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LC Standard -- Strong 2 Opening

The Strong 2 Opening

One of my big pet peeves is the notion of putting a number of points on a 2 opening. As you can see, I refuse to put a range onto the convention card.

If balanced, I can easily give you a range. Since I would open 2NT with 20-21, I have to open 2 with 22+ HCP.  So, when balanced with 22 or more, the opening bid is 2 (followed by a rebid of 2NT or 3NT). [Kokish relay is not part of LC Standard.]

If unbalancedthe HCP range is a matter of judgement. I do need some aces and kings--I wouldn't open 2 with, say 10 spades to the AKQJ and no other high cards.  I would open 2 with this "18" point hand: AKQ10876 AQ32 K2 --. I couldn't stand the thought of being passed out in 1.  I would not open 2 with this "22" count: AKJ2 AKJ2 2 AQ32.  It will be too hard to show this hand after starting with 2; I'll risk that it doesn't go 1-P-P-P. 

 

Responses

I am strongly against step or control responses (they take up too much space and often wrong-side the contract). While I don't mind using 2 as an immediate "bust", I prefer:

  • 2 = Waiting (0+ HCP -- any distribution). 

This leaves room for opener to further describe his hand.

When would I not respond with the catchall/waiting 2? Only with a good hand and a good suit. By good, I mean 8+ HCP and a decent (2+ high honors) 5+ card suit.  So, I would respond 2 to 2 with, say: 32 AQJ87 K32 432.

After the 2 waiting bid, opener's rebids (other than in notrump) are a one-round force. The only way to stop short of game (other than 2-2-2NT) is if responder offers a "2nd negative." After opener bids a suit, the cheapest new suit on the 3-level is artificial and allows responder to pass if opener repeats his suit.  Examples of auctions with 2nd negatives where the partnership can stop below game:

W
N
E
S
2
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
3

W
N
E
S
2
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
4

These "stop in a part-score" auctions come up once a decade. 

If responder does anything other than issue a 2nd negative, the partnership is forced to game. If responder issues a 2nd negative and then repeats his "suit", it is natural.

For example:

W
N
E
S
2
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
4

means: "I am cancelling the 2nd negative and showing you that I really have clubs" -- something like: 32 2 J432 KJ9876

If responder raises opener's rebid, the principle of fast arrival is used. So, 2-2-2-4 is weak (maybe 32 Q32 8765 Q432), while 2-2-2-3 is stronger (maybe A2 Q32 Q10876 543).

 

In Competition

After an overcall:

  • Responder's double shows a terrible hand (0-3). 
  • Pass shows a game-forcing hand. 
  • Responder's free bid shows 8+ HCP and a good 5+-card suit.  
  • If it's passed back to opener, double is takeout.

 

Next time : weak two bids.

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