Q,J,T). In addition, you shouldn't have a four card major
or a good 3 card major.
What if I have a 6 card suit with 11-12 HCP?
Pass, probably, unless your points are very bad. You are just between a
one and a two bid. Rather than compromise your opening bid, just wait and
overcall with your suit.
Responding to a weak two bid
If you don't have at least 2 card support, you should pass unless you have 16+
HCP. The general system of responding is called RONF -- Raise (is the)
Only Non-Forcing (Bid). If you bid any new suit, you are showing 5+
cards and asking responder to raise with 3 card support.
If you bid 2NT You are asking the opener to show a feature (an outside
stopper, either an Ace or a guarded King). Usually, you'll need this to know
if you can bid 3NT. If opener doesn't have a stopper, he rebids his suit.
If you have a fit, then you can bid 2NT to look for key cards for a game if
you have an invitational hand (16-18 HCP, counting distribution). If you
have enough points to bid game (19+) then you can just bid 4 of the suit.
If, however, you have few points but quite a few trump support, then you should
raise the bid. The more trumps, the higher you should raise it. This
depends on your vulnerability, but the guidelines are something like:
Since we play RONF a corrolary is that Any raise by responder
is a signoff bid, and opener should not bid again. The reason for this
is that the opening bid is limited. Responder may have a real raise,
may by trying to confuse the opponents, or whatever. Opener has described his
hand, if responder doesn't ask, he stays quiet.
- With 6-9 points and 3 trump: bid 3,
- With 6-9 points and 4 trump: bid 4,
- with 6-9 points and 5 trump: bid at least 4, maybe 5.
Wait, I noticed something...
If my partner opens 2 of a major, and I bid four of a major, I might be
pre-empting, with very few points and a long suit, or I might have a stack
of points (possibly 20 or more). How does partner tell what I have?
A: He doesn't. He passes either way. A nice side benefit is that the
opponent's might not be sure if you are stealing the hand from them or
if the hand really does belong to you. And when opponents make mistakes at
the 4 level or higher, you tend to get a lot of points.
2D, 2H, or 2S shows 6-10 HCP with a 6 card suit, no 4 card hidden major,
and good suit quality.
- 2D, 2H, 2S -
- 2H, 2S (/2D, 2H): 16+ HCP, 5+ Card suit, asking for 3 card support. Forcing.
- 2NT: Forcing, either 16+ HCP or 13+ HCP with support.
- 3C: Club stopper.
- 3D: Diamond stopper.
- 3H (after 2S opening): Heart stopper.
- 3S (after 2H opening): Spade stopper.
- 3M (same as opening): no outside stoppers.
- 3C, 3D: 16+ HCP, 5+ Card suit, asking for 3 card support. Forcing.
- 3H(/2S): 16+ HCP, 5+ Card suit, asking for 3 card support. Forcing.
- 3M: 6-9 HCP, 3 trump. Signoff.
- 3N: 16+ HCP. All other suits stopped. Signoff. (Note, this bid will
not be easy to make if partner has no outside stopper to provide an entry for
- 4M: Either 6-9 HCP with 4+ Trumps or 16+ HCP with 2+ Trumps. Signoff.
- 5M: 6-9 HCP with 5+ Trumps. Signoff.
- 6M: Lots of trumps, either lots of points or very preemptive. Signoff.
I have taught disciplined weak twos. They are far from the only way to play
weak twos. Weak twos on 5 card suits (or even four card suits) are not
unheard of in tournament play, and the point range is somewhat variable.
Back to the Lesson Index