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+. 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 unbalanced, the 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: A K Q 10 8 7 6
A Q 3 2
. I couldn't stand the thought of 1-P-P-P. I would not open 2 with this "22" count: AKJ2
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.
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 catch-all/waiting 2? Only with a good hand and a good suit. By good, I mean 8+ HCP and a decent (two+ top honors) 5+ card suit. So, I would respond 2 to 2 with, say: 32
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:
These "stop in a partscore" auctions come up once a decade.
If responder does anything other than issue a 2nd negative, the partnership is forced to game. If responder uses a 2nd negative and then repeats his "suit," it is natural. For example, 2-2-2-3-3-4 means: "I am cancelling the 2nd negative and showing you that I really have clubs" -- something like: 32
J 4 3 2
K J 9 8 7 6
If responder raises opener's rebid, the principle of fast arrival is used. So, 2-2-2-4 is weak (maybe 32
Q432), while 2-2-2-3 is stronger (maybe A2
Responder's double of an overcall shows a terrible hand (0-3). Pass by responder shows a game-forcing hand. Responder's free bid shows 8+ HCP and a good 5+card suit. If they overcall and opener doubles, it is takeout.
For a complete LC Standard card and a prettier version of these articles, visit Bridge Winners.