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Weak 2's in Diamonds, Hearts and Spades

My partner and I play Benji weak 2's in the majors. He has another partner who plays weak 2's in Diamonds Hearts and Spades and has asked if we can play this too. It means giving up the Strong 2 Diamond bid.  In our current system 2 Clubs shows 23-24 points balanced or 8/9 playing tricks M/m, and 2 Diamonds shows 25+ points balanced or 9/10 playing tricks M/m, and Rule of 25 etc. for both. 
We will now have only one strong bid other than 2NT - i.e 2 Clubs. I assume this will still show 23-24 points balanced, but what do you recommend regarding required playing tricks with an unbalanced hand?
Also, under what circumstances do you suggest responder can stop short of game. At present we say 2 Clubs is usually game forcing with 2-3 points and 2 Diamonds is usually game forcing unless responder has a bust. For example, if the bidding goes 2C-2D-3m, what sort of hand would responder have to justify a pass, (I assume 2C-2D is still just a relay and 2C-2D-2M-2NT is the negative response with 0-7 points. )


  • edited 11:38PM

    Several issues arise from your comments. First, as to whether one should have two strong bids or one strong bid, the choice is clearly yours (AND your partner's, whose opinion sure does matter at least as much as your opinion). One thing that could help to guide your choice is the fact that bridge is a game of probability. That means that when there are two choices for something, it is usually best to pick the one that occurs most often. Strong game forcing hands do not occur very often, so a weak 2D bid has that going for it. It is the same argument that can be used for those who do not (yet) play weak 2 bids at all. Those bids occur quite regularly, and strong 2-bids do not. And, more importantly, if you spend some time playing various conventions, even ones you dislike, you learn their strengths and weaknesses and can therefore defend against them better than if you did not really know the convention. So, give it a try and see how it feels. Not only will you please your partner, but you will learn much more than if you avoided trying new things.

    Finally, almost everyone who plays 2C as the only strong bid uses either 2H as a first reply double negative or 2D as temporizing and cheaper minor as the second negative (saying no K and no A). Also, Mike Lawrence pretty much sums up the expert opinion on this side of the pond that the responder should NEVER bid 2NT as the first response to 2C and should bid it on the second round ONLY if the hand is balanced with values in appropriate suits.

    For an excellent discussion of 2C openings and 2D responses, go to where Mike Lawrence has a GREAT quiz on these issues and his answers are quite revealing and entertaining.

  • edited April 2015

    Some interesting comments on the 2C opening Terrence. The link to Mike Lawrence’s site is very useful and informative.

    Killeavey - The choice of whether to play Benji or Three Weak 2s is of course for you and your partner to make. For my part, I am not much of an advocate for the Weak 2 in diamonds. As Terrence observes, frequency of occurrence is one key factor in deciding on the best use of the bid. But there are other factors: how useful would it be to assign a particular meaning to a bid? If I don’t assign that meaning, do I have another way of showing this type of hand?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    Let’s look at each of these:

    -          Frequency of occurrence: Of course, weak 2s occur more frequently than strong 2s. But hands, which are short of game values, where you might miss game if partner passes, do happen reasonably often. Unfortunately not all of these are suitable for a proper, disciplined Banjamin 2C call. Equally, a weak 2 specifically in diamonds is not that frequent an occurrence, particularly if this called is used in a disciplined way (not just any old six-card suit).

    -          Strong hands in the range 18-22 (depending on shape) can be difficult to handle. The Benjamin bids can be useful – particularly if you have previously played strong 2s as the transition to Benji 2s can be less disruptive. A weak Two Diamonds call is a relatively ineffective pre-empt, which tells the opposition a lot about your hand. It can be sometimes cause the opposition difficulties – but my experience is that this is rare and a weak 2D is nowhere near as effective as a weak 2 bid in a major (particularly spades).

    -          What do you do with a strong hand, without the values to force to game if not playing Benji? A one-level opening might be best, unless partner passes. The alternative of bidding 2C to cover these hands, as well as stronger hands, can place a strain on the 2C bid. What do you do if you hold a weak 2 in diamonds, but play Benji? The world won’t end if you pass.

    Overall I think that the arguments are close either way. What is my personal preference? I play a Multi 2D, but that a whole different topic …!

  • edited April 2015

    You wrote "What do you do with a strong hand, without the values to force to game if not playing Benji? A one-level opening might be best, unless partner passes. The alternative of bidding 2C to cover these hands, as well as stronger hands, can place a strain on the 2C bid."

    If I open 1S and my partner passes, I am delighted I didn't force us to be at a higher level. If you "have a strong hand without the values to force to game" then why would you want to play at a level higher than the level at which you would play if you opened at the 1-level and partner passed?

  • edited 11:38PM

    Say you open 1S with this hand, and everyone passes:





    Partner the shows this dummy:





    You might make 10 or 11 tricks ...

    There are unfortunately difficult hands, where partner might pass your opening one bid, but you nevertheless have the combined values for game. Maybe you force to game with this hand? But this time partner has:





    Good luck making game now. The Benji 2C bid might help to bridge that gap - a strong bid, forcing for one round only. It just depends whether you think the price of having two strong bids is too high.

  • edited 11:38PM

    I would have a very difficult time bidding a hand with only 12 cards, but that is another issue :)

    First, the hand shown, if it remains a 3-loser hand when given 1 more card (say a spade), would clearly be a game-forcing hand and not part of this discussion. Let's add a third diamond to the dummy and remove a club [since being 3-4 in the minors is MUCH more likely than being 2-5 in the minors] and game is not where you want to be

    It's easy to construct hands that show how almost any bid (good or bad) can work. What counts is not producing a single hand that works, but producing a TYPICAL passed hand and see if that works. Using Dealmaster Pro will give you statistics you can use to decide the best use of bids by selecting the use of a bid as the use that is most likely to succeed. In fact, David Bird has just written two books on this very same idea. These two new books, based on computer results of "best leads," is quite interesting for the counter-intuitive results it shows.

  • edited 11:38PM

    Now I'm intigued! I have read the Bird/Anthias books and found them to be useful in rethinking and revisting my opening leads strategies.

    But I've never seen it suggested that this type of computer simulation could be used for selecting optimal bidding systems. Has this been attempted? There are plenty of variables that would need to be covered. For example, if you are comparing the effectiveness of a weak 2D opening with other options on the same hand (pass? 3D? 1D?), you would need to model how the rest of the auction will proceed (which may be dependent on the systems used by both partnerships at the table), you will then need to model the play of the hand. Bird/Anthias models the play of the hand, but remember that the play will be infuenced by the auction. So for example, if the 2D bidder is subsequently defending the deal, declarer might be assisted in the play by the knowledge of the bid.

    As far as example hands is concerned, we can of course construct hands either way. Some of them might have thirteen card!! :) Most experts that I have read seem to suggest that Acol 2 opening were powerful and effective bids - for the hands that they covered. But they have lost out in the evolutionary race due to their relatively infrequent occurrence. Benji bids are an attempt to maintain some of this effectiveness - but add higher frequency weak 2s in the majors (where they are most effective). I will be interested to see the results of any modelling that would show that the weak 2D bid is sufficiently useful for me to want that particular tool.

  • edited 11:38PM
    Do you have Dealmaster Pro? If so, set up a hand, impose appropriate limitations on other hands, if needed, and begin looking at random hands. You can find, let's say, 500 thousand hands that meet the conditions and then check the % of hands that do what interests you. Dealmaster Pro was used by David Bird in that book, They just imposed leads. Impose nothing (except the hand you want to open a Benji) and see what percent of hands do what and see if it is best use compared to other uses. THAT approach truly does give you the best bids for each situation. I agree that it is FASCINATING. When I first saw this done, I was incredulous. That was 15 years ago.  :)
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