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New partner opens 2S - what does it mean?


Know thy partner, and thy protocols

Rubber Bridge players are often strong


Duplicate Bridge players compete early and often


Three benefits of Weak 2s




Get environmental clues


Consider the audience


And the general approach

As well as the opposition's bidding, or lack therein





When in doubt, ask your opponents


Honesty is the best policy







It's usually easier to get into trouble than knowing how to get out of it (rebids)!



This is in response to your question regarding partner's unknown 2 level opening bid.

You ask a good question -- one of many which should require partnership discussion before the cards are dealt.  When we sit down at the table with a new partner, it's wise to discuss "conventions" - coded bids that have a special meaning other than what they would seem on face value.  The "weak two" versus the "strong two" opening bid should be at the top of this discussion.

Like most of us, perhaps you were taught Rubber Bridge by friends or family who play "strong two's" and are wondering why many better players seem to play "weak two's".

While it's often unwise to generalize, you will notice that many "rubber bridge" players enjoy bidding methods that have been around for many years. Originally, Bridge players used two-level bids to show strong hands and only used three-level opening bids to show weak hands (often with 7 cards in the preemptive suit). However, over time, many competitive players found it advantageous to use most two-level bids as "weak two" preemptive bids, too.

Similar to the three-level weak preemptive bid, the idea of the weak-two level preempt is to take bidding space away from the opponents; this makes it difficult for them to find a game fit, provide your partner lead direction and an opportunity to increase the preempt (especially with favorable vulnerability).

But let's focus on your question:

"How is one to know what the bid is, in fact?"

If this is your first session with your partner and unfortunately you haven't talked about any conventions, it's not an easy question to answer!   If I was at a social gathering playing informally and no one seemed to even want to discuss conventions, I'd probably have to assume they are all playing "strong two" bids.

If I was playing in a duplicate game, I'd assume my new partner was playing "weak two" bids.  I'm not trying to imply that all
Rubber Bridge players play "strong two's" and all Duplicate
players us "weak two'", but it's often true.

Sometimes there are other clues, as a partner mentioning SAYC (Standard American Yellow Card) or other Systems which include the "weak two" bidding system. 

Other times you can almost tell by the context of others bids and the cards you are holding. If my partner opens with a two-level bid and I have an opening hand (13 High Card Points) or more, it's mathematically improbable that the Partner is making a strong-two bid. Similarly, if the bidding went:

P - (P) - 2H - (?)

and your Right Hand Opponent (in fourth seat) did anything other than pass, your can probably figure partner was making a weak-two bid. Otherwise, it probably would not be logical for the Right Hand Opponent to be bidding.

A couple final points:

If an opponent has made a two-level bid, you are entitled to ask their partner (on your left of the two-level bidder) what the unknown bid means - weak, strong, conventional meaning.

If an opponent asks you about your partners two-level bid and you don't know yourself, you should say "we do not have an agreement about the bid". They may not like this, but that's the rules of the game. However, you should be sure to immediately discuss this with your partner after the play of the hand so it won't happen again!

The 2 Club bid is always strong, even though the point range varies a bit between the weak-two and the strong-two bidding.

Ironically, in Duplicate Bridge Laws, neither "weak two" nor "strong two" bids require any kind of "alerts" by the partner of the person making the bid! So unless an opponent asks or they look at the Opponents Convention Card, it might remain a mystery what the bid meant. However, well over 95 percent of Duplicate players enjoy the benefits of the "weak-two" approach (if not playing a conventional treatment).

Using a "weak-two" approach requires more partnership agreements to discuss various permutations (forcing/non-forcing responses, rebids, opponent interference, etc). This should be considered before a partnership changes from a "strong-two" to a "weak-two" approach.

In summary, it's always a good idea to ask your partner
what conventions they want to play before picking up your cards!



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