2 Opening bids

0020). Plan of attack
0021). Bal, 12 to 19 HCPs, weak NT
0022). Bal, 20+ points
0023). Bal, 15 to 17 HCPs, strong NT
0025). Unbal, 12 to 19 HCPs, 1 suit
0026). Unbal, Strong 2s
0027). Unbal, Pre-emptive
0028). Unbal, Gambling 3NT

Plan of attack

Ah yes, important note to start with: it is the conjunction of your first two bids that tells your partner in some detail what you have.  So you have to think about your second bid (called your "rebid") before you make your opening bid, including planning any "reverse".

You must first decide if your hand is balanced or unbalanced, and then adopt the appropriate bidding strategy.

Whichever strategy you adopt, you must also tell your partner how strong your hand is, by telling him or her in which of three broad strength bands your hand lies.  In the strongest band (23+ High Card Points), you will bid to game and you hope for slam.  In the middle band (where you have the strength for 8 tricks all on your own (1) ) game is more than 50/50, and slam is in the back of your mind.  In the weaker (and most common) band, 12-19 HCP, you are “investigating”.  Game is your main hope, depending on the rest of the conversation. 

With fewer than 12 points, you can still open the bidding if the shape of your hand is unusual. For example, it's a good thing to have some unusually long suits, or some very short suits:

  • rule of 20
  • Preemptive openings, bidding 3 when you have at least 7 cards in a suit
  • weak 2 Preemptive openings, bidding 2 (for more advanced players with exactly 6 cards in a suit)

Finally, before bidding, go through the check-list of things to think about when evaluating your hand.

As you get better at bidding, you won't need to be so blindly reliant on (or strictly adherent to) these strength guidelines based purely on the number of points in your hand. They are only guidelines. (You'll know when the time has come).

(1) However, some more advanced players usually do not use this middle band of "strong 2's" for opening when they have strong unbalanced hands.  Instead, they use "Weak 2s", and sometimes also use a special bid for 20-22 unbalanced, which still allows them to use "Weak 2s". (However, they use Strong 2s for balanced hands in the 20-22 point band).

Now try the quiz

Can you put all this into action ? Try the quiz for this subject by clicking on the link at the top left of the page, just below the main menu.
(You can try quizzes for any other subjects too while you're there. Look out for the thin red line).



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