The Flannery Two Diamond convention was devised by Mr. William L. Flannery, (aka Bill), born 1932 and died 2000, of Sacramento, California, United States. Mr. William Flannery kept running into a problem with a certain distributional holding and limited values. With a balanced hand and a No Trump range of 16-18 points, Mr. William Flannery would bid No Trump.
With an unbalanced hand and a No Trump range of 16-18 points, a 5-card suit lower-ranking than a 4-card suit, Mr. William Flannery would apply the Reverse bid convention. However, Mr. William Flannery had a problem with a distribution of a 5-card Heart suit and a 4-card Spade suit, and limited values between 11-15 high card points. So, Mr. William Flannery devised the Flannery Two Diamond bid to cover such distribution and values. Using this convention, one partner can open the auction and describe his hand quickly and accurately.
Mr. William Flannery believed that the frequency of a distributional pattern of 4-5 was greater than the freqency of a weak two bid in Diamonds. The following holding shows the text book pattern for a Flannery Two Diamonds opening bid.
Note: Some partnerships have varied the point range requirement from 11 to 16 high card points. However, an additional requirement is that the holding contain at least 2.5 defensive tricks.
The above distribution can be quickly described to the partner with the Flannery Two Diamond bid. The point range, although large in comparison, and the distribution of nine of the thirteen cards become two known features of the holding.
The Flannery Two Diamond bid can be made in any seat or position at the table, as long as no player has made a bid in the auction. This is the entire concept behind the Flannery Two Diamond bid.
As with all holdings, the value of the hand becomes an important factor after a suit has been established. A hand with only 9 high card points may become worth 13 support points, a void for example, once a suit has been established. This element must be considered carefully by the partner when responding. The responder may already be a passed hand, but his values may have increased dramatically after discovering the holdings of his partner who has just bid a Flannery Two Diamond.
When playing Flannery Two Diamonds, it is important for the partnership to remember that the above holding may not be opened with 2 Diamonds. Although the holding contains 15 high card points, which is the maximum range for a 2 Diamond Flannery opening, the holding does not contain a 4-card Spade suit. By opening this holding with 1 Heart, the opener denies holding a 4-card Spade suit.
Continuances by Responder
- Pass: Responder may pass the Flannery Two Diamond bid if Responder has less than 10 points and a 6-card Diamond suit.
- 2 hearts: This is a sign-off indicating less than 10 support points, but with more support in Hearts.
- 2 spades: This is a sign-off indicating less than 10 support points, but with more support in Spades.
2 NT: See below.
- 3 clubs: If the responder bids a Minor in Clubs showing at least a 6-card Club suit and 11-13 points, then his partner should bid 3 No Trump with a fit of Ax or Kx or Qxx in Clubs. This response is invitational.
- 3 diamonds: If the responder bids a Minor in Diamonds showing at least a 6-card Diamond suit and 11-13 points, then his partner should bid 3 No Trump with a fit of Ax or Kx or Qxx in Diamonds. This response is invitational.
- 3 hearts: This is an invitational jump bid, and partner may pass or bid game with maximum values.
- 3 spades: This is an invitational jump bid, and partner may pass or bid game with maximum values.
- 4 clubs: This is a transfer bid to 4 Hearts and game.
- 4 diamonds: This is a transfer bid to 4 Spades and game.
Note: Some partnerships have agreed to employ the 4 as Gerber. This is a matter of partnership agreement.
Continuances Following 2 No Trump Response
If the responder bids 2 No Trump, a totally artificial bid, then the responder wishes more information about the Minor suit holdings. To describe his Minor suit holdings, the Flannery Two Diamond bidder can describe his Minor suit holding in the following fashion.
- 3 hearts: Shows 11-13 points and two cards in each Minor suit.
- 3 spades: Shows 14-15 points and two cards in each Minor suit.
- 3 NT: Shows 14-15 points and values mainly in the Minor suits consisting of 2 cards each.
- 3 clubs: Shows a 3-card Club holding and therefore a 4-5-1-3 distribution.
- 3 diamonds: Shows a 3-card Diamond holding and therefore a 4-5-3-1 distribution.
- 4 clubs: A jump bid to show a 4-card Club holding and therefore a 4-5-0-4 distribution.
- 4 diamonds: A jump bid to show a 4-card Diamond holding and therefore a 4-5-4-0 distribution
In general, the Flannery Two Diamond bid is considered an essential convention for all bridge players, The distribution and strength is described accurately and quickly. By means of the responses, the opener can further describe his Minor suit holding. However, the bridge player must be aware that in selecting to add the Flannery Two Diamond convention to his list means that the Weak Two Diamond bid must be dropped. Both conventions can not be applied at the same time and mean something different.
There is also a defense method to the Flannery Two Diamond convention, and this is always a matter of the partnership agreement. Many bridge players play the standard defense, which is as follows:
- 2 hearts: Indicates a 3-suited Takeout, with shortness in Hearts.
- Double: Indicates the equivalent of a strong 1 No Trump opening, 15 plus points.
- 2 NT: Indicates the Unusual No Trump convention signifying both Minor suits.
Suit Overcall: All other suit overcalls are natural.
Overcall Alternative Meaning
- Double: Indicates a balanced in the 13-16 point range
- 2 NT: Indicates a stronger balanced hand.
As with all defense methods and treatments, they must be first approved by the partners and should become part of the partnership agreement. As the reviewer can see, there are different approaches when defending. These should be discussed beforehand and, if selected, applied if the opponents are using the Flannery Two Diamond convention. It must also be noted that this concept has been varied and modified by several partnership agreements, which are not presented here.