Weak Two Bids

This convention is perhaps the most difficult to understand and explain. However, its effectiveness has caused many bridge players to adopt it in their Partnership Agreement. In essence, it is a mild preempt. Bidding Weak Twos disturbs the bidding of the opponents, obstructs the auction process of the opponents and generally does not permit the opponents to reach game.

Among the pioneers of the bidding auction there were several who simply liked to mess up the bidding. There was Mr. Vanderbilt, Mr. Van Vleck, Mr. Schenken. All great bridge players and men of adventure, who liked to throw stumbling blocks in the path of their bridge opponents.

Over the years, their convention has been used and developed further. Their convention has spawned variations. This has lead to some confusion, because the situation is different when the Weak Two Bid is used in First Seat as opposed to the Third Seat. The situation is different regarding vulnerability. Therefore, position and vulnerability are the two keys to successfully using Weak Two Bids. We shall try to cover as much ground as possible without making it too confusing.

If the partnership agreement is that the opening bid of 2 Clubs is a strong, artificial bid describing multiple strong holdings, then there are only three Weak Two Bids: 2 Diamonds - 2 Hearts - 2 Spades. The length of the suit, depending on vulnerability, is either a 5-card suit or a 6-card suit. The high card points should generally be in the suit bid. Experience shows that there should be no void in any suit.

The point range is different according to partnership agreement, but in general both following point ranges are acceptable.

5 high card points to 10/11 high card points

6 high card points to 10/11 high card points

 

Example 1:  
Vulnerable: East-West
Dealer: South
South
742
K9
QJ10876
J4
West
AKJ95
QJ6
K9
K107
Analysis: Analysis:
South is Dealer. South has 7 high card points. West has 17 high card points
East and West are vulnerable. West would have opened 1 No Trump,
South does not know how strong his partner is. if South had passed.
South could jeopardize his partner's holding. West now sees his Diamond suit in danger.
South could preempt and obstruct the bidding West has another bid: 2
auction of the opponents. West, however, cannot inform his partner
South could inform his partner of his length of his strength.
and approximate strength.  
South bids 2    

 

North
Q63
8532
5432
A5
East
108
A1074
A
Q98632
Analysis: Analysis:
North knows partner is weak. East knows that his partner has opening values.
North knows that he is not vulnerable. East does not know partner's strength.
North knows that East and West have game. East does not have support in Spades.
Game by East and West equals 600+ minus points. East cannot bid 3 Hearts; he only has four.
North realizes: down three tricks and East does not know that West has a Stopper in Diamonds.
doubled equals 500 minus points. Should East try 3 No Trump or 4 ?
North decides to become adventurous. East does not know whether to bid No Trump.
North joins in to obstruct the bidding. East struggles for a bid.
North bids 3

Conclusion: a Weak Two Bid in Diamonds by the dealer had the effect that the opponents have difficulty in finding their contract. This is the desired effect of the Weak Two Bid.

 

But, now we turn the cards around, and see what happens.

Example 2:  
Vulnerable: East-West
Dealer: South
South
742
K9
QJ10876
J4
West
Q63
53
543
Q9863
Analysis Analysis
South is Dealer. South has 7 high card points. West has 4 high card points.
East and West are vulnerable. West must pass.
South does not know how strong his partner is.  
South could jeopardize his partner's holding.  
South could preempt and obstruct the  
bidding auction of the opponents.  
South could inform his partner of his  
length and approximate strength.  
South bids 2  

 

North
AKJ5
QJ64
AK
A107
East
1098
A10872
92
K52
Analysis: Analysis:
North knows partner is weak, 5-11 high card points. East has 7 high card points.
North knows that he is not vulnerable. East must pass.
North has 21 high card points.  
North has been disturbed by partners Weak Two Bid.  
North would have bid Two No Trump.  
What are the Guidelines for North?  

 

What are the Responses to Weak Two Bids? What are the Guidelines for North?

North, in the above example, finds himself in a bind. What should he bid? This is the time for the Partnership Agreement to become activated and enforced. Without a Partnership Agreement, both partners are doomed to either not reach the correct contract or to exceed the correct contract. The problem lies in the fact, that the responder does not know whether his partner has a second suit and that the Responder cannot estimate the point range, which can be between 5 high card points to 11 high card points. In the above example, the contract can either be 3 No Trump or 4 Spades, but that is not the issue. The issue is: What are the bidding possibilities for the responder after his partner has opened with a Weak Two Bid? Below are some general guidelines, not only for the responder but also for the Weak Two bidder.

 

Recommendations and Guidelines about Distribution

There are several schools of thought about this feature of the holding and the learning bridge player will have to make a choice, a decision. The following constitutes only suggestions, recommendations and guidelines offered by bridge authors, bridge theoreticians, and bridge experts.

2 or fewer Spades
2 or fewer Hearts
6 or more Diamonds
3 Clubs
    2 or fewer Spades
6 or more Hearts
2 or fewer Diamonds
3 Clubs
    6 or more Spades
2 or fewer Hearts
2 or fewer Diamonds
3 Clubs
The Weak Two bidder should bid as follows with each example:
2 Diamonds     2 Hearts     2 Spades

With this pre-agreed distribution, the responder knows immediately that the opener has absolutely no support for him in any other suit. This way, the responder will not be looking for a second suit.

 

Recommended and Suggested Response Methods

Method One:

Raise to 3 Diamonds / 3 Hearts / 3 Spades

The responder is low in high card points.
This bid is used preemptively.
This bid is an obstruction bid.
Expected tricks are between 6 and 9 tricks.
Used primarily when not vulnerable.

 

Method Two:

Raise to 5 Diamond / 4 Hearts / 4 Spades

The responder has medium high card points.
This bid is used preemptively.
This bid is an obstruction bid.

Caution: Opponents may not have game.
Used primarily when not vulnerable.
Responder expects to be doubled.

Or the responder is high in high card points.
Responder expects to make game.
Responder has 4 to 6 Quick Tricks.

 

Method Three:

Suit Takeout

This is an alternative treatments.
This bid is non-forcing.
Indicates no support for the Weak Two Bid.
Indicates a 6-card plus suit.
Responder must bid 2 No Trump.

 

Method Four:

Bid 2 No Trump

This bid is a one-round forcing bid and shows game interest. if opener rebids his suit, then the opener shows weakness and no other feature in a side suit. Some bridge players have adopted the bid of 3 Clubs to show a minimum.

If the opener rebids another suit, then this rebid shows a high-card feature, normally an Ace or King and a moderately strong holding.

Using this guideline it must be revealed to the opponents whether or not the opener is allowed to rebid above the level of three in his original suit

If the opener is allowed to raise the 2 No Trump bid by partner to 3 No Trump, then this bid shows a solid suit.

 

Method Five:

Ogust System

This is a conventional method employed by the partnership whereby the opener, whose partner has bid a forcing 2 No Trump, is able to describe further the strength of the holding and the quality of the suit by a series of artificial bids.

 

Method Six:

McCabe Adjunct

This concept is credited to Mr. J. I. McCabe of Columbia, South Carolina, United States. His article was published in The Bridge World, issue of January 1994. This is a conventional method whereby the Weak Two bidder and his partner agree to play in a new suit on the three level.

Short Version:

The responder bids 2 No Trump, which is one-round forcing.
Opener must relay to 3 Clubs.
Responder may pass if Clubs is his suit.
Or the responder corrects to his suit.
The Weak Two bidder must pass.

or ....

If the partnership employes a direct raise of the Weak Two bid as preemptive, then the responder rebids three of the suit of the Weak Two bidder.

This sequence of bids is as follows:

Opener: 2
Responder: 2 NT
Opener: 3
Responder: 3

or: Invites the Weak Two bidder to bid game with a holding containing better than average strength.

or: If the responder bids a new suit, then the opener should:

1. rebid his own suit with weakness.
2. raise the suit of the responder with a doubleton honor.
3. show a feature, Ace or King, on his rebid.
4. rebid 3 No Trump with a solid suit.

 

Method Seven:

Relays

Relays are the cheapest bids possible, in this case the cheapest response.

2 Diamonds relays to 2 Hearts
2 Hearts relays to 2 Spades
2 Spades relays to 2 No Trump

The Relay Method requests the opener to bid a Stopper in another suit, if he has a Stopper. If he has no Stopper in another suit, he rebids his suit. If the Stopper is in the relay suit, the opener rebids No Trump. When using this method, the Relay is the only possible forcing bid by the responder.

 

In conclusion, it must be noted that Weak Two Bids are more or less a gut-feeling bid, if you are the dealer. However, using the above guidelines to direct you, you and your partner will come to a prearranged Partnership Agreement. Weak Two Bids are also very obstructive to the opponents. They can also present a preempt of the partner, and without a pre-agreed Partnership Agreement, the best contract will generally not be reached. Remember above all else that vulnerability and position at the bridge table should be the deciding factors before making any Weak Two Bid. Any one of the different methods above regarding the bid of the responder can be applied and included in the Partnership Agreement. Both partners should prepare some practice hands and experiment with the different methods, and then decide upon their use.

 

 

If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.




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