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

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.

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.

Method Seven:


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.