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Precision 2 with a twist?
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TL;DR 2 Precision opening showing a shortness instead of shortness


I grew up playing a pretty simple variation of Strong club that uses a nebulous 1 and Precision 2.

The 2 opening bid includes 5+4M hands which relieves some of the pressure from the ridiculously overcrowded nebulous opener. Even after that you are left with some inconvenient hand types. For example, 54 does not really have a rebid after 1-1.

Following the latest trends, I am a fan of having the 2 opening promise 6+.

Unless you don’t mind having a ton of ambiguity and rebid issues in the 1 auctions then you pretty much need to pair it up with the Precision 2 (4415 minus one card).

As much as I understand, the Precision 2 was specifically designed to alleviate some of the pain from the nebulous 1. This way neither 1 or 2 opening has to deal with the 54M hands.

Funnily enough, the mentioned hand type (1453) still has a rebid problem with the new approach.

A side effect of having the Precision 2 opening bid, is that now the nebulous 1 always promises at least a doubleton diamond.

I would like to ask, though, how much do we really benefit from knowing that 1 is always from 2 cards? I still need a whole stack of diamonds to bid them. 0+ or 2+ feels pretty much the same to me.

Keeping that in mind, I have come up with a modification to the 2 opening bid. Instead of having the 2 opening bid show a stiff (or void) diamond, I think it could show a shortness in spades.

Here’s the new description: 1455 distribution minus one card in two of the suits: 1444/04(45)/13(45), potentially also 0355.

A quick note in between – I have chosen to treat all 5422 hands as balanced, so I rebid 1NT with them after 1-1M (or open 1NT if I have 14…16 HCP).

Some potential advantages the modification could have over the original Precision 2 opening:

1) It is easier to find rebids. Unbalanced hands with short spades are annoying. In the auction 1-1, you would have to rebid 2 not just with 1444 but even with the dreadful 1453. In my version, the only mildly problematic distribution is 1435 (which will have to rebid 2, showing both minors – boohoo, right?). Other variations of the 5431 pattern always include 3+ spades, which makes life quite easy.

  • 31(54) will rebid 2 after any 1-1M. 
  • 34(15) will rebid 2 after any 1-1M („worst case“ scenario is a 4-3 fit)
  • Rebids with 4 spades are a piece of cake in any case.

2) 2 can now (more often) be passed. The seat directly after 2 bidder no longer has the luxury to pass and see what happens.

3) Partner knows what is happening with the „oldest suit“ and can use it in our advantage in tactical/competitive bidding (I know this can also work against us, but that can happen just as easily with the "original" version of the 2 Precision; I have a feeling that the benefits outweigh the costs)

4) People overcall 1 with crappy 8 points. They will not be able to do that so easily on the second level.

Nothing fancy about the advances.

2-2 should be NF.

2-2NT INV+ relay. I don’t think it matters much what scheme you play after the relay. There should be a reasonable amount of space even if you play 3 as any minimum etc. This is still to be figured out a little bit. Feel free to suggest your versions if you like the general idea.

So, that’s it. I have not put too much thought into this, so maybe I have overlooked a crucial detail or two. In any case – hit me with your feedback! Cool


Martin Maasik (BBO: maasik_jr)

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