ACBL05 - 2 Clubs: Strong with                           Ward Trumbull

                                            Jacoby Step Response                   Apr 25, 2012

                                                                                                                 Page 1 of 6


     When you play the Weak 2 Convention, the only strong-forcing opening bid you can make is 2 Clubs.  Your partner cannot and must not pass on you.  


Strong 2 Clubs Convention


A partnership must agree in advance whether or not a 2 club opening bid is forcing to game.  70% of bridge players have never thought about

this, one way or the other.  In these cases quite often, the responder with few HCP bids once and then passes.  If declarer plays the hand and makes game, the partnership needs to review the way they play the

strong 2 clubs.  


     This is normally a suit hand but might be a notrump hand (explained

     below).  In fact, it often is a two-suited hand.  You open 2 clubs when  

     your hand is either strong in HCP or is a great distributional playing

     hand.  Think of it this way:


           It’s so good; you don’t want to take a chance of partner passing an

           opening 1 level bid.  So you open 2 clubs.


     NOTE: This is considered the “standard” 2 club type hand and DOES

                  NOT have to be alerted.


Strong 2 Clubs – High Card Points


     How many HCP must this 2 club hand have?  It really is not a case of

     points.  It could be as few as 9 HCP but normally is in the 20s.


                 HCP        Clubs            Diamonds        Hearts        Spades

                 ------         --------           --------------        ---------    ---------------------

                    9              x                      x                    x          AKQxxxxxxxxxx

                   15                               AKJxxx                x          AKxxxx

                   22             Ax              KQJx               AKJxxx    A



                ACBL05 - 2 Clubs; Strong with                            Apr 25, 2012

                                           Jacoby Step Response                      Page 2 of 6


Strong 2 Clubs – High Card Points (continued)


    The 9 HCP hand should easily make 4 spades.


    The 15 HCP hand should only lose 1 diamond, 1 heart and1-or-2  

    spades.  Partner’s hand could have as little as the queen of diamonds or    

    spades to cinch a 4 spades or 5 diamonds contract.


    The 22 HCP hand could lose 1 club, 2 diamonds and 1 heart.  Partner’s

    hand could supply as little as the 10 of diamonds or 10 of hearts to

    make a 4 heart contract.


Strong 2 Clubs – Responses (the confusion begins)


        Two Notrump – This was the original intended response to an

                                  opening bid of 2 clubs.  It was the “bust” bid

                                  indicating 0-6 HCP.  Any suit bid indicated a 4+ card

                                  suit with 7+ HCP.  No one plays this anymore.


    Then variations crept in.


        Two Notrump – Any suit bid indicated you had at least an ace or king

                                 in your hand.  The 2 notrump bid denied any aces or

                                 kings.  Likewise, it is no longer in use.


    And then more variations crept in.


        Two Notrump – Any suit bid indicated you had an ace in that suit.

                                 The 2 notrump bid denied any aces.  Forgotten.


And then along came the 2 diamond response.


        Two Diamonds – Over the years this response could be:


  1. A waiting bid to hear what partner’s strong suit

is, regardless of how many HCP you had.

                ACBL05 - 2 Clubs: Strong with                             Apr 25, 2012

                                           Jacoby Step Response                       Page 3 of 6


Two Diamonds Response (continued)


  1. A “bust hand” with 0-6 HCP.  Any other bid

     (including 2 notrump) indicates 7+ HCP.

     This is still popular.


        Note: See ACBL05C for all possible 2 diamonds responses.


Jaboby Step Response – Played by many-many players


      When you open a forcing distributional 2 club hand, you already know

      which suit the contract will probably play in.  So you are more

      interested in your partner’s HCP than his/her suit distribution.  This is

      done with a response using the Jacoby Step Response convention, as

      follows in groups of three HCP:


                           Response        Meaning

                          ----------------    ----------------

                          2 diamonds      0 - 3  HCP

                          2 hearts            4 - 6  HCP

                          2 spades          7 - 9  HCP

                          2 notrump      10 - 12  HCP

                          3 clubs           13 - 15  HCP      and so on.


     Then the opener will bid his/her strong suit which should have at least

     six cards.  If it is only a five card suit, it should be headed by the ace,

     king and queen.  If there are two suits to offer, bid the higher ranking

     suit first, regardless which suit is longer or stronger (HCP).


     In the 15 HCP example above, the spade suit would be bid first.

     In the 22 HCP example above, the heart suit should be bid first.


     NOTE 1:  If the response HCPs indicate enough points to consider

                     slam, be sure to first bid your suit at the three level before

                     using Gerber or Blackwood.  That way your strong hand will

                     be the declarer.

                ACBL05 - 2 Clubs: Strong with                               Apr 25, 2012

                                           Jacoby Step Response                         Page 4 of 6


Jaboby Step Response (continued)


     NOTE 2: If partner’s Jaboby response is the suit that you were going to

                    bid, partner will be the declarer.


     NOTE 3. The Jacoby Step Response MUST be alerted.  If the

                    opponents ask you to describe the bid, say something like:


                    “Partner has 7-9 high card points.”



Strong 2 Clubs – 22-24 Notrump Hand


     Many bridge players have chosen to use an opening 2 club bid to also

     indicate a notrump type hand with typically 22-24 HCP.  They open

     2 notrump with 19-21 HCP.


     Note that with these players 2 clubs notrump hand is stronger than

     their opening 2 notrump hand.


     So their opening 2 clubs bid could either be the strong playing

     distributional hands described above or the 22-24 HCP notrump hands.       


     The responder has no way of knowing which type hand it is.  

     Regardless, after the response (whatever type), the opener rebids a suit

     or 2 notrump.


     When your partnership plays these dual type 2 notrump hands, you

     must be alert to the points counts required to bid/reach game.


          1. The popular opening 19-21 HCP 2 notrump

              Typically, the responder needs 5+ HCP to continue on to game.


     2. The delayed 2 clubs----rebid 22-24 HCP 2 notrump

         Here the responder needs only 2+ HCP to continue to game.


                ACBL05 - 2 Clubs: Strong with                               Apr 25, 2012

                                           Jacoby Step Response                         Page 5 of 6


Both Type 2 Notrump Bids


If the responder continues over either type opening 2 notrump bid, his/her options are:


     1. 3 clubs – Stayman trying for a 4X4 major fit

     2. 3 diamonds – a transfer to responder’s 5+ card heart suit

     3. 3 hearts – a transfer to responder’s 5+ card spade suit

     4. 4 clubs – Gerber asking for the number of opener’s aces.


Remember: You can transfer and pass with no HCP.


2 Clubs Response Rules


      Regardless what type hand your partner opens 2 clubs with,

 with few exceptions, your partner should be the declarer (i.e., the   

 strong hand).  With that in mind, the response rules are:


Not Playing Jacoby Step Response (JSR)

-------- ----------------------------------------------


      Avoid responding at the 2 level to an opening 2 club bid with:


           1. Any 4 card major

           2. Any 5+ card major that doesn’t have at least the ace, king

               and/or the queen




           1. If opener’s hand is distributional, it’s likely to be in one or both

        of the majors.  And opener will be the declarer.

    2. If it is a 22-24 HCP notrump hand, over opener’s 2 notrump

        rebid, you will have Stayman (2+ HCP needed) or major

        transfer (0+ HCP needed) available.


      Just keep it open with a 2 diamonds bid.

                ACBL05 - 2 Clubs: Strong with                               Apr 25, 2012

                                           Jacoby Step Response                         Page 6 of 6


2 Clubs Response Rules (continued)


Playing Jacoby Step Response (JSR)

--- ----------------------------------------------


      Your JSR point count response often is a major because 2 hearts is

      4-6 HCP and 2 spades is 7-9 HCP.


              1. When your JSR suit is opener’s strong suit:


                1. If partner rebids 3 of that major, he indicates only 5 cards in that suit.  With 3+ card support, bid 4 of that       

major.  If not, keep the bid open somehow.  


           b.  If partner rebids 4 of that major, he indicates 6+ cards

                in that suit.  It is so good, he needs no support from



           c.  If partner rebids 4 clubs (Gerber), you may end up

                playing a slam in your JSR suit.


                  2.  If partner rebids 2 or 3 of the other major, he indicates

                       only 5 cards in that suit.  With 3+ cards in that suit, bid it    

            at the next available 3 or 4 level.  If not, keep the bidding

  open somehow.


                  3.  If partner rebids 2 notrump (22-24 HCP), you have     

                       Stayman (2+ HCP needed) or major transfer (0+ HCP    

            needed) available.