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Bridge: Two level preempts

Mainstream Weak Twos

The archive developed naturally when I got bored with UK "Benjamin" two bids and 6 card weak two's, but had trouble handling 5 card preempts. If I had only known what awaited me! I'd joined the Usenet discussion group, and soon found my way to a large number of quite exotic or surprising styles spotted on the Web, posted to r.g.b or simply seen at tables in UK or Europe. Last counted in 2005 - 75 entries!

Email me any new styles

I hope you enjoy the collection. If so a link from your own Web site would be most welcome.

Once I had published my collection in hypertext format, the site has attracted a number of emails - most of the stuff from USA and Pacific ring have come via this route. If you have any tricks I haven't heard of, and don't mind them pasted up, do write in. I try to to attribute contributions where appropriate.

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Archive structure

Exotic styles

link: exotica are archived separately, but many are legal in general events. Read these up if you plan to play in other countries!


link: Brown Sticker openings Brown Sticker styles are banned as too hard to defend generically. Uusually they lack a 4 card "anchor" suit.

Assumed fit preemptsNew

Everyone should look at the emerging 4-4 two suited methods. Scandanavia's Ekren 2D, weak both majors, led the way. But a "natural" 2H opening showing 4H, 4S would seem playable anywhere! I feel assumed fit style to be the most interesting development in preemption over the past decade albeit there were some earlier pioneers.

Tested defences remain hard to find. There are ideas on the generic defences page, or try this translated article from Norway


Ways to bid on constructively after partner's weak two.


Tips on when to use weak two preempts. These improved my own game.

Your worthy opponents

in progress 2004 Bridge is a game for four players, not two! Partnerships must discuss what to do when those pesky opponents overcall or double your preempt.

The archive also has page of tested defensive methods.


See how I estimated frequencies for various weak two styles using Monte Carlo method and Hans van Staveren's superb dealer.exe. This efficient utility can be downloaded from Henk Uiterwaal's site.

Other stuff

r.g.b debates on Wilkosz or Brown sticker
My version of 2C with paradox negatives and a Allows 3 tiers of weak two in a natural system!

Weak Two index

link: Site index The Archive is indexed by opening bid, suit held and by hand type. Alternatively use the Google search engine for key words.

this site the Web Google advanced search

Updates (in past 2 years or so)

June 08 Portugal's Paulino M. Corrêa kindly offered his F2 two bids, a complete system focussed on fast expression of 5-5 types. Paulino plays these with various partners in Lisbon.
March 08 Apologies to aficionados of this facility for some recent rather awful problems. I moved house from Cavendish Road in 2007 and my ISP Demon Internet gave me no end of problems, wiping the site twice. I've now bought my own domain as you can see and things look stable at last! I'd ask Weak 2 fans to please change any links on their own websites ( base domain won't have to change again! Paste-in HTML code is available here if you want it.

We have an new myxomatosis variant, offered by Australia's Tony Rolf. Please keep them coming, and note my new email address

June 06 I updated this page's Multi 2D to reflect new (local to UK) regulation.


Standard Weak twos: 5-11 six card suit (commonly majors)

note Defined 5-11 points and a six card suit of reasonable quality (says ACBL yellow card)

Response A 2NT.enquiry of some sort is very common. Others play 2NT asking for simple rebid(min) or a side suit feature (max). Undisciplined Responses are worth a look, and Paul Baker's simple new suit method finds those superfits

Frequency For 5-11 ... 1.5% per suit - 3.0% both majors - 4.5% majors and a weak 2D

Pro points Well defined and accepted. Standard in USA (in 3 suits S/H/D)

Against Predictable and easy to defend. It pays to swing the style a little! you lose these bids for strong hands (but why are you here?)

Defence 2NT=16-18 suit=5card natural x=takeout works well. When taking out you need some method to exchange strength information. I discuss this further on my defence page along with methods for nastier preempts.


Weak 2 Diamonds


Defined 2D = 6 card suit 5-11 points (or a looser style). Common in USA. Is the 2D pre-empt really worth its own entry? I believe so. Both from my own experience and from posting in r.g.b this innocent looking pre-empt is a real tricky dicky! >Nobody wants to penalise it, and there is a much greater tendency for opponents to go wrong after you have bid it.

Why does it work? Some feel that it is opponent's need to expore possible fits in both majors - putting pressure on sequences where theuy might otherwise try to stop safely. In UK there is also an unfamiliarity factor.

So well worth considering if you have no better use for the bid. But if you don't need 2D as a strong opening look at these other juicy possibilitiesfor the opening 2 diamond.

Defence 2NT = 16-18, maximally one major (system=on), suit = 5 card and natural, x = both majors


Non Standard Weak Twos - Freestyle

note Defined 5-11 points and a five+ (four even!) card suit of any quality.

Nicely termed as Abysmal Two's in Adrian Thomas's article in the WBU newsletter (spring 98) describing the bidding habits of the Principality's traditional English foe. Adrian gives requirements as roughly a five card suit of some nature, a hand with 13 cards and a dislike for placing green cards on the table. "The rules of 300 and 500 are to be replaced by 1100 and 1900". This has certainly become a common English style in recent years. CUBC made an r.g.b posting on this. It would appear that little has changed since I played there in the 70's - except now they use the Multi.2D to discriminate the rubbish from the complete rubbish!,/p>

This is an interesting point. If your partner can discriminate between 5 and 6 card two's he can use total trick theory to extend your preempt appropriately. Of course it also helps the opponents to double you. If favour of freestyle/abysmal two's you should note that five card suits are much commoner than six suiters (see EHAA below)

frequency about 6.45 for the majors. Say 9% including diamonds (without 4cM)

Licences The EBU definition used to be Natural, 5+ cards, 'rule of 22 or less', but the new Orange Book is much less restrictive. So long as you do not mix weak and strong hands and hold at least 4 cards in the suit bid, you can do this right down to level 2 (God help them!) Rule of 22 still applies and your partner must explore game if his hand justifies it opposite a decent pre-empt.

Defence We defend them just as standard weak two's, but might convert a double to penalty more often


Non Standard Weak Twos - EHAA

note Defined Every Hand An Adventure! Freestyle weak twos in all four suits!

The American EHAA style incorporates such weak two's (in all four suits) as part of it's structure and suggests opening all 6-12 point five card suits without reference to quality. This seems similar to the style above but EHAA proponents stress the benefit of getting to your own contract fast, at the loss of calculated total trick based raises. This is a pairs system but works equally well at point-a-board (rare in UK).

A EHAA summary is available online for the interested giving both SAKQJxxxxxx and Sxxxxx as acceptable suits!

Simple responses including 2NT are not forcing. There is a brief book on EHAA by Eric Landau and Randall Baron giving more detail. (USA bridgeurs should note that EHAA also incorporates a nippy 10-12 notrump).

Frequency Around 13% (2H/2S). 25% for full Monty EHAA in four suits. The less standard your method the commoner it becomes!

Pro points Basically a disruptive weapon. Psychic in some hands, although with such a wide range psyching is difficult!

Against In response it is hard to sort out the good from the bad or ugly. Some do this only in 3rd position or NV

Defence See standard methods. There is a case for playing a penalty double, in which case you may find Hackett defence useful.

Every Hand An Adventure - Devyn Press (USA) 1996, ISBN 0-939460-61-0

Benjamin (weak major two's retaining Strong Twos)

note Method
  • 2C = 8 tricks in an nspecified suit, or rebid 2NT to show 19-20 balanced
  • 2D = Game force type or a 23-24 point 2NT
  • 2H/S = a weak two in a style of your choice!
  • 2NT = 21-22 balanced
    No trump ranges vary - some divide the 20-24 range between just two 2NT's and play the third as either 3-suited or a both minors preempt

Responses Opposite GF 2D most play a 2H negative. Over the weaker 2C a 2D relay approach is better - it allows opener to show either major. These may then be treated as forcing, or otherwise.

Frequency Depends on style of your weak two as above

Pro points You achieve the "Holy Grail" of the famous S K "Skid" Simon (originator of Acol) - to play weak twos and strong twos!

Against The responses to 2D cramps the bidding of big hands, especially those holding heart suits See "reverse Benji" below.

Variant Some prefer 2C game forcing with 2Das the Acol Two. This style is awkward for hearts and I'd recommend my ParadoX Advances if you play this. Alternatively some players deploy only the more effective weak 2S

One can more or less sit down opposite a stranger and agree "Benji Acol" or "reverse Benji" in UK.

Albert Benjamin was a 1970's Scottish international.


Flannery 2 Diamonds or 2 Hearts


Flannery isn't really a weak two as it show opening values

Defined 2H or 2D showing (10)11-14 hp, 5+ hearts and exactly 4 spades

If you are willing to give both openings, then look at the variant played in Taiwan

Response 2NT relay with either ..

  • 3C/D=min splinter 3H=min 4522 3S=46xx 3NT=4522 max 4C/D=max-void
  • 3C/D=3+ in the suit (fragment)
  • 3H=min 4522 3S=46xx 3NT=4522 max 4C/D=suit {Gilad Benjamini}

Frequency 4% for 4/5 or 4/6 11-14

Flannery defence {from Stu Goodgold of}

Against 2D Flannery

Dbl = strong balanced 15+
2H = 3 suited take out
2S = natural (5+)
2NT = minors

Against 2H Flannery (uncommon)

Dbl = strong balanced hand
2S = natural
2NT = minors

or Dbl = 3 suit take out
2S = natural
2NT = strong balanced hand

The benefits of Flannery are complex, and (as so often) more appreciated when you don't bid it

  • It solves that rebid problem after 1H - 1NT (forcing or not)
  • Responder safely can bid 1NT as above with 4 spades (concealing the suit)
    1H - 1S is now logically 5+ cards,and may be raised with three
  • You don't have to cater for moderate 4-5 majors in the rest of your system
  • Competition: after e.g 1H (3C) ? .. opener will rarely have four spades and you can call accordingly

Whether all this is worth loss of 2D as strong or preemptive hand is up to you. Personally I avoid the problem by making 1H - 1S one round force, and 1NT (NF) a moderate hand with spades (a Granville/Kaplan inversion)

US player John Kelsey likes Flannery and has extended its application nicely to include many of the tricky 4441 hands. He plays 2D as

  • Classic 4=5=x=x 10-13 as above
  • 4-4-4-1 four spades but any other singleton 10-13
  • 4-4-4-1 four spades but any other singleton 21+

The 4 card guaranteed spades suit both make "Romaflan" ACBL legal, and I imagine tame its use at the table. A nice example of what can be added into an under-stretched opening. John has system notes - write to him via x0_x0_x "at"


Dutch Twos - "Muiderberg"

note Defined 6-10 five+ card major and four+ card minor

Anton van Uitert has remainded me in an email that the Dutch play Muiderberg quite strictly as 5 card major, commonly combined with the Multi 2D. This has the advantage of allowing partner to judge pre-empt extension to a "T", a cost of making opponent's penalty double more effective.

Response Either 2NT asking for the minor, or some bid 3C={to play in the minor}
Variant (Johan Longueville) Over 2NT 3C/D = 4 card and H/S show 5 in respective minors.

My own preference has been to use 2NT as Lebensohl, which works well. You need different methods should opponents bid.

Frequency 4.2% Of these 1 in 4 will have six card major; and 1 in 5 a five card minor

Defence Henk Uijterwall of r.g.b reports that normal weak two defence is used in Holland but that you need to tweak up your penalty doubles and take the money a bit more often. 'Souljah' (also Dutch) prefers to use the standard Holland Multi defence of (2S=nat), x=balanced 2NT-3H=transfers.

Pro points Common: You don't preempt with both majors

Against penalty doubles haven't been a problem in my experience

In London this style is known as Woo Two's after the Young Chelsea player Alan Woo. Muiderberg is a subset of Lucas Two's (ie restricted to major/minor). I took up Lucas but didn't like preempting with both majors - and so got to the same opening independently, but probably last.

A variant from Belgium is to vary the Multi 2D to include Muiderberg so called Rainbow. However this has failed to achieve licencing recognition from the authorities elsewhere who still treat Multi as an exception and insist on 'traditional' weak major inclusions.

The name Muiderberg incidentally comes from the village outside Amsterdam where its inventor Onno Janssens lived. See my own 2 spade system notes for a nice picture of Muiderberg, and lebensol based response scheme linked to ParadoX methods.


Lucas Twos

note Defined 6-10 points five card D/H/S together with a four card side suit (includes other major). Lucas is in effect a generalisation of Dutch two's, although I don't know which came first. UK licence is also more restrictive with only the 2NT enquiry permitted generally. A lot of UK Lucas players over here don't care for the loose major possibilities and play it as Dutch anyway

Response 2S (over 2H)/2NT=to play in the other suit. New suit = to play. 'Raise' to 3 of opening suit invitational (a bit lame!)

Frequency About 13% for the UK licenced range of 6-10 and all three suits

Pro points More common than Standard method and allows preempt on 5 card suit. Popular in Holland (Dutch Twos)

Against Slightly more risky for both you and defenders, but you hit a fit 80% of the time

Defence Treat as standard. As Lucas has only 5 trumps you should be slightly more keen to extract a penalty. (CF Muiderberg))


"Sound" methods

  There is a lot to be said for agreeing a sound style with a pickup partner, when vulnerable, or at rubber bridge. The jewish tailor classically said "You pays your money. You takes your choice!" In choosing these openings - you might hope to avoid paying your money.

Here a few eponymous styles, mainly from USA



note Defined 2D/H/S = 7-11(v) 9-12(nv) and either a six card suit or 5+/4. Must have KQ or A outside suit bid(!)

Response 2NT(F) to rebid own suit or bid the side suit

Frequency non-vul version (7-11) is 2.2% per suit - 6.6% for all three

Pro points Well defined and partner can expect some defence

Against Alexander mixed offensive and defensive types which seems against modern preempt theory

In my opinion this makes it a weak method, but at least partner knows what you have

Defence Treat as standard

This is a style - essentially banning 5332 openings - why the honours outside?



note Defined 2H or 2S 8-11 hcp; five+ major; 2-3 in other major. Bailey denies 10 cards in 2 suits, or a void. "Popular in California" according to a posting on RGB by Adam Beneschan. Evan Bailey is a top player in San Diego His style would meld well with the the Multi 2D which tends to be more unbalanced, and as it uses the spare major bids

Frequency Similar to standard weak twos

Pro points Disruptive. Partner can take out expecting two trumps opposite. Frequent but well defined

Against I think this style invites a penalty double, but this is not always so easy to accomplish. I have not played this style, but it goes against my theoretical leanings to vary my preemps. old playing card The 2-3 holding in the other major means that opponents won't run into bad breaks on their dodgy games. Against that partner is well placed for two level business doubles.

Another South Californian, William Shutts writes: Bailey's philosophy is to get in light early, scramble to safety if necessary, and bid constructively thereafter and to disclose as little as possible in game bidding. My assessment is that they are effective at pairs and in short IMP (Swiss) matches because they tend to generate small favorable swings and have good frequency compared with standard weak-2 methods. For high-level long match play I honestly believe that they break even. If your partnership personality matches Bailey's philosophy, they are definitely worth a serious look.

Defence "You should treat Bailey differently from standard weak twos", advises fellow Californian Marvin French and play a penalty double with perhaps a lower minor as takeout. A "Weiss" double shows at least 3½ defensive tricks, with "a little something" in the suit doubled. See Goldilocks below for an even sounder style.

Evan has his system notes online



note Defined Extra sound major pre-empts - "Not too big, not too small, just right" Goldilocks
  • 8/9 HCP, 7+ in the major and some defensive values.
  • 9-13, 6+ in major. If 9 HCP and only six cards then you must hold either AKQxxx in suit, or KQxxxx in suit and an outside ace

Response There are some quite complicated available responses on the BridgeMatters Site They also list some brown sticker methods s othe site has a darker side ....

Pro points You won't get doubled much. Partner can bid confident games!

Against Low frequency. AKQxxx is rare. Many would open these 1 level

This is a style for the cautious! See also slightly looser Bailey Twos and Alexander above. In all these styles there is an inference to be drawn when partner does not open but competes later, or chooses a one bid instead.


Trent Weak Two Bids

note Defined 7-13 points, 6 card suit and "a good playing hand" At least 1 defensive trick

Another sound method and semi constructive. With a long suit and no ace or king it is recommended to open 3 level or pass. Side suits are no problem but 5-4 is only koshe in 3rd hand.

The approach is one of active bidding rather than preempt and subside. Parter will explore toward game freely, and opener may reopen opponent's partscore bids with a double if shape permits.

The style is named after Paul and Sandra Trent, but has been seen amongst other US played notably Al Roth. Zia Mamood is said to like this style vulnerable particularly at rubber bridge.

Response I'd use RONF (Raise = Only Non-Forcing response)

Pro and against see the other sound styles

From a posting on - description was ascribed to Pam Granovetter


Multi coloured 2 Diamonds

note Defined Britain's popular EBU "level 3" of competition is essentially there to allow the Multi. Definition is very specific, enforcing the multicoloured characteristic. There must be several flavours, and your mélange must contain at least two options (one weak, one strong) chosen from
  • Weak two 5+ cards in hearts (compulsory option under EBU rules) in a style of your choice
  • Weak two 5+ cards in spades (option) in a style of your choice
    Most people play the classic 'ambiguous major'. However EBU bizarely allowed 'hearts only'
    while forbidding 'spades only' from 2005. No, I don't know why either!
  • A big NT (18+) - say 20-22 or 22-24, others use 2-point ranges split between 2C, 2D and 2NT openings
  • Acol two (rule of 25, 14+ points) in a minor - 'either minor' or say 'Acol two in diamonds' are legal
  • Acol two (rule of 25, 14+ points) in a hearts or spades (uncommon)
  • A Roman 4441 strong (16+) hand (uncommon)
  • A Game forcing hand (rare)

Furthermore at least one of your strong flavours must be "reasonably frequent". It would be unacceptable to include only a 28-30 NT - this would make the opening 99.9% weak. Regulations define "strong" as rule of 23+, but my advice is to play nearer to game force, to allow clear space between weak and strong flavours in subsequent competitive auctions.

Furthermore you may not psych a Multi, and partner must explore game if his hand merits this opposite a possibible strong flavour. He may pass at his own risk with a poor hand and lots of diamonds.

Responses Vary: See Multi 2D options

Pro points Multi bundles several hand types into one bid may free 2H/S for something more exotic. It requires judgement to defend, but really very easy if you have discussed the various options

Against If opponents butt in ... it is we who need judgement!

Defences Many: See Multi 2D defence



note The opening styles above will be acceptable in most company. You will need to strike a balance within your partnership syle between definition of the opening and frequency. Relaxing the suit prescriptions to 5+ cards will let you pre-empt more often, but partner will have to raise more cautiously and you have a duty to declare the style on your card. In particular where an opening may be weak or strong those who fail to explore game opposite a possible strong type may be penalised.

The archive has further pages giving more exotic but still generally legal styles and some so called brown sticker openings legal only in top events. Personally I am particularly drawn to the recent Assumed fit 4-4 preempts often from Scandanavia. Not all of these contain the suit bid (and are then restricted). However my own choice of 2Has both majors or Tiawan's Bloody Mary 2D with both red suits are considered natural internationally and cannot be excluded from your arsenal - or your opponent's!

Some language stuff names for a weak two in various languages (intended to help the Internet search engines). French: deux feuble, Swedish: svake to, Dutch: zwak twee, and some languages I've forgotten ... zwakke,twee, svag två, slabe dwa, gyenge kettes, doi slabe. Emails with corrections and further languages would be appreciated. Use the email link below.

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