If I have say,

S: AKQ1098
H: A32
D: KQJ10
C: -

With a hand like this, could I open 2 clubs?
Could the opponents call the Tournament Director on me?
What else could I bid to ensure my partner wouldn't pass on me...

  • Your opponents can always call the director if he suspects any irregularities - it is your opponents' right to do so. However, whether the director will do anything at all... not likely in this case. After all you only have 3.5 losers. As long as your convention card clearly states your 2C opening shows strength in terms of either HCP, playing tricks or losers, you can always get away with that. – petqwe Aug 9 '16 at 4:58
  • I don't understand your concern. Which regulation do you think you might be violating? As for bridge logic, surely 2c is the best opening. As you imply, anything else risks missing a cold game or even playing a good slam in a part-score. Picture partner with xx x xxxxxx xxxx. – Adam Wildavsky Aug 9 '16 at 15:18
  • Actually, the minimum acceptable hand for 2 clubs according to the ABL is something like AKQxxxxx JT9x x ---, which has 10 hcps, but will make ten tricks with "minimal" help (e.g. Q of hearts or any ace) from partner. Your hand is way above that. – Tom Au Aug 9 '16 at 20:14

This is a bit of a tough hand. I think that opening 2C is fine. You're not grossly distorting the strength of the hand (as you would be with e.g. AKQJxxxxx xx xx -void-). You'll rebid 2S; if partner supports then you can start cue-bidding and if not you can bid diamonds.

If you swapped your clubs and spades, you might open 1C, planning to reverse into diamonds, as 1C is unlikely to get passed out when you hold only 19 HCP.

  • 1
    If one holds a 0346 shape one should be very careful about opening 1C or 2C. True that 1C is rarely passed out, but more often is that you will find yourself bidding over your RHO's 4S when the board is passed back to you. The goal of this hand is to sneak past your opponents' Spade fit and still express your enormous strength. If your opponent are the more conservative players when competing against a string opening, a 2C opening is actually better than 1C in the sense that it attracts less interference. – petqwe Aug 9 '16 at 4:12
  • @petqwe: Well stated. Would you care to expand on any points I have made below? – Forget I was ever here Aug 10 '16 at 23:05

When you make a 2C opener (other than with a balanced hand too strong for a 2NT opener) you are making two promises to your partner in addition to the advertised playing strength:

  • Partner can safely double any opposing contract that outbids your side, even and especially with a bust, as a means of denying interest in further bidding, confident that the opponents will be set multiple tricks.

  • That your hand can be further described in shape with a single call. If you will need more than a single bid to describe your hand then it is almost always better to open with one of a suit instead. Exceptions should be well above minimum for a 2C opener in both offense and defense.

The reason for the first is obvious - if you are going to advertise great strength before a fit is found with partner, you must be prepared to punish opponents who interfere.

The reason for the second is more subtle; because you are consuming so much space, it is necessary that partner be capable of making decisions on level and denomination. This can only happen if you can complete the description of your hand quickly.

Your given hand meets the basic requirements for a Strong 2C, and easily meets the first extra requirement above. (Since if opponents are competing in Clubs, you are going to bid on.)

However you are not meeting the second requirement above particularly well. It is easy to construct hand for partner such as:

S: x
H: xxxx
D: A97x
C: xxxx

that will play one or even two tricks better in diamonds than in Spades. You may not be able to find the excellent diamond fit after an auction such as:

2C  3C  *  5C

where partner's double of 3C states that he is not broke.

The auction

1S  3C  *  5C

is not only very much easier for both you and partner to handle, but after the 1S opening it is less likely to have escalated to the 5 level on the first round.

I vastly prefer a 1S opening, especially against strong opponents so as to not lose the possibility of playing in a second suit.

However, against weak opponents you might open 2C in case they don't understand the reopening process.

You need have no qualms that a director might rule against you: You easily surpass the requirement for 8.5 playing tricks and 4 honour tricks, having 9.5 and 4 (or even 4.25, counting the diamond combination in a 4-card suit as 1.25) respectively.

  • I'm a bit surprised at your answer. I fear the danger that if partner has say, KQxx or KJxx in clubs, and the opponents each have 8-9 points, that the hand will be passed out, because suit overcalls need to be made at the two level. I would be much more inclined to agree if your long suit were hearts, because partner or opponents would likely bid 1S. Also, while partner's Axxx of diamonds could play a trick better in that suit than in spades, I don't see the merits of a 5D contract over a 4S contract. Again, switch opener's diamonds and hearts, and I'd agree with you. – Tom Au Aug 12 '16 at 15:47
  • @TomAu: Strong opponents don't bid so cautiously - only weak opponents do. – Forget I was ever here Aug 12 '16 at 22:05
  • So there's a "trap" element in your 1S bid? If partner passes with KQxxx of clubs and no other honors, some opponent could reopen double with 8 hcps and 1-4-4-4, thinking that partner has 11-13 for an overcall, when s/he only has 8? – Tom Au Aug 12 '16 at 22:24
  • @TomAu: Not at all. There are 21 HCP and likely 5-6 distributional points distributed amongst the other three players, for an average of 7-9 points each and about 26 total. If partner has no Ace; no KQ in a suit; and < 6 points total, that is a hand where making 4S might actually be dicey; unless partner has >= 3 spades which then guarantees additional distributional points for the opponents and virtually ensures their ability to reenter. Opponent in fourth seat will be protecting against a trap-pass by opponent in second seat, and against strong opponents you can rely on it. – Forget I was ever here Aug 13 '16 at 0:30
  • OK, I think I get it. The potential "trap" is with LHO, not with you, which is why RHO re-opens. But I believe that only two spades with partner makes you a favorite to drop the J (all opposing 3-2s, plus singleton jacks), plus the fact that partner may have the J himself, and make 4S. – Tom Au Aug 13 '16 at 0:39

You can open 2 clubs. This particular bid says nothing about "clubs." You have a solid, playable standalone suit (spades), 19 points in high cards, and at least 24-25, counting your void and sixth spade. This is the only absolutely forcing opening bid (because it is artificial), and partner must respond, unless the opponents intervene.

Partner will likely respond 2 diamonds (waiting), unless s/he has something "positive" to say, and you will bid your "real" suit, 2 spades.

Neither partner nor opponents can "reasonably" get mad at you. "Two clubs" describes your hand (as in paragraph 1). Your high card points of 19 are "close enough" to the low twenties, and the unusually good distribution puts you firmly in the right zone for total points. (You would need another ace or king if your distribution were 5-3-3-2, but as it is, your void gives you enough strength.)

People used to (50-75 years ago) bid "two spades" with this hand, but nowadays, it would suggest a much weaker hand,e.g. AKQT98 of spades without the "side" honors.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.