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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 a2opening. 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 open2with 22+ HCP. So,whenbalancedwith 22 or more, the opening bid is2(followed by a rebid of 2NT or 3NT). [Kokish relayis not part of LC Standard.]

If unbalanced,the HCP range is a matter of judgement. I do need some aces and kings--I wouldn't open2with, say 10 spades to the AKQJ and no other high cards. I would open2with this "18" point hand: AKQ10876AQ32 K2 --. I couldn't stand the thought of being passed out in 1. I wouldnotopen2with this "22" count: AKJ2 AKJ2 2 AQ32. It will be too hard to show this hand after starting with2; I'll risk that it doesn't go1-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 using2as 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/waiting2? Only with a good handanda good suit. By good, I mean 8+ HCP and a decent (2+ high honors) 5+ card suit. So, I would respond2to2with, say: 32 AQJ87 K32 432.

After the2waiting bid, opener's rebids (other than in notrump) are a one-round force. The only way to stop short of game (other than2-2-2NT) is if responder offers a "2nd negative." After opener bids a suit, the cheapest new suit on the 3-level isartificialand 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,2-2-2-4is weak (maybe 32 Q32 8765 Q432), while2-2-2-3is stronger (maybe A2 Q32 Q10876 543).

In Competition

After an overcall:

  • Responder's doubleshows a terrible hand (0-3).
  • Passshows 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 istakeout.

Next time : weak two bids.

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