2 Diamonds

Bridge: defending

Multi 2 diamonds

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Multi definition


Backgound: The multi-coloured 2D convention - commonly known simply as the "multi" is a combination weak two preempt showing one or other from the following menu:

  • A mainstream weak two (style of your choice) in hearts
  • A mainstream weak two (style of your choice) in spades
  • A strong hand (the licence rules demand reasonable frequency)
    NB: Some jurisdictions including ACBL allow simply either major, weak
  • Commonly further strong options may be bundled in to suit one's system ..

Within this framework there are many Multi combinations possible, but your main task is to defend the weak two.

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General defensive principles

note Much of the multi's early success was that opponents tended to gawp at the unfamiliar opening, and perhaps fearing a strong flavour .. pass. Then they tried to catch up at the next round of bidding. As a responder holding cards in both majors could advance the pre-empt (ParadoX methods recommended!) this doesn't always work. In the case of 4th hand after 2D* - 2H* you may never get another bid!

In practice 95% of multis are weak twos and the key to success is to get into the auction and to express your hand type. Several approaches are listed below

Do discuss what to do if 3rd hand jumps to the three or four level after partner's pass or call over a multi; and also the possibility of 3rd hand psyching a 2NT "strong" enquiry with card in both majors. The latter is not uncommon.

Don't forget to include pathways to defending a juicy two level doubled contract. If all your calls simply move towards finding your own fit or 3NT your opponents could, and should preempt on garbage with impunity. Take out doubles with a penalty conversion, or simply a double of 2D* showing good cards, work well here.


English style defence - Dixon

note I have put this first as it was an early method, devised when the Multi was originated in UK. C D Dixon as commissioned to summarise defenses by the EBU and his method is essentially natural with an agreements to come in early, or to later double as takeout of the suit just bid.
(2D) double A balanced hand of 13-15 hcp or 19+ any shape, doesn't promise stops
(2D) 2H/S Natural NF and 4+ cards (some play 5+) 12+ points, 7 losers or less
Maximum 2 in the other major
(2D) 2NT Balanced hand 16-18, stops both majors
I like to play "full 2NT system on" for clarity
(2D) 3C/D Natural, generally a queen or so stronger than major overcalls
(2D) 3H/S Natural and NF. 5 cards (commonly 6) and a sound 7 tricks in hand
(2D) 3NT To play. Generally a minor to run and major stops
(2D) 4C/D See ACBL methods below (uncommon in UK)
(2D) 4H/S 4 of a major is best as "to play"
6th hand bids - i.e is delayed action
(2D) pass (2H) pass
pass double

A limited hand, take out double of 2H
(2D) pass (2H) pass
(2S) double

As for the 2Hx above
6th hand calls of 3C/D are generally played either as natural,
or as that minor and the other major by agreement
(2D) pass (2H) pass
pass 2NT

Competing with both minors
4th hand bids - It is important to act here as you may not get another bid!
(2D) pass (2H) double Double of a major is take out of that suit
(2D) pass (2H) 2NT Again natural and 16-18
(2D) pass (2NT) double Important to double with values as 2NT(F) is a common psyche on weakness
(2D) pass (2S) double As for the 2Hx above but keeping in
mind that responder has something for hearts!
8th hand bids in the sweeper position bids are natural and double is takeout. I like to keep the latter sound as partner may convert. In this style play 2NT delayed as take out and competitive.
Pro points Dixon is simple to learn and use. The key is to act early.

ACBL recommended defence

note The main differences in ABCL recommended method is sophisticated use of double as takeout of spades and 2H as take-out of hearts respectively.4C/D leaping Michael's is also fashionable (reflecting its use over ordinary weak twos)

The double showing short spades is nice as it allows partner to convert for penalties when he can judge that poor fit is present. The corresponding takeout of hearts is a 2H bid(!) which doesn't really set up a penalty. Is Dixon's double=balanced more useful for this? Well I haven't got rich over 8 or so seasons. I am also not personally convinced of the efficiency of using both 2H and a natural 2S overcall to show rather similar hands.

(2D) double "take-out of spades"
(2D) 2H take-out of hearts (slightly oddly)
(2D) 2S natural
(2D) 2NT calls and above are broadly similar to Dixon defence described above, with the exception of ..
(2D) 4C/D US style leaping Michaels: upwards of 7½ playing tricks in this minor & unspecified major.

Continuations ..
4C pass 4D     Asks for the major
4D pass 4H     Is pass/correct

One neat refinement in the American style is that once a major is shown a bid in the other major is a cue. This could be general force, NT probe or a control by agreement.


Dutch style defence - transfers

(2D)double Transfer to hearts
(2D) 2H Transfer to spades
(2D) 2S Transfer to clubs
(2D) 2NT Transfer to diamonds
(2D) 3C/D Natural, but weak - a decent weak two standard!
(2D) 3H/S These and higher bids are essentially as in Dixon
(2D) pass (2H/S)* pass
(pass/conv) 2NT
Has to be played as your natural strong NT say 16-18.
With moderate balanced you defend.
(2D) pass ..
other delayed actions

As in Dixon

My informant particularly enjoyed the 3 level minor overcalls which may inform partner (who might say bid 3NT) or divert a strong 3rd hand from his well rehearsed 2NT enquiry to decode opener's multi. Wat leuk!

Transfers will get pre-empted where you have a balanced hand, but probably no great loss there. If you have a suit you will have shown it.


Multi against Multi!

note One of my pet bridge theories is that an artificial method (or variant thereof) is often a powerful defence against itself. I heard this idea from an note in rec.games.bridge.okbridge in 1997 although there are earlier references. I've developed it further and written up Multi versus multi on a separate page.

The use of lebensohl after Multi defence

note All these methods can be refined by use of the lebensohl 2NT relay, generally to show weakness. The retionality of this is that starting at 2M level we havel lost the space needed in approach forcing to show weakness, invitation or game going values. Lebensohl was invented to defend overcalls of our 1NT (where partner is much better defined), but has broad application in many sequences where someone has just bid 2H or 2S

Essentially the advancer calls 2NT* forcing a puppet 3C from overcaller which can be passed. A new suit from advancer is also to play. I like to agree that new major suit bids at the 2 level (where appropriate) are also weak calls

2D* 2S pass 2NT*
pass 3C* pass 3S!

Extending this other calls, such as delayed support for partner's bid or implied suit, or 3NT show a different meaning for the same bid made directly. Here with 2S as some sort of natural call the delayed raise would perhaps be agreed as forcing and inviting a cue bid, stronger than an invitational direct raise or leap to game.

There are many possible variations on this and you should agree sound, generally applicable and ideally simple rules 0 within your partnership to avoid mishaps.

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