Responding to a Weak Two-Bid

Neither side vulnerable
The bidding has gone:

2 Pass

In BWS68, two notrump was the only low-level forcing response to a weak two-bid. However, the 1984 version added new-suit responses as forcing. The main strength of this method is that two notrump is not overloaded. With interest in your own suits, you simply bid them; two notrump suggests interest in opener's suit. The main weakness of this method is that responder cannot conveniently sign off in his own suit at a low level.

As South, what call do you make with each of the following:

(a) 8 6 2    Q 2    A K J 8 7    A 10 2

(b) 8 6 2    2    A K J 8 7 4    A 10 2

(c) A K J 8 7 4    2    8 6 2    A 10 2

(d) K Q 10    J 8 7    A J 6    A Q 10 8

(e) K Q 10    2    A J 9    A Q J 10 8 7

(f) K Q 10    2    A J 9 7    A K Q 10 8


8 6 2    Q 2    A K J 8 7    A 10 2

(a) Two notrump. You figure to belong in game if partner has any hand he considers a maximum--ace-king-jack-sixth and out gives you a play. Essentially, you want partner to make a quantitative evaluation, knowing that you are interested in a heart contract.

8 6 2    2    A K J 8 7 4    A 10 2

(b) Pass. If partner has a maximum, and not a diamond misfit, you may belong in three notrump. However, that is against the odds, and there is no way to to investigate safely. Two notrump won't tell you what you need to know; three diamonds (a possibility if invitational) is forcing.

A K J 8 7 4    2    8 6 2    A 10 2

(c) Pass. This is a much closer decision. There are greater game chances, since four spades is a possible contract. Also, you can use an invitational sequence--two spades, then three spades--if partner shows no signs of life.
The question, though, is whether three spades, the likely final contract when you bid, figures to be better or worse than two hearts, A lot depends on the quality of the heart suits partner will have for his weak two. If your partner's style is to open two hearts on any old six-card suit, you may as well take the chance of reaching three spades. If two hearts figures to be fairly safe opposite your three quick tricks, because partner will have a good suit, we counsel matchpoint conservatism.

K Q 10    J 8 7    A J 6    A Q 10 8

(d) Two notrump. You have too much stuff to stay out of game, but do not have the information to decide between three notrump and four hearts. You can get help from partner by using a "slow" sequence, two notrump then three notrump, which suggests doubt about the final contract. When you know where you want to play, simply bid it.

K Q 10    2    A J 9    A Q J 10 8 7

(e) Three notrump. You are sure you want to be in three notrump. Oh, a small percentage of the time four hearts or five clubs will be theoretically better, but often three notrump, perhaps with a favorable lead, will achieve the superior matchpoint score anyway. To tell partner you don't want him exercising his judgment, jump directly to the game you want to play.

K Q 10    2    A J 9 7    A K Q 10 8

(f) Three clubs. You could go directly to three notrump and be in the normal or best contract most of the time. However, if partner has a maximum, with some distributional advantage for clubs, there could be a slam. And there is little risk in allowing partner the opportunity to say he likes clubs.

(Adapted from "Rate Your Own Game" in The Bridge World.)


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