Opening the bidding with 23+ points
How do you open the bidding when you have a hand with 23+ points. The strong 2♣ convention is a way to show this strong hand. This is an artificial bid meaning not related to Openers club suit holding, responder must make sure to keep the bidding going for at least 1 round so that opener may more accurately describe his hand.
Choose the best bid for your hand
Strong Opening 2’s
If you play opening at the level of 2 is strong in all suits, opening 2♣ has a very different meaning than opening 2♠ 2♥ and 2♦. The rules are different for 2♠ 2♥ and 2♦ which are natural bids and again for 2NT which has different point count and addresses distribution of cards in a hand.
Opening 2 Clubs.
A 2♣ opening bid is the strongest it says nothing about your club suit but promises a minimum of 23+ TP and is forcing partner to keep the bidding going until game is reached. Of course with 10 points partner will probably want to keep going to slam in which case they will probably use Blackwood or Gerber Convention to ask about your aces.
Opening 2 Spades, 2 Hearts or 2 Diamonds.
Opening 2♠ – 2♥ – 2♦ shows less points then a 2 Club bid, usually 17-22 HCP better than 8 or 9 playing tricks but not enough for 2♣. Usually these bids show a good suit, partner is not forced to bid game, but depending on partners cards and point count decides whether to end in part-game, game or slam.
Opening the bidding with 2NT tells partner you have 20-22 HCP and a balanced hand. This is not a game force bid. Partner can use the Stayman Convention, make a negative takeout bid or can bid game or slam.
Exercise: You pick up this hand and it is your turn to bid, what is your opening bid?
- ♠ A
- ♥ A K Q J 8
- ♦ K Q J 9 6
- ♣ K 4
Answer: Bid 2♣. Don’t be tempted to bid 1♥ as your partner may pass with less than 6 HCP and you would miss out on finding a game contract.