Bidding Standard American, and opening a "strong" two clubs (typically 22 HCPs and a six card suit), I like to hear responses of 2 diamonds (0-8 points, no more than game interest), or 2NT (9+ plus points, possible slam interest).

I don't want to hear other responses (2 hearts, 2 spades, 3 clubs, 3 diamonds) unless the responder has at least six of them headed by something like KQJ (or better). The reasons are because 1) I've "advertised" such a good 6 card suit myself, and 2) with 22 points, I don't want partner bidding "my" suit and exposing my hand as dummy. (It's unlikely that we'll both have the same 6 card suit, which is why I allow this exception.)

Am I wrong to ask my partners to limit their responses to 2 diamonds and 2NT? Or are there other viable responses to my 2 Club opening?

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    Many people play different system over 2C. What is "proper" is what you have agreed to play. If you are asking which is the "best" system to play over 2C, there is no objective answer to that. – Aryabhata Mar 5 '12 at 18:52
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    Also, your description is wrong. You don't always have a 6 card suit for a 2C opener. So assuming that and forming a system around that seems pretty inefficient. – Aryabhata Mar 5 '12 at 19:22
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    I've never heard of anyone requiring a 6 card suit for a "strong" 2C opening. – Karl Knechtel Mar 6 '12 at 9:55
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    @TomAu: Not sure where you are getting your information from. I would suggest your check your sources for credibility/staleness. – Aryabhata Mar 6 '12 at 16:13
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    @TomAu: Sounds like your whole group needs a lesson in hand captaincy; and in how to not be Hideous Hog. A key requirement for a 2C opening is that your hand be so easy to describe that you are immediately, and irrevocably, granting hand captaincy to your partner. If you and your partner understood this, there would be no need for her to rush to 4NT. – Forget I was ever here Nov 16 '13 at 18:37

If that's the system you've agreed with partner - that the only valid responses to 2C are 2D or 2NT - then it's fair enough to raise an eyebrow if they start improvising.

Personally, and bear in mind that I don't play Standard American myself, but a pretty loose take on Acol: I don't understand why you would want to restrict responses so strictly. Fair enough, you need to have a negative 2D bid, and to understand between you what that implies. Beyond that, the more expressive you can make your system, the better. What's the point of a 2NT "generic positive" bid if it just forces opener to ask more questions, at the next level of bidding, to determine the actual best contract to be in?

If my partner has enough points not to have to make a 2D bid, I'm delighted to hear about hearts or spades being his longest suit at the 2 level, even if that suit is only 5 cards or whatever. Naturally, if partner wants to talk about a minor suit, at the 3 level, they'd better have more than a 5 card suit, to be on the safe side...

  • OK, then following your suggestion, ANY bid other than 2d shows 9+ points, right? Are you worried about partner bidding "your" suit and exposing your hand? Or is 31 HCPs and 11 trumps a "dream" situation, regardless? – Tom Au Mar 5 '12 at 16:31
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    @TomAu : why are you so worried about partner exposing your hand? Your bidding already shows compelling strength, and one of your two hands will be shown regardless; what's the downside in ending up as dummy? – Steven Stadnicki Mar 5 '12 at 18:59
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    @StevenStadnicki it's usually considered that having the "stronger" hand as declarer makes the hand easier to play, which is why "transfer" bidding conventions exist. That said, if it's a laydown slam, it won't matter... – Karl Knechtel Mar 7 '12 at 1:30

The most common agreement in the US is that 2D by responder covers almost all hands. At this point you know very little about opener's hand, so if you want to take up more bidding space than that you should be very descriptive. I play that bidding a suit shows two of the top three honors in that suit and nothing of value elsewhere. 2NT by responder has no meaning. It preempts your partner, and if opener is balanced you'd prefer that defenders not get the advantage of seeing the big hand. So 2D can cover a huge range of hands. That's OK, because opener's most likely rebid is 2NT (22-24 HCP balanced), over which you play the same system as you do responding to a 2NT opener (with required point counts adjusted, of course).

Edit: I didn't notice at first that (you say) 2C is typically 22+ HCP with a 6-card suit. This is certainly not current Standard American practice, which is to bid 2C on essentially any shape with 22+ HCP. The most common 2C opener is a balanced hand with 22-24 HCP.

  • I think I was using Goren, an older standard I learned in the 1960s. That's 22-24 points and a six card suit, OR 19-21 and a SEVEN card suit, OR 25+ and a five card suit, trading cards for points at a ratio of one to three. – Tom Au Apr 15 '13 at 19:19

If you use the 2♥ double negative response, and then 2♦ can be game-forcing (2 queens or stronger). Most pairs agreeing on this employ 2♠ for positive spades and 2NT for positive hearts.

You can also reverse the 2♠ and 2NT above, making them reverse transfers.

You mean the auction 2♣-2♦;2NT-3♥/♦ can be positive 5-card ♠/♥? The tradeoff is that disastrous 4M+2 and 6M-1 are more likely to happen. :)


Oye vey. It is too restrictive to expect lots of points and a 6 card suit. You want to use 2C for most hands with either 22+ high card points or 9 offensive tricks (generally 1 short of game). Two suited hands might be best handled with other systems. Generally 2C if you don't want partner to PASS.
Responses: I can think of at least five different response agreements: [1] just waiting, always 2D waiting, [2] waiting unless you have 7+ and a five card suit to bid or 10+ for NT response, [3] 2D game forcing, with A or K or for some QQ, 2H is not GF, 2S is spades, 2NT is five card heart suit and some points/stoppers [4] steps - 2D = 0-3, 2H=4-6, 2S=7-8, etc. and [5] control showing. Controls refers to bids that show Aces and Kings only. There are many answer sequence agreements, but many use 2D has a king or does not, 2H either has 2 Kings or just 1 Ace, 2S is exactly 1 Ace and 1 King, 2NT is exactly 3 Kings, 3C is 4+ control points. Ace=2 and King=1. I have played them all. I find # 4 and 5 more useful for slam bidding.


I don't play Standard American, so this may be not the most valuable answer. But I can't believe you've read it right if the only two worthwhle responses are 2D and 2NT. Even if you do decide that you are only interested in negative (8- HCP) or positive (9+), that would be an inefficient way of doing it; why not make the positve response 2H, to give you more space? And no decent player would deliberately forego finding out partner's best suit, unless you have such a powerful hand that you only want to find out whether partner has one particular card before deciding which slam. (There are bids for this last situation, but I don't propose to discuss them; unless you are already too good to be taking advice from this site, gadgets for situations that rare can only cause trouble).

  • Let's say my hand is (s) AKJxxx (h)AQx (d) Ax (c) Ax (basically a "minimum" for 2c. Even if my partner has Kxxxx of hearts, we're probably better off in my suit than his, unless he DOESN'T have xx or better in spades. And if his Kxxxx or even Kxxxxx is opposite my two weaker suits, we're better off in two spades. – Tom Au Mar 17 '12 at 21:30
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    @Tom: No, 2S is a rotten contract to finish in. Is 4S better than 3NT? What about a possible slam? Finding the right suit is only half the battle, and that's why you need more information before you go past the 3NT level. – Tim Lymington Mar 18 '12 at 16:31
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    Actually the other way around - 2D as waiting and 2H as the double negative - saves an additional step on the slam-investigation hands where it is most valuable. See above answer by jdh8. – Forget I was ever here May 2 '16 at 16:23

My duplicate bridge teacher suggested a 2D response as either negative or "waiting" in order to see what suit(s) the opener rebid. That might keep the responder from winning the bid and exposing the stronger hand as dummy.

  • That's the way I feel. (Unless responder has something very strong or unusual to say.) Others disagree with me. – Tom Au Nov 16 '13 at 18:55

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