Feature Ask (2NT)

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 06/28/2021
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

This popular convention is used after your partner opens with a weak two-bid. It is frequently misused.


After a 2?, 2?, or 2♠ weak two-opener a response of 2NT is conventional. A small percentage use it as "Ogust," but most common is "Feature."  The 2NT bidder has at least game (maybe slam) interest. As to what might constitute "interest," see my article on "The Rule of 17."

A "Feature" is usually an ace or king. It is NEVER a singleton or void. Occasionally, it can be a queen or even a jack with length. Before we get into the responses, remember that the most important part of this system is that partner is fundamentally asking: "Do you like your hand?"

Here are the responses to the 2NT inquiry:

Rebid of the Weak-2 suit: ANY MINIMUM (might actually have a "feature" as well).
Rebid in a new suit: ANY NON-MINIMUM, with a "feature" in the suit bid.
Rebid of 3NT: NON-MINIMUM with a "solid" or extremely good suit.

These responses will be clarified with examples:

♠Q J 10 9 8 3
?K 3
?5 4
♠6 4 2

After 2♠-2NT:  Rebid 3♠ because this is a minimum. Do not show a Feature with a minimum.

♠K Q J 9 8 7
?K 5 2
?5 4
♠3 2

After 2♠-2NT: Rebid 3? to show the heart feature (and extras--not minimum).

♠K Q 9 8 7 2
?K 5 4
♠4 3 2

After 2♠-2NT: You must decide if this is a minimum (in which case rebid 3♠) or a non-minimum (in which case rebid 3? to show the feature). This could depend on your preempting style (is it a maximum for YOU?). Also important is position and vulnerability. For a 2nd seat Vulnerable preempt, I'd consider this a minimum and would rebid 3♠. For a dealer favorable-vulnerability preempt, I'd consider it a maximum and would rebid 3?.

♠A K J 10 9 7
?3 2
?Q 4
♠7 6 4

After 2♠-2NT: I would rebid 3NT and treat this as a "solid suit." Sure, I'd prefer to have AKQ--but I can't treat this as a minimum, and prefer not to announce a diamond feature with only Q4 doubleton.

♠A Q 10 8 7 6
?Q J 7 6
♠4 2

After 2♠-2NT: I recommend 3? to show a non-minimum and a diamond feature. Yes, a feature is usually a king or ace, but what choice do you have? You can't rebid 3♠ as that would show a minimum. You can't rebid 3NT as that would show a better spade suit. You can't rebid 3?, because shortness is not a feature.


>There is some judgment involved (especially depending on what your partnership considers a minimum).

>Vulnerability, position and form of scoring are important.

>The main purpose is that responder is "looking for game" and opener needs to say if he is BAD (minimum) or GOOD.

>A secondary purpose is that the location of the feature could help responder to bid 3NT, or game/slam in a suit.

>2NT then 3NT by responder offers opener the choice to correct back to 4 of the major (with unusual shape). Responder's direct 3NT response is not correctable.

>Discuss opener's 4-level jump rebid after 2NT (my recommendation: A side 5-card suit, so 6-5).

>Be sure you know if a new suit is forcing after a weak two-bid (standard is "YES").

>Also learn the LAW of Total Tricks for responding to preempts. If no Game Interest, Follow the LAW.

 last updated: June 2021