First, what is your range for the two opener? Mine and partner’s is five to 10 points, and some others are six to 11.
Eddie Kantor prefers seven to nine, which seems like a very short range, and his style is that, as they always did when I played bridge decades ago, that the suit should contain three or four of the top honors. Kantor also says a hand with 10 points is an exception and seldom should be made.
William Root, another author and expert, is more lenient in his restrictions. Five to 11 points are required and should show a “reasonably good hand.”
I like reasonable people.
If you play party bridge where people play different styles, it’s best to know what your agreement is. It’s disastrous not to and leads to excited conversations after the hand is over.
Suppose partner has bid two spades and you are holding:
How do you respond?
There are so many ways and that may lead to other emotional and agitated discussions.
Some play “feature,” asking for an outside ace or king when they bid two no-trump over partner’s weak two opening. That was mostly when the restrictions meant opener held the honors you were supposed in the bid suit. Now that people open with practically nothing, that doesn’t get you anywhere
A Mr. Harold A. Ogust came up with what is now called the Ogust convention, and opener’s answer over the two no-trump asking bid is three clubs means weak hand, weak suit; three diamonds is good hand, weak suit; three hearts is weak suit, good hand and three spades is, I suppose, goody, goody.
I hate Mr. Ogust.
I still prefer my mini, midi, maxi asking for point count. I also like that bidding a suit other than partner’s is not forcing.
In the hands above, I would bid (a) first ask for point count, then either go to three hearts or four, depending on the answer. I might go to four anyway, depending on my mood and the defending ability of my opponents.
(b) Probably would raise his suit one level just to block the pesky opponents.
(c) Same as b.
(d) Same as b and c.
(e) This a sneaky one. My partner opened this very hand with a weak two spades. Yes, he had seven instead of the usual six. Having no spades, I bid three clubs. There was a long pause from my partner, which always scares me he is going to bid again after making a limit bid. Finally he said, “I guess I ought to alert her bid.”
I was all ears. He continued, “It is not forcing.” Whew.
I made four for a top board and this kept our opponents out of their game bid and was particularly nice in that one opponent held four spades to the ace and king. The two-spade bid would have gone down like the Titanic.
I’m still waiting on a thank you from him.
Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at email@example.com.