Two Club Opening

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 07/01/2012
Level: All Levels









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
?K 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
), while 2?-2?-2?-3? is stronger (maybe ?A2


In Competition


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.



Additional Reading:

What Should we Play