North south vulnerable

Working with a weak two

Play Bridge: Tips and tricks for bridge players new to experienced.

A weak two is a preemptive bid of two diamonds, two hearts or two spades. It is a very descriptive bid showing a six-card suit with two of the top three honours or three of the top five honours and five to a flat 10 points.

If partner has not had a chance to bid, a weak two shows no outside four-card major, no voids and it will not make game opposite a minimum opener. A six-four hand is always stronger than the total number of high card points indicate.

There is quite an effective rule for the partner of a weak-two opener. It is called the rule of 17.

The Rule of 17: When partner makes a weak two, one adds ones HCP’s (hopefully aces and kings which are more useful than queens and jacks opposite a preempt.) to the length of support. If this equals 17 or more, one can raise partner’s weak two to the four-level.

For example, this is how one would respond to partner’s opening bid of two spades for each of the three hands listed above. You would raise to game with hand A (15+3), pass with B (14+3 =17 but very quackish)  and raise to 3  as a further pre-empt with C.

The bidding: South opens a perfect two spades in first seat and partner raises to game. He has 13 effective points and four-card support which satisfies the rule of 17. The queen of diamonds is not counted.

The Lead: Leading a worthless doubleton is a last resort lead. It distracts partner from a better line of defense because he will return your suit if he gets in. With trump control and no natural lead, a doubleton may work if partner has the king and queen or has the ace and ducks the first time.

The queen of hearts is the proper lead.

The play: Declarer wins the ace of hearts, draws trump and plays on clubs. East sees that tricks will disappear on clubs so he cashes the ace of diamonds. West signals that he has the king with the nine. The defenders will get three tricks. Declarer makes four hearts for +620.


-Had there been a club lead, declarer would have made six spades for +680.

-All the bridge columns may be viewed at

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