I'd prefer to use two spades myself. And save two clubs for a "weak two." Moreover, I was taught that "higher bids mean higher points" (all other things being equal). Two spades is the highest suit bid short of "pre-empts," and follows this rule. Two clubs doesn't.

With a five card (or better) major suit and 22+ points, I'm really asking for HCP from partner more than anything else. Because I'm going to assume (on averages) that partner has xxx or Qx in my suit. The expected responses (and points) are:

2NT 0-2 points. (No help. You're on your own). 3 Clubs 3-5 points. (One trick. Game possible with a reasonable fit.) 3 Diamonds 6-8 points. (Two tricks. Probable game, except with a terrible fit. Limited slam interest). 3 Hearts 9-11 points. (Three tricks. Possible slam.) 3 Spades 10-12 points. (Small slam or grand?)

The only "problem" is if my suit is hearts, and partner bids 3 hearts with 9-11 points (about half of mine). But that is a nice problem to have!

Under this system, spades would actually be my "real" suit almost half the time. (Hearts, the other half, plus the occasional NT, and with a minor, I'd use a different system.) You can't say that about a two club bid.

So why would you use two clubs over a system such as I've described? Or could you possibly prefer mine?

  • So with AKQJT98, - , Q3, AKQJ, all you need to know is how many HCP partner has? – Aryabhata Jun 7 '11 at 17:36
  • Since we were talking about Precision the other day, I seem to recall that 2C in Precision describes an above averagely good opening hand that is much the strongest (6+ length) in clubs. But of course your strong bid is still clubs, just at the one level... – thesunneversets Jun 7 '11 at 17:53
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    @TOm: After your 3S, what would partner do with a singleton/void spade? Why is spades the agreed trump? Why should the next bid by partner be a control showing bid? I was mainly disputing the claim that one should be mainly interested in HCP compared to anything else... – Aryabhata Jun 7 '11 at 18:24
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    @Tom: What is a strong enough suit? AKQxxx? Anyway, you seem to be trying to go back in time. The strong 2 bids have been discarded by players over the years. You should be able to find plenty arguments against it on the web. Good luck with your system. – Aryabhata Jun 7 '11 at 18:42
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    @aryabhatta: What I do in "real life," I'll do at the bridge table. In this case, "turn back the clock." – Tom Au Jun 7 '11 at 18:56

2 Clubs is the most useful because it leaves the 2 level open for you to describe your hand. Your side has the preponderance of strength, and thus your side would benefit the most from the extra bidding space. Conversely, keeping 2 Spades preemptive prevents your opponents from starting to investigate their hands on the 2 level. If your opponents have a heart fit, they can start to investigate it with a 2 heart bid over a preemptive 2 clubs, while they would have to start with 3 hearts over a preemptive 2 spades.

The system of responses you describe is one that exists in various formats, called Step Responses, where the weaker partner quantitatively reveals the strength of his hand to the 2 club bidder so that he may make a guess as to whether end up in game or slam.


I agree with what dpmattingly says - clubs is a useful level to bid at when you are looking for a response from your partner. Spades is a useful level to bid at when you're trying to deny bidding room to your opponents. You don't need to deny bidding room to your opponents when you have a strong hand - they may be scared to leap in and earn a costly double. You need to go as high as you can though if you are trying to lock then out of a contract that is theirs on points - only by seriously severing their lines of communication by depriving them of LOTS of bidding space do you stand a chance of achieving your desired result.

(I used to play with beginners who used to do things like overcall a strong 2C bid with a 2D bid. I hope you can say that that deprives the opponents of no bidding space whatsoever, just gives them a huge amount of valuable information about the lie of the cards!)

I'd add to what dp says, that clubs are a great suit to bid to conventionally describe a strong hand... because clubs are a rubbish suit for actual non-conventional, hand-describing bids. You almost never want to be in a clubs contract if you can help it - unless you're making a slam. 3NT is almost always better than 5C, and it's so much better than 4C you wouldn't believe it. I'd almost go so far as to say any system that actively discourages you and your partner from finding club fits is better than one that doesn't!

For all these reasons, 2C is a much better place for your strong 2 bid than 2S. It's become a standard for a reason - don't try to reinvent the wheel!

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    One of the main reasons for the death of the strong 2H,2S etc bid is the effectiveness as a preemptive bid. – Aryabhata Jun 7 '11 at 18:47
  • Not sure the advantage of him having 2S as the strong bid isn't being able to use 2C as a pre-empt or as a bid showing good clubs, forcing the opponents to start higher at the times they are more likely to outbid you. – CashCow Sep 19 '14 at 8:28

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