The Next Step: Responding to Weak Two-Bids

This is lesson two of our four lesson block focusing on The Next Steps for Preemptive Bidding.

As always, the curriculum builds on the previous lessons and the concepts and hands get harder.

If you have the time, I’d suggest that you complete the first Weak Two-Bids lesson, or watch the original lesson video before you get started on the new hands.

Quick Tips

  • Raising partner’s weak two-bid to three (eg 2♠️ p 3♠️) could be preemptive

  • Raising partner’s weak-two bid to three is NOT asking partner to go four. It’s called RONF (Raise is the Only Non Force)

  • Raising partner’s weak-two bid to three shows three trumps (eg 2♠️ p 3♠️). It’s not really about points

  • Raising partner’s weak two-bid to game with four trumps (eg 2♠️ p 4♠️) is not really about points either

  • Even if you don't make the contract, the other side could have made theirs, if they’d had a chance, so it’s a win-win

  •  2NT is a forcing response (16+ points) asking opener to describe their weak two-bid further

  • After the 2NT enquiry, show a feature with a better hand (eg ♦️K54), rebid the trump suit with a minimum, and bid 3NT with a solid suit

This week’s hand:

Partner, West (your side vul, they not), opens a weak 2♥️, and the next hand, North, overcalls 2♠️. What do you bid?

West     North    East        South
2♥️        2♠️    ?    

David Appleton.jpg

David Appleton

On average, given we have a nine card fit, 3♥️ seems the go. This hand wants to compete, but does not have the playing tricks or values to consider playing game.

Hence, i would bid 3♥️, and defend 3♠️ if they bid over that. We do not know whether their 3♠️ will make, but are fairly sure our 4♥️ will not, although on a seriously good day it might
eg ♠️8 ♥️AK10942 ♦️86 ♣️Q986

However, it is better not to hope for the world when the average hand eg ♠️85 ♥️AK9832 ♦️98 ♣️864 makes it far from certain. What we do know is that it is wrong to let them play at the two level with reasonable values and a nine card fit.

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Matt Smith

If partner has the ♦️Q and ♥️AK we have 10 easy tricks. If partner doesn't have the ♦️Q, we'll struggle to make 4♥️. We would need the ♦️Q onside and the A♣️ onside (or partner with the ♣️Q).
If the partnership uses 2NT as an invitational+ heart raise, then I would use that. Hopefully partner can bid 3♦️ to say "I have something useful in diamonds."
If not, then I'll go safe and bid 3♥️ to play.

(3NT is never going to work because we don't have a spade stopper and partner is highly unlikely to have one either.)

GeO Tislevoll.jpeg

GeO Tislevoll

I would just compete with 3♥️. To make game is unlikely, and will require magic cards from partner. Being pushy when game is not likely will make you go down often. In teams, you will lose five or six imps lots of times before you eventually win one game.  Even if we have three or four diamond tricks, the opponents might take three or four tricks before we get in.

Some might play 2NT as a game invite in hearts in this situation, which would have been nice here. Partner can bid game with, eg a singleton spade and good hearts, but 2NT from most players will be interpreted as a general invite; typically a hand with a spade stopper, a few tricks on the side and a heart honour.


Joan Butts

Summing up. The boys all agree that trying for game here is very pushy, even though your side is vulnerable (partner might have ♥️AK109xx and a little outside). You’d gain a lot if you made ten tricks, but you also have a lot to lose if you fail in 4♥️ when the rest of the field is not bidding game. The hand is quite defensive, so if the opponents bid on to 3♠️ over your 3♥️, you would hope to beat them. So all round, it appears that 3♥️ will work perfectly, to either play or defend 3♠️. The concept of 2NT being a game invitation in hearts as opposed to a hand with a spade stopper sounds like a good thing to learn!