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Bridge: Two level preempts

The more Exotic styles

The methods on this page are somewhat more tricky to handle than mainstream Weak Twos but you will meet them in higher level competitions. With the notable exception of the Multi 2D most licencing authorities require at least one suit to be specified, commonly called the anchor.

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What is permitted will depend (apart from "natural" openings) on your own country's rules. Here the UK Bridge Unions follow a shrewd approach one of enabling methods generically rather than licencing named conventions, and anything that had 4 cards in the bid suit is allowed. Our "banned" list generally follows WBL guidelines.

ACBL seem more partronising at "GCC" level demanding a 7 point range (4-11 is an eight range) and five cards in the bid suit. Without such resatrictions you cannot play conventions - even Blackwood. They further specify that 2 suiters be 5-4 thus cutting out many modern assumed fit styles. I am sure this is deliberate.

A "Multi" (usually 2D) opening commonly has a special dispensation. the Multi is defined internationally as opening 2 of a minor showing a weak two in an unspecified major. While this is technically Brown Sticker (no anchor suit!) the style is commonly specially licenced as a popular tournament weapons.

Within these restrictions one may devise strong and weak combinations, or two suits options fairly freely. Under WBL regulation weak flavours must have at least one suit specified (that is to say you guarantee 4+ cards in that specific suit). Other "non weak" possibilities in a combo may be quite freely defined amongst one, two or three suiters. The following would fail the anchor test:

Specification of an "anchor" suit allows a generic defences such as:

Brown sticker bids

The World Bridge league designate some openings as Brown Sticker, defined as any opening bid of two clubs through to three spades, that could be weak (below average strength) and:

This includes the above examles. There are further brown sticker regulations which restrict strong pass systems, one level openings, two suited overcalls and psychic bid controls. Defences to strong artificial openings are specifically exempted. The term refers to a brown sticker that must be put on your convention card in WBU sponsored events. The bids are restricted in lower rounds and you must provide defence notes - which opponents may then cnsult at the table.

National organisations can make their own rules, but often mirror those of WBF

Assumed fit

While traditional methods show length in a suit there is a "new wave" in which you preempt showing 5-4 or even 4-4 in two suits. This seems very dangerous, but works in practice as you will achieve 8 card fit about a third of the time, and may not concede a penalty even if you don't. See Ekren on this page or the Archive's separate assumed fit section

Some more exotic methods!


Weak 2 index


These may not be fully licenced locally and you will need to check your own regulations. More mainstream Weak Two styles are in the main file and there is an index for specific subtypes.


Aspro preempts


Variants (as per the styles used against 1NT)

Astro: 2C = hearts & a minor, 2D = spades & another
Aspro: 2C = hearts & another, 2D = spades & a minor
Asptro: 2C = hearts & another, 2D = spades & another

Pro pointsPlay the same as your 1NT defense? Easy on those memory cells

Against Easily defended, not very preemptive

Defence You have both a cue of the 'anchor' suit, and double available and I would personally play the latter as "interested in a penalty". You can pass strong hands - at a small risk that you may not get to bid again! So to do this you should have a holding in the suit just called.

Played in New Zealand since 1991 and by their teams at the Bermuda (Newell-Reid & Jacob-Mace) and and Maastricht(Blackstock-Henry & Newell-Reid) Olympiads says Stephen Henry of Wellington NZ. fits in well with a strong 1C system and loose major twos.

Some history: Based on the Astro and later Aspro defences to 1NT. "Aspro" is a UK aspirin brand and the modification was allegedly designed to cure the headaches induced by Astro! Then there's "Asptro" ...

In essence, most legal 1NT defences may be used as a basis for a weak two style, in both cases you are often seeking a two level contract when the opponents have (or may have) the high cards.




Defined Chemeleon is one of a group of transfer based preempts

2C = weak in diamonds, or strong - picked from ..
   Acol 2H, 20-21 NT; strong in hearts+minor;  GF{other than diamonds}; or a very big 3-suiter
2D = weak in hearts, or strong - picked from
   Acol 2S, 22-23 NT, strong spades and another, GF diamonds
2H = weak in spades, or strong: 24+ NT;  or Acol two in a minor
    Some put strong hands with both majors in 2H rather than in 2D
2S: Weak two in spades - of your choice (Muiderberg is popular in Holland)
2 NT = both minors - either weak or strong 
chameleon wine label

Responses eg after a 2C - 2D? enquiry

   Pass with the weak hand 
   2H natural and strong
   2S 3 suiter .. 2NT asks for either short suit or more powerfully the 
       suit below shortage. See this site's three suited methods for adaptable resonses
   3C/D strong two-suiter with hearts
   3H/S is  natural GF, and 3NT is GF clubs
 2D - 2H? responses modelled as above


Licences restricted

Pro points A major plus is the inference when you pass

Against Big penalty when it goes wrong


Defence Generic - double with a strong balanced hand. cue = takeout

Louis Dekker kindly emailed this one one in from Holland: Chameleon is something which is not so much special in its handling of weak two's but quite good at handling really strong hands (especially 2- or 3-suiters which are notoriously difficult in 'natural' systems; the sort with which you might open at the one-level and hope the bidding doesn't end there. The idea is that every bid is a weak transfer or a big hand.


CRO preempts

note crows Defined In these methods, popular in Australia and the Baltic you show a pair of suits ambiguously . There are six possible variants. "Popular in New South Wales"
  • 2H = suits of same colour
  • 2S = suits of same rank
  • 2NT = odd (non touching) suits. eg clubs/hearts

CRO is written up in my brown sticker section because it has no anchor suit, but it really is quite tame and may be allowed in some jurisdictions. Check your local regulations.


"Economou" 2 hearts


Defined 2H = {Weak spades and other, or weak two in spades, or strong balanced}

Response Not given in the EBU notes - presumably 2S(NF) relay, 2NT forcing relay

Frequency 3.6% (plus your strong type)

Pro points Essentially a mélange of Lucas and weak 2 spades via a transfer

Licences No longer legal levels 1-4 in UK (1998) although allowed 'generically'

Keywords transfer multi sixcard fiveside tight

Defence Seems simple x=spades/business 2S=takeout


"Ekren(s)" 2D and other "assumed fit" preempts


Defined 2D (Ekren) or 2H = 5-10 points with both majors. Some play 4/4, others 5/4.

Variants Quite a few have been seen and I have split these out in an assumed fit sub-page. Essentially these are either 'natural' (lower of touching 4 card suits) variations, or expansions such as my own rough diamond, where the associated major is unspecified. Having played both I have found the traditional version much tighter and particularly dynamic in competition. Ekren Variants so far ...

  • Classic Ekren with both majors - 2D
  • 2H as the same thing which is legal everywhere!
  • Rough diamond 2D - Suited for EBUland regulations.
    Diamonds and a major. Twice as common as simple Ekren but more difficult to handle.
  • Bloody Mary 2D - from Taiwan.
    Shows simply both red suits and allowing fast pre-emption from partner as per traditional Ekren.
  • Flemish Ekren "DOBTO" 2C, 2D and 2H - From the Low Countries
    Essentially the "full Monty" treatment. 6x frequency and showing the suit bid and a higher suit.
  • Ekren/2C combine A fix to play Ekren without disturbing your Multi 2D or weak twos
You might like to look at Australia's Frequent Twos. Dutch East Indian Lorenzo and Norwegian Velociraptor although these may propel you to 3 level contracts rather too often.

Curiously as you hold 4+ cards in the suit bid, traditional Ekren 2H a rough 2D or even the fluid Flemish 2C, are "natural" and so legal virtually everywhere, although in spirit I think they should be restricted. Ridiculously, the EBU has enfeebled the easily defended Ekren 2D restricting it to 5-4 hands, and declaring it suitable for level three, whereas the rather trickier Ekren 2H method is level two!

12.6  Two of a suit opening bids
.. 12.6.3  You may play these to show non-strong* hands, with one meaning from
... ... (a)  any agreement that includes length (at least 4 cards) in the bid suit
... ... (b)  3-suiter, short in the bid suit, Rule of 19
(*non-strong defined slightly awkwardly as "minimum strength is Rule of 22 or less")

Responses See the Ekren sub-page It is very important in such systems to agree what to do overintervention! I might use fit jumps in the minors in support (of unspecified major)

Frequency 2.6% (5-4) to 4.8% (44+) increasing to around 29% if all 6 permutations are used!

Pro points Frequent and preemptive, and it works remarkably well in practice

Against You will experience the odd catastrophe! At teams you will sometimes scare opponents out of failing major games but this is balanced when they fail to bid games which make despite a 4-1 break ...

Keywords fourside tight

Defence Double should aim toward penalties as Ekren is expensive without fit. Over 2D one has two major cues available! Bear in mind that your game may be in a major. The defense problem has come up a few times in and Dane Lauge Schäffer recommends just his standard Multi defence (making allowance for the known bad break in any major). At least you'll play the hand properly for once! The Archive has Swedish and Norwegion methods on file.

There is a good writeup of Ekren in Petter Olsen's Supernatural system. He attributes invention to Norwegian Bjørn Olav Ekren but there are close similarities to the Australian Frequent twos method. Another version on the Woodgrove site My thanks to Michael O'Connor of of Galway, Ireland for mentioning Ekren to me


"Forrester" 2 Spades

note Defined 7-11 points - clubs and another suit

Frequency .39 for 5/5 plus .86% for 5/4 = 1.25%

Pro points Frees 3C as semi constructive if you wish

Licences Specifically de-licenced in UK (1998) although it is legal under generic level 4 "2 suiter defined values and 1 suit specified" Essentially a throwback to the specific licence days.

Defence Obviously 3C for takeout


Frequent Twos

note Defined 2D to 2S show suit bid and suit above 4/4 shape or better. Except 2S=S/D{!}

Frequency A mere 7.8% as it happens

I was unsure how to classify this one as it uses the Ekren probable fit principle.
It eventually found a home in the archive's Ekren sub page


"F2 two bids"

note Defined Portugal's Paulino M. Corrêa has combined aspects of a 2C based multi, with other openings as tranfers focussing on two suters. He plays his methods with various partners around Lisbon.
  • 2C = a weak two in a major (as per Multi); or balanced 23+; or strong in a single suit ("within a trick of game or better")
  • 2D = 5+/5+ H + another; weak or strong
  • 2H = 5+/5+ S + minor; weak or strong
  • 2S = 5+/5+ both minors, weak or strong
  • 20-22 balanced (Paulino allows 5cM, but I guess that's up to you)

The two suiters are either 7 to 9(!) losers or 'strong 5 losers'. This importantly leave the intermediate 6 loser 2-suiters to be opened at the one level. A partnership should note that pulling out special hand types in this way may condition or restrain its one level openings, although this is often to the good. There would also be scope for adjustment - perhaps calling a poor contol 5 loser hand intermediate. My experience has been the the chance of fit (for both partnerships) when one is 5-5 is so high that it doesn't always matter much. The dynamic at the table is to show one's hand type rapidly, and try to win the declaration.

Responses 2D is a neutral relay opposite the 2C multi opening. Other openings use pass/correct methods (ParadoX advanced would work well if you like that) and a 2NT enquiry. Paulino has written up a full system description as a PDF file.

Frequency high - around 8% if all flavours included

F2 suffers from the usual drawback of any tranfer opening that it allows the easy defence of double looking toward a penalty, or lots of natural/cue bids. I have to say that it seems a shame to use our most powerful call 2S for the weakest (and rarest) both minors combination. I might personally swap the major openings to get a more dynamic "spades+minor" 2S with the feebler 2H showing minors. But this would be to break the easy symmetry of the system.


Ivanhoe 2NT

note Ivanhoe - from the Walter Scot novel

Defined 8-11 5+/4+ in the minors. With honour concentration if only 5/4
This is a UNT variant relaxed to 5/4 shape (doubling frequency)

Frequency 1.25%

Pro points Luis Argerich, Argentine junior international claims 4+ IMP per outing!

Licences In UK 2NT permitted as a 'two-suiter' {=5/4+} - so generally legal

Defence Easy. x = cooperative penalty, 3CD = weak/strong takeouts.

The name it seems comes from a player's chance exclamation while dropping the 2NT card


Dave Keen's two bids

note Defined A full system of 2 bids played 2-way weak or strong. Essentially all 2 bids show either a Strong Two in that suit, or weak two in suit above. Two spades is spare and Dave plays this Tartan style. The 2C-2H bids include strong balanced.
2C = A big hand or weak two in diamonds! (5+ card)
2D = Weak in hearts or Acol Two in diamonds or 19-20 2NT type
2H = Weak in spades or Acol Two in Hearts or 221-22 2NT type
2S = Acol two in spades or 5/5 - Spades and another - Strong or 4-9
2 NT = 5/5 hearts and another 4-9 points

Response Generally 2NT game inquiry, next suit up to play

Frequency 3 x 1.5% played 6 card - 3 x 2.1% played loose (as Dave does)
Add in 1.1% for the spade 5-5 and you get 5.5%-7.5% depending on style (plus stong types)

Pro points Very efficiently packed bids


Defence is actually quite easy - Next suit up for takeout

Comment see also Myxomatosis twos Dave is a local grandmaster here in Merseyside.



note Defined This method is hot! A mandatory 2-opening when you have 0-7 points! A major whenever possible! This includes 4333 zero counts. Lorenzo has been called "the Ultimate Weak Two". (unofficial) flag found on a Curacao site shows sword piercing eye of a skull!
  • 2C = 0-7 4+C, no 4cM, longest suit clubs
  • 2D = 0-7 4+D, no 4cM, but may have clubs same length or less
  • 2H = 0-7 4+H, your longer major*
  • 2S = 0-7 4+S, your longer major*

*both major openings may have a {much} longer minor - ie canapé applies

Responses Seem to be "bid if you feel like it". New suit is "to play" and a jump is merely invitational. A 2NT enquiry recommended for any GF (ie 20+) responding hand.

However, and more importantly, when Lorenzo style is played in 1st-3rd hand it changes your whole system. You may need to play a strong club (some include their big hands in the otherwise weak 2C!) A pass 1-3rd becomes 8-11 points and 3rd/4th openings must take account of this. 1NT(3rd) becomes "to play" opposite that hand, and some snappy business doubles can be made.

Frequency High!

"Munar Lorenzo is a player from the Dutch Antilles," writes correspondent Louis Dekker. "Lorenzo is really for dare-devils. It has seen 'active service' this year (2000) in the meesterklasse highest division of the Dutch league - young players Erik Oltmans and Niek {others say Sjoerd} Brink. The 'settled' dutch top-players were generally not amused".

Girben Dirkson has an example of Lorenzo in action and there is more on Dutch bidding in general on the Bridge Guys Site.

It appears Lorenzo is only played non-vulnerable - I'm not at all surprised! Note that the eight point range and possible 4-4 nature may hamper you playing Lorenzo in ACBL-land.


Marvin French's weak two system

note Defined
2D = Weak 2H's  
or 21-22 NT with five-card suit or GF unbalanced spade hand
2H = Weak 2S
or 23-24 NT or GF unbalanced in hearts
2S = Either a solid minor or KQJxxxx 7 card minor with outside ace,
or AQJxxxx with outside king {shadeable in 3rd hand}
The 2S convention seems to be the raison d'être of the overall scheme}


Facing a red suit transfer pre-empts - generally you will complete and play there. Marvin advises that you cannot extend it immediately. It strikes me that an extension to the 3 level e.g. 2D - 3H could still field the stronger types, but his advice is otherwise, onless RHO intervenes when you should assume a weak type. Strong hands in this situation rebid 2NT or a second suit at the 3 level (showing strong unbalanced) With a stronger responding hand you can use your usual enquiry, such as an Ogust 2NT. The stronger types then have to jump to the four level or bid 4NT balanced - slam will be on! Note that after the 2D .. 2NT sequence 3C? is better played for 5 card suit.

The 2S opening has rather more specialised responses
  3C pass/correct
  2S = 3D paradox bid - support for clubs only
  2S - 3H/S asking opener to bid 3NT with Hx or xxx, or rebid the minor
  2S - 2NT general enquiry
    3C - club suit + diamond control
    3D - diamond suit + club control
    3H - spade control, unspec. minor   { note reversal of majors
    3S - heart control, unspec. minor     to switch declaration! }
    3NT - solid minor suit 
  2S - 4C asks for shortage, or 4NT with 7222
  2S - 4D asks for a major suit preference 
  2S - 4NT Blackwood on a 1,2 scale
  2S - 5C  pass/correct. (may be weak, maybe not) Other game bids to play

Intervention over 2S .. (x) pass is forcing. Opener can rebid 2NT with spade control

Frequencies as for normal weak two's, however the special 2S bid is 9x more frequent than the Acol solid-suit gambling 3NT variety

Pro points The transfers are easier to defend than normal preempts, and you must accept this for the beneefits of the 2S convention. However the latter can be a powerful route to weak minor games and slams, and adds clarity to your 3C/D preempts as well as defining the broken strong minor hands better. IMO this makes this better teams method.

Against You cannot raise the weak twos pre-emptively, and will need alternative provision for weak spade hands if you use only the special 2S convention. Otherwise you will lose the 2D bid.


Defence Double, an an easy cue takeout and a delayed double are available to 2D/H In his system notes Marvin hints at psychic 4th hand bids in the suspected strong suit to sow confusion. Provided partner is reliable with double, after 2D pass 2H opener will be as strong as you are weak.

Marvin kindly sent me his full system notes kept separatly


Minimal Twos

note Defined A complete system, with focus is more on the strong hands than the weak. The underlying idea is that in competitive or pre-emptive auctions you will always be prepared to make a specific cue, clarifying your exact shape.
  • 2C = Weak in diamonds, or Acol minor two (including 5cm/4cM)
    or GF major(s), or 24+ no trump
  • 2D = Weak in hearts, or strong 4S5H
    or 2 suiter with 5 spades, or 22-23 no trump
  • 2H = Weak in spades, or Acol 2H,
    or 5H/4m two suiter or 20-21 no trump
  • 2S = Weak 5-5 two suiter with spades, or Acol 2S
    or strong 5S4H

Pro points Although the weak two aspects are enfeebled, they are still there and partner is often able to make pass-correct, or ParadoX advances without knowing your suit should opponents preempt.

Against Easily defended in their weak form. A lot to remember!

Defence Assume weak type: Double = {strong balanced} Cue = take out.

In setting out hand-types rather than bidding a suit directly Kees Schaafsma hopes to anticipate a competitive auction. He has fairly extensive notes on his own site. Critically the rebids made at high level in round two following preemtionm are specified. There are strong similarities to Dave Keen's methods on this page, and to the Australia's Brown Sticker Myxomatosis Two bids.


modified Precision Club 2 diamonds

note Defined A weak two in hearts or a strong 3 suiter. 2H replaces the Precision 2D=short diamonds(11-15) type and becomes non-forcing.

In UK this is essentially a cut down Multi 2D without the required major ambiguity, and is thus restricted to level 4+ events

Response Unknown

Frequency As for standard weak 2H - the cloverleaf hand is rare

Pro points Adds 4441 strong patterns in to Precision with little cost


Defence 2H= t.o of hearts. With long hearts you might defend. Or you might use your multi 2D defence knowing it won't be a weak 3S


Ras-Alghetti 2 clubs

note Defined 2C = 5-10 exactly 4 clubs and a longer suit

Responses Paradox advances can be made as the other suit is long

Frequency about 4%

Pro points Appears to be safe.

Against Easy to bid over. Helps declarer read the distribution.

Licences Generally legal as you have 4+ cards in the suit bid

Defence See comments on Bailey style. You should probably play a Hacket defence and penalty orientated double. However my informant Luis Argerich (Argentina) says he has had no big adverse penalties from this canapé style.


Schalburg two's

note Denmark's René Schalburg emailed me his own brew system ...

Defined 2 any = 6-11 with either 6+ in the suit called or 44 including the suit called.

  • Open the lower 4+ above if you are upper range ie 9-11hcp
  • Open the higher 4+ if you are weak.
.. nicely covering the '"must hold the suit called" regulation, but leaving second suit (if any) as one of two


  • When partner is weak, he will search for/accept any 7+ fit
  • When partner is strong (14+p), he bids 2nt and opener will show his 2nd suit id hea has one. Rebid opening suit showing 6+ and weak hand, or rebid 3nt showing strong 6+ or strong 4+/4+ with clubs as the other suit.
The above assumes you paly a strong 2C and "Schalburg" in the other three suits

Frequency Very frequent

Pro points Sows confusion ++

Against I suspect you'll miss the odd game

Licences Generally legal as you hold the suit called.

Defence Generic


Some Taiwan 2 diamond variants

note Defined 2D as a weak 2 in hearts or alternative strong hand

Response Unknown

Variant one Playing Precision make 2H the limited short diamond hand and play 2D as a weak 2H or strong in any three suits. Presumably one rebids the singleton or suit below if not passing 2H.

Variant two 2D as a weak 2H or strong Flannery with 5 spades and 4 hearts. This frees 2H for standard Flannery

Frequency 1.5% (6 card) - 2.2% (loose)

Licences Restricted in UK

Pro points Fits snugly with some systems



From a posting by B Yang on


Tartan two bids

note Defined
  • 2H = Acol 2 in hearts, or weak 5/5-hearts/minor, or 20-22 NT (relay is 2S)
  • 2S = Acol 2 in spades, or weak 5/5-spades/another, (relay is 2NT)

Responses Over a next denomination relay - rebid naturally.

man in a kilt with bagpipes
  • 2NT is the big NT hand
  • a new suit is 5/5 and weak
  • Repeating your suit is the Acol Two.

Frequency 2H 0.8%; 2S 1.2 = 2% plus stong types

Pro points You don't lose your strong major twos!

Against Aggressive, but the 5/5 pattern makes it rarer.

Defence natural


Tartan variant for minors

note Defined
 2S = 5/5  clubs and a major
2NT = 5/5 diamonds and a major

ResponseNext up relay for the major

Frequency 0.8%

Pro points Very Preemptive and the 5/5 shape gives some protection



These are part of Peter Olsen's high level system. Although he calls it Tartan it is really a transfer. Tartan is a strong/weak method


Unusual NT opening

note Defined 5/5 both minors

Variants 5/5 in majors or minors was laid out in Bird & Bourke's book Tournament Acol (UK 1995), twice as common and harder to defend. It is then essentially part of the CRO set and presu,ably came from Australia's Tim Bourke. However with no anchor suit it remains illegal in most jursdictions.

Ivanhoe: In Argentinia 2NT has been played as just 5/4 minors "with honour concentration". Not for wimps!

Responses (1) most devotees seem to use "seat of pants". For the CRO variant 3C/D would be pass/correct and a 3H forcing relay asks for 3S=majors, 3NT=minors.

Responses (2) (from 'Nelson' of bridge club live) opposite 2NT=minors: 3, 4 or 5 of a minor to play
3 H 'asks about majors': 3S=1255; 3NT=2155; 4C = 0165/0156 (..4D?); 4D=2056/2055 (..4H?); 4H=0355; 4S=3055; 4NT=1156/1165.
3S 'asks about minors': 3NT=any_55 (..4C?); 4C=xx56; 4D=xx65; 4H=0166; 4S=1066.
3NT is to play, or 4H/S "to play"

Frequency 0.39% both minors 0.8% for either majors or minors

Pro points 2NT may be a spare bid in a 2C/multi system

Keywords twosuit fivefive

DefenceVery easy to defend - we have the luxury of two cue bids. I personally like

3C as weak takout (both majors).
3D as strong.takeout.

This is a sharply defined defence (compare defending Ekren!) but useful as you need to show you need to express your hand type quickly before opponents escalate to 5 clubs! My (2NT)x shows a strong NT type and sets up a cooperative penalty auction. With such easy defence you might consider playing playing 3C as your UNT?



note Raptor! Defined
  • 2H = 4 cards in hearts and longer minor
  • 2S = 4 cards in spades and a longer minor

Variants 5-4 majors in both opening bids

  • next suit = pass/correct
  • 2NT enq: - Multi-like responses
    eg 3C/D min with suit - 3H/S max with corresponding minor
  • ParadoX advances seem ideal ..

Frequency 4.9 and 3.4% respectively (assumes 5 card suit is allowed too)

Pro points

Keywords twosuit fivefour natural

Defence Generic - you need to punish this one!

Raptor style twos were spotted by german junior Gerben Dirksen whem playing the Norwegians. It has a relationship to Raptor 1NT overcall but reaches the 3 level somewhat faster .. hence our nick-name

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