Quick summary

Mess up the enemy's bidding when you are weak but long

6-10 points
Good 6 card Major
(Good = KQ+, or QJT+)
Nobody else has bid

Partner will usually pass, unless he has points for game (16+ bid 2NT), or can further mess up the opponents.

When opener does have to rebid, after a 2NT artificial reply from partner, he must clarify his level of weakness

Don't do it if you have a 2nd 4-card Major



Print cribsheet

Bridge Venue

Example Deal

«  0048  »

Responder 1st bids. After Weak 2 opening

Beginners should use Strong 2s, and respond accordingly.

152. Weak 2 rebids, after 2NT responder enquiry (16+ HCP)
bid Points Trumps trumps include
3club 6-7 OK KQ / QJ10 +
3diamond 6-7 better

6-7 HCP

3heart 9-10 "OK" KQ / QJ10 +
3spade 9-10 "better" 6-8 HCP
3NT 9-10 best AKQ
With 8HCP, use judgement
Add to your customised cribsheet

Weak, but long enough to mess up the enemy

(Beginners might prefer Strong 2s, and respond accordingly).


"Weak 2" is an opening Preemptive bid of 2heart or 2spade, used when your hand is weak but when you have a long Major suit. Its purpose is to stop your stronger opponents reaching a good contract or game. Because you start the bidding so high, it makes it difficult for the opposition to bid and communicate. It also helps your partner to select the opening lead if you don't win the auction.

It might even get you to game, even though the pair of you are weak.  (With more than 10 points, open at the one level). Because you only need 6-10 points, it tends to come up quite often, but you must have a good 6-card Major.

"Good" means 2 of the top 3 honours (KQ+) of 3 of the top 5 honours (QJT+).

Your partner will usually pass, and your stronger opponents will often give up, frustrated, since they will now often have to start their bidding at the 3 level (see weak 2 defence options).

The secret to weak 2's is to learn and agree the meaning of the Opener's rebids, in the event that partner has shown he is in fact strong.

Amazingly, you still retain the ability to describe your strong hands of any suit, by opening with 2 of a minor club or diamond.

(Note: Having said this, some people treat a 2diamond opening bid as weak two opening - you should find out which system your partner is using, if you wish to avoid disasters. Although it has its advantages, we don't care so much for this approach. That's because a weak 2diamond opening offers a much lower chance of getting to game. Moreover, splitting the 2 minor suits into different degrees of strong opening allows greater precision in strong openings. However, you can read about diamond weak two's below).

With a 7-card Major, you should Preempt.

(1) The weak 2 opening: Opening 2 of a Major

When to use

Nobody has bid so far. Do you always pass when you have fewer than 12 HCP points ?  

No, not if you've got great distribution.  

Quite often, you'll receive a weak opening hand, but with a 6-card suit of some strength.  Too short to Preempt with 3, and too weak to open one suit.  In this situation, you have a great chance to mess up your stronger opponent, and furthermore find a contract, even a game sometimes.  Use weak 2s.   

Of course a game is much easier in a Major, so we prefer to reserve opening bids of the minor suits for strong openings, see below.  

For another example of opening with less than 12, see the rule of 20 which guides you on how to open 1 suit with only 10 or 11 points, if you have some extra length.  

[Note:    Before the whole game starts, you must agree with your partner that you are no longer using opening-2 bids uniquely for strong hands. Now that you're a teenager, Major-2 opening bids are now reserved for messing up the enemy. There's a note below on how this changes strong openings].

How to bid

This is weak bid, similar to a pre-emptive bid, and is used when you have 6-10 HCP and a goodish six-card suit in a major, heartspade.   Think about it like standard 3-level pre-emption, but with a six card suit instead of seven.

A goodish suit means a suit headed by a minimum of KJ+, or QJT+, as a good guide. Or 2 of the top 5 honours supported by 98.

Suitable examples are AK10764, AK9742, KQ9742, AJ9843, QJ10432, KJ9765 are fine. In addition, at favorable vulnerability liberties are allowed, particularly in 3rd seat.

You are also denying having a second 4+ card Major (you don't want to miss a match elsewhere, and a 6-4 distribution is very very very powerful).

Your partner's responses are:

  1. Generally pass
  2. With support, raise.  3-cards, and say around 10-11 HCP, raise to 3. With 4-cards raise to 4 .  These are not invitational. . . ..opener will pass. You are simply extending the Preempt, and making your opponents' life very difficult. With 3-card support and very weak hands, responder can also raise the preempt if (and only if) he has good distribution.  This way you can end up getting a contract as opposed to your strong opponents getting game or slam.
  3. If game is on, "ask for more information", bid 2NT. This forcing bid indicates good fit with interest in game or more, 16+ points. This means 2-card support and 16HCP, or 14HCP if there are no wasted Q's or J's.
  4. Very rarely, with his own (better) 6 card suit, change suit. Opener will support with good fit, or else pass. A jump in his own better suit shows one trick short of a game, and is invitational.

Opener rebids his "PH" (alkilinity!)

When partner asks for more information, by bidding an artificial and forcing 2NT, he is accepting your suit choice and saying that he is strong enough that a game could be on.  Opener should then describe his hand in more detail. There are two methods. I much prefer the first of these, known as "Ogust", now widely used.

(a) Ogust rebid

So, the opener should now reveal more detail about his trumps by rebidding ever stronger suits to show ever more Points and Trump Quality (but, er, Guy, not to indicate any secondary suit preference - perhaps you've been thinking lately about responses to Jacoby 2NT? ):

152. Weak 2 rebids, after 2NT responder enquiry (16+ HCP)
bid Points Trumps trumps include
3club 6-7 OK KQ / QJ10 +
3diamond 6-7 better

6-7 HCP

3heart 9-10 "OK" KQ / QJ10 +
3spade 9-10 "better" 6-8 HCP
3NT 9-10 best AKQ
With 8HCP, use judgement
Add to your customised cribsheet

Think P before T (alphabetical), if you can't remember the sequence that CDHS represents.

"Better honours" means at least 6HCP in the trump suit. Responder can then decide whether to raise to game.

(b) Alternative: show a feature method

There are three rebids for Opener:

  1. rebid 3 trumps = weak
  2. 3NT = 2 of top 3 honours
  3. 3 of a new suit = a feature (such as 4-card suit, an Ace, but not a shortage)

Diamonds ?

Some people include diamonds in their weak two repertoire, in addition to the Majors. While this has an obvious theoretical advantage if you have a weak hand with a strong 6-card diamond suit, it's less powerful in a minor because it's a less pre-emptive bid - your strong opposition is still able to bid their Major suits at the 2-level every time. The other consideration against its use is that your chances of getting to game are considerably lower after a weak two opening in a minor, compared with your chances in a Major. I personally don't much care for it, and prefer to use the both the minor-2 openings for strong hands, where the extra definition is useful in slam bidding.

However, if you and your partner decide to include diamonds as one of your weak two's openings, then agree it before hand, and stick to the standard definition of the strong 2club opening bid - see below.

(2) The Strong opening: opening 2 of a minor 

Q: If you have a very strong hand with a long Major, how can you announce this, if 2heart or spade means something weak ?

Ans: Open 2 of a minor, club or diamond, simply to say you're strong, then rebid the suit you really meant.  Let's have a look in more detail.

(a)  16-22 HCP,  unbalanced, with 8 playing tricks

(9 playing tricks for a minor)    

Open 2club, forcing.  

Your partner must relay 2diamond, a blind bid, to allow opener to say what he really means. Opener will say his suit: 2 in the Majors heart or spade, promising 8 playing tricks, or one higher at the three level in the minors, clubdiamond promising 9 playing tricks. Note that the 2diamond is a relay, not a denial. 

Imagine that opener then bids 2heart.  The bidding now proceeds in the majors exactly as if the bidding had just started with 2heart when using conventional Strong 2s.  

How magical !  The negative response (0-7) from partner to declarer's 2heart is still 2NT, as with conventional Strong 2s. And all the other logic and replies are the same  (8+ with fit: slam could be on, so raise; 5-7 with fit: game and no further, so bid 4; etc).

The only disadvantage with the system is in diamond, where in effect you have to open with a strong 3, just as you always had to do with ♣. On the other hand, since you need to be careful with strong minors, it's often best to open at the one level.  So, pay attention to the "9 playing tricks" guideline with a minor.

Always blind 2diamond?

No. After your partner's 2club, you can bid your own 5-card suit if you have 2 of the top 3 cards. E.g. after partner opens 2club, suppose you have spade53 heartAK1084 diamondQ53 clubQ53. Rather than relay 2diamond, bid your Hearts. Partner having spadeAKQJ10 heart65 diamondAKJ109 club2 can then bid his Spades and next time his Diamonds, which will eventually get you into the right suit at the 6 level. With a 2diamond relay, it might have been hard to avoid getting into 4spade and no further.

(b)   23+,  very strong, forcing to game 

Always open 2diamond, forcing to game, promising at least 9 tricks on your own (possibly 10 in a minor)

Partner will tell you a slam is not on with <8 points by bidding a "2heart" denial.  A slam could be on if partner has 8 points, so rather than issuing a denial "2heart" bid, partner will bid either his suit or NT at the next available level (i.e. 2♠, 2NT, 3club/diamond/heart).  An Ace-King together in one suit is as good as 8 points.  

Opener will then rebid naturally, e.g. using NT at various levels if balanced, or suits if not, so explore slam.  

See notes on Strong 2s, which is similar, but based on opening 2club to mean 23+.

Now try the quiz

Can you put all this into action ? Try the quiz for this subject by clicking on the link at the top left of the page, just below the main menu.
(You can try quizzes for any other subjects too while you're there. Look out for the thin red line).


Some example hands



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