Strong 2C Openings and Responses: Answers

2C Opener

Big Balanced Hands

A balanced hand should be opened 2C if it has 22 or more HCP.

After 2C-2D, 2NT shows the range 22-24 HCP.

After 2C-2D-2NT, responder’s bids mean the same as if the opening bid was 2NT. Specifically, Stayman and transfers are ON.

After 2C-2D, 3NT shows the range 25 to 27 HCP.

You and your partner need to decide what 4C means after 2C-2D-3NT. It could be Gerber or it could be Stayman. I recommend that you play it as Gerber and give up on Stayman at this level.

I recommend that transfers are still on over the 3NT rebid.

With 28 to 29 HCP opener rebids 4NT. With 30 to 31 HCP opener rebids 5NT. Don’t worry, this will never happen to you.

Big Suited Hands

A big single suited hand should be opened 2C if it is within about a trick and a half of game. For a major suit, this is 8 1/2 tricks, while for a minor suit this is 9 1/2 tricks .

If the hand is light on outside defensive tricks then consider opening it with a game bid instead to preempt the opponents.

Jumping in your suit shows extra length and sets trumps .

Big Two Suiters

Big two-suited hands are difficult to describe in the bidding space available.

Sometimes it’s appropriate to open these hands one of a suit and then jump-shift.

Big Three Suiters

Big three-suited hands are the most difficult to describe after opening 2C.

If the singleton is a top honor, consider opening as if the hand were balanced.

Otherwise, you have to treat one of your suits as if it were five cards long.

Responding to the 2C Opener

Positive Hands

A positive hand is one that has slam ambitions even if partner has the 22-24 balanced variant of a 2C opener. (i.e about 8+ HCP)

Positive Suited Hands

Suit quality is the most important criterion in deciding to give a positive response in a suit.

The suit should be at least five cards long and contain two of the top three honors.

Positive Balanced Hands.

With a balanced hand of 8+ HCP it’s still better to treat it as a waiting hand to preserve space for opener to describe her hand.

Negative Hands

A negative hand is one that has doubt about whether the partnership can make game.

A hand with a King or an Ace is never a negative hand.

Waiting Hands

Hands that aren’t positive or negative.

Response Systems to 2C

Standard Response System

With a negative hand, respond 2D first. Pass opener’s NT bids. Over a suit, bid the cheapest minor suit.

Raising opener’s suit to game is less encouraging than a single raise. (Example: 2C-2D-2S-4S as compared with 2C-2D-2S-3S).

2H Immediate Bust Response System

Respond 2H with a negative hand.

The 2D response is still waiting but now it’s gameforcing.

Control and Step Response Systems

You may play against people who show controls or steps in response to 2C. I play controls in my advanced partnerships. I do not recommend step responses because plain HCP information is not very useful to the big opener. When your partner opens 2C a king is worth a lot more than a stray queen and a jack.

If your opponents are playing control or step responses you have the opportunity to double their artificial bid to request a lead of that suit.

Coping with Interference

Pesky opponents will get into your 2C auctions, especially if they are not vulnerable.

General Principles

Double usually shows a negative hand, with some doubt about whether game is possible.

Pass is waiting .

Suit responses are encouraging, but not necessarily as strict as the positive responses to 2C in an uncontested auction.

Copyright 2014: Peter Haglich