Quick summary

With 8 points, things are looking very good, so give a positive and natural response (game is certain, and Slam could be on)

With <8 HCP, a slam seems very unlikely, and a game is not certain, so give a negative response (2NT, or 2diamond after a 2club opening), and see what partner says next.

Remember that more advanced players use "Weak 2" openings, which have a different meaning.


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Bridge Venue

Example Deal

«  0047  »

Reply to a 2 Suit opening, Strong 2s

Your partner is so strong that he's opened at the two level to force you to bid, in order to make sure we don't miss a game. Or even a Slam. Better tell him what's possible:

47. Reply to Strong 2 suit opening
Points 0-7 6-7 8+ 8+ 8-11 12+
cards   3+ 3+ 5+ balanced bal
other   AK together, or AQ in trumps 1+ Aces colour in suit stoppers in 3 suits  
bid 2 NT when weak raise 2 raise 1 new suit 3 NT 4/6NT
meaning game not on, based on 1st bid game game + game game only slam
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Your partner's opening bid makes it easy for you

Strong 2s

When your partner opened 2spade, heart or diamond, he did it because he wants to signal that a game is very likely. If he said 2club he's even stronger.

So you cannot pass !

He has also told you that he can make 8 tricks all on his own, even if your hand is totally useless. Because the bidding space is reduced, your partner also guaranteed you a good 5-card suit with at least 2 honours, and probably has 6, so you can support his suit with 3-cards, assuming you have sufficient HCPs. (Remember he might have fewer than 20 HCPs, even as few as 16 if his shape is good).

Very Strong 2! Game force

The 2club bid is a special forcing bid, see the end of this page, signifying 23+ HCP and 9+ tricks, but without implying any preference for clubs. It's also forcing the two of you to bid up to Game, even if you have nothing.

Weak 2s - more advanced players only

This page assumes you are using the "Strong 2" convention, in other words any bid of 2 of a suit promises a strong opening hand. More "advanced" players can use the "Weak 2" convention. Weak 2's bidders only use opening bids of 2club, or 2club/diamond, to indicate strong hands of undefined suit. It is arguably a more useful convention, and is certainly gaining the upper hand these days in the sense that more and more people use it. See Weak 2s.

Weak 2 bidders need to understand Strong 2s, since the Weak 2 convention is a derivation of Strong 2s.

Responding to Strong 2s

Sorry, game not on

If you can see that your hand will not promote your partner's hand to a game contract, then use the coded "negative bid" of 2NT. This does not actually mean that you have a balanced hand or that you want to play in NT. It simply means "game seems not to be on". It gives the opener a chance to persist with the exploration if he has a second good long suit. Or more likely put it back into 3 of his opening suit, which you will obviously pass.

Any other bid from you is postive, and forcing to game

Game on

If you have enough for game then you can bid postively - which would generally mean having either 8+ HCP or that you can make 2 more tricks on your own. For example, if you have an AK in one suit, then this is likely to create two more tricks when added to partner's hand.

Partner's suit

If you have 3 cards in your partner's Major suit, then you can support it, by raising to 4. Note that raising to 3 is a stronger bid - see below.

Different suit

If you can't support partner, change suit. But only if you have a long suit (5+), and a good one if you have to bid at the 3-level.

No Trumps

If you don't have your own good 5-card suit, think about NT. But do not bid 2NT. It means you are weak!! You'll have to bid 3NT, and therefore you'll need to be sure you can stop the opponents from running away with 5 quick tricks.

Possible slam ?

Slow is strong. Raising to 3 in your partner's suit is a stronger response than raising straight to game with 4 in his Major. Your 8+ HCP should include an Ace, otherwise simply raise to 4, the weaker bid.

Openers's rebid. After your bid of 3 or 4, in addition to understanding that game is now on, your partner might sometimes want to explore Slam. Because of the shape of his hand for example. In that case, if he needs to know how many Aces you've got, or how many control cards, he'll use Blackwood. If he needs to know which Aces you've got, he'll use cue bidding for controls.

Slam on

With a balanced hand, you can use a quantitative bid when you can see that you might have a total of 33+ HCP, enough for a small slam in No Trumps. But it might be best to wait for your second bid to do that.

With an unbalanced hand, use your second bid to explore Slam. You'll certainly get the chance, because any first bid that you make (other than 2NT which denies strength) is a forcing bid. Best to take your time to work out which suit you should be in, and only then explore Slam.

The 2club opening bid. Whoohoo !

This is a special coded forcing bid by opener which simply means "Whoohoo ! I've got 23+ points and I can make 9 tricks on my own, or 10 in a minor, tell me what you've got". It's always forcing all the way to game, unless the opener subsequently rebids 2NT to show a balanced hand. Because it's a stronger bid than 2spade/heart/diamond, it helps responder to comprehend the possibilities of a Slam. It says nothing about opener's Clubs, so opener will have to rebid 3club if Clubs is his best suit.

Negative response

The negative reply is 2diamond, which simply means "I've got fewer than 8 HCP". It does not mean you have diamonds. You'd have to make a bid of 3diamond to show that suit. A positive response can be made with fewer than 8 HCP only if you have AK together, or AQ in a 5 card suit.

spade A 3
heart 6
diamond K Q 10 7 4 2
club 6 5 4 2
  - - 2club Pass

After East's opening bid of 2club, what should you reply as West?


<---- Click the "+" for the Answer


Positive response

Bid naturally, describing your hand. Your partner knows that Slam is possible, so you don't need to jump. Opener will then tell you which suit he really meant, given that he didn't of course mean clubs.

The problem 4441

Because a 2 suit opening promises 5 cards, it won't be possible for opener to bid at the 2 level with the 4441 distribution with less than 23 HCP.



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