Lesson 5

Weak 2 Openings

We've seen in our simple opening convention that we can let our partner know we have lots of points (20+) by making the UNNATURAL bid of 2Clubs.

We can go stage further with this and with agreement with your partner, you can add "Weak 2's" into your playing convention.

A weak two level opening is a form of ‘mini-pre-empt’. A pre-empt bid is when you have a weak hand, in terms of High Card Points but a long, at least six or more cards in the same suit. The main aim of a pre-empt is to make it difficult for your opponents to get into the auction. In Benji, a weak two is only used with the major suits, Hearts and Spades. However many ACOL
teachers use weak two openings with not only the majors but also with Diamonds. Remember that a Two Club opening shows the strongest hand, so this should not be used as a weak opening bid. We'll include diamonds in our convention

Like all bridge conventions, you need to agree with your partner whether or not you will use weak two openings. Also remember that if you open with a weak two bid, you should ALERT this to your opponents.

Let's take a look at an example

A quick point count and we can see we have 9 points. Normally, not enough to open, but a look at our spades shows 6 cards and two of those are decent honour cards. This fall into the new rules for our weak 2 convention

Rule 1: We must have 6-10 HCP

Rule 2: We must have at least 6 cards in the suit (diamonds, hearts or spades - NOT clubs!)

Rule 3: We should have at least 2 GOOD honour cards in the long suit

Based on our news rules, we can see in the example above, we would open 2 Spades

How about this hand?

Well, with 7 points we can tick off Rule 1, and with 6 Hearts, we meet Rule 2 and then with the King and Jack, we meet Rule3, so Bingo! We open 2 Hearts.

How about this hand?

The points are good with 6 HCP and yes, we have a nice long 6 card Diamond, however, we only have 1 honour card in diamonds and that is a piddly Jack, so in this case we would PASS.

Ok, so we know the rules now, but why bother opening with such a weak hand anyway? What are the advantages of using a weak two opening?

A weak 2 bid is a Disruptive bid. It is designed to scupper your opponents chance of opening the bid. If they want to bid, they are now going to have to bid higher than your opening bid, which may put them off.

It's sometimes called a mini-pre-emptive bid. We look at pre-emptive bids in the next lesson.

It does have it's disadvantages in that they can sometimes make it difficult for your partner to respond especially if they hold a strong hand but are short in the suit you’ve bid. And often you will make the bid suspecting that you probably won't make the contract.

So, why make the bid then? Well, as we said, it's disruptive. You missing the contact by 1 trick may get you a better comparative score then your opponents making their 3NT contract, although vulnerability comes into play. Weak 2's are usually ok when NON-vulnerable, but steer clear if your vulnerable.

Not all hands that fit the weak two criteria should be opened with a weak two bid. If for example you have a good six card suit headed A, K, have 10 points and a void or singleton you can upgrade your hand by opening at the one level. If you partner passes your opening bid, you can then rebid your suit at the next available level, showing that you have at least five and probably six of that suit.

Because this bid gives a very accurate description of your hand, normally you will not bid again. It will be up to your partner to decide what the best contract should be. We cover responding in a later lesson.

You can see a summary of our new convention including Weak 2's here.

You can use the button below to practise our weak 2 openings or move onto the next stage where we start to add a few more elements to the opening bids.