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Bridge: Two level preempts

Ekren - Weak 2D as 4+4 both majors
Translation of Ekren's original article

index Links to the main Assumed fit section, a Norwegian article on defending Ekren, the Archve's main page, advanced methods, and site index

Espen Gisvold saw my Assumed Fit Ekrens notes and kindly wrote tome putting right a few historical points. After some rummaging Bjørn Ekren's original article in the now defunct journal "BridgeNytt" (Bridge News) turned up and she was kind enough to supply the following in translation:


EKRENS 2 Diamonds preempt


.. from the Norwegian

Bjørn Olav is the first to write the technical column. There will be a lot of this kind of stuff, both openings and systems in general. Bjørn Olav, who is a system fanatic, will contribute on a regular basis. Not unnaturally he has chosen to start with his own creation, which in the course of one year has managed to become generally known. More and more players use Ekrens 2 diamonds.

After having tried most of the available 2 diamond openings, without too much success, Ragnar Baardsgaard and I decided that we had to make up our own variation. One "wet" Friday evening we reached a solution. That 2D opening would show at least 4-4 in the majors and 3-10 hcp, regardless of vulnerability.

At first sight this might seem pretty audatious, but our initial results proved surprisingly good. Often we were able to leap to 3 or 4 in a major after partner's 2D opening - making life miserable for our opponents. The board was then frequently won no matter what happened subsequently. The auction having begun ...

2D - pass - 4 of a major

On average we were able to open 2D on about one in ten boards - a lot more frequent than the other 2 diamond openings.

While it might be sticking one's neck out too far to open 2D on SQxxx HQxxx Dx Cxxxx in first seat in unfavourable vulnerability (as a not unknown editor of Bridge Nytt did), Jon Andreas Støvneng's comment is telling - " I have never seen it to be wrong to open with 2D".

The downside was that from time to time we did get doubled, conceding a lot in undertricks, but this happened much less frequently than one might think. Playing teams, we were about to go for -1400 in 2S doubled when they let us of the hook, ending in 3NT. We lost that board, but our opponents were unhappy at having lost such a huge score. Such emotions often bring their own pay-off, as opponents attempt to compensate on subsequent deals.


Ekren methods

annals Defined 4- 4, 4-5, 5-4 or 5-5 in major and 3-10 hcp regardless of vulnerability.

Responses {The 3D* response is due to Helness-Helgemo}

2H/S = To play
2NT = Relay
3C = Natural, not forcing
3D* = Invitation with 3-3 in the majors
3H,3S = pre-emptive, to play

Responses to the 2NT relay

3C any minimum
3D = 5-5 min or max
3H = 4-5 max
3S = 5-4 max
3NT = 4-4 max

All the responses to 2 NT other than 3 clubs are forcing to game. After the 3C response, responder can make a new relay with 3 diamonds, or invite to game with 3H or 3S

2D - 2NT
3C - 3D = second relay
.. 3H = 4-5
.. 3S =5-4
.. 3NT = 4-4
2D - 2NT
3D - 3H/S = slam suggestion opposite 5-5

Double of opponent made after the 2D opening is for penalties.

{Examples then followed}

BridgeNytt 2(1994) {Norwegian - no longer published}

Some limited biography

Bjørn Olav Ekren is a Norwegian grand master listed in the Oslo bridge club pages and sometimes seen in European competition. I don't know too much about Bjørn except that he came to prominence in the early 90's from mid Norway - the same school as Helness-Helgemo. I would welcome any further stories about this innovative, and clearly successful player.
Bjorn Olav Ekren (with permission)
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