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Weak Two Contracts

#1 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2019-January-12, 04:58

This is a pretty general question, and any of personal experience, data from top-level hands, or sims could be useful.

Suppose partner opens a fairly classic weak two in a major (six-card suit, not four-cards in the other major or five-card side suit, like 5-9 HCP, at least one top honor in the suit). How frequently is our best strain in partner's suit, notrump, the other major, or a minor? How common is it for 5m to be our only making game, or for our only making slam to be in some suit OTHER than partner's suit?

I'm asking mostly because this effects the choice of follow-up methods.
Adam W. Meyerson
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#2 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2019-January-12, 05:23

View Postawm, on 2019-January-12, 04:58, said:

This is a pretty general question, and any of personal experience, data from top-level hands, or sims could be useful.Suppose partner opens a fairly classic weak two in a major (six-card suit, not four-cards in the other major or five-card side suit, like 5-9 HCP, at least one top honor in the suit). How frequently is our best strain in partner's suit, notrump, the other major, or a minor? How common is it for 5m to be our only making game, or for our only making slam to be in some suit OTHER than partner's suit?I'm asking mostly because this effects the choice of follow-up methods.

Don't know the answer but slightly unhappy with awm's question. IMO
  • Your partnership handicaps itself if your weak-2 never contains a 4+card side-suit.
  • When you have a fit, then you have conventions like half-key Gerber to explore slam. The law affords protection if you pre-empt to game with a fit.
  • Successful games in other denominations might be rare but you need a mechanism to explore such possibilities.

FWIW, IMO, a new suit by responder should be F1 -- in spite of the consensus among experts to treat it as NF.
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#3 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2019-January-12, 07:19

View Postnige1, on 2019-January-12, 05:23, said:

Don't know the answer but slightly unhappy with awm's question. IMO
  • Your partnership handicaps itself if your weak-2 never contains a 4+card side-suit.
  • When you have a fit, then you have conventions like half-key Gerber to explore slam. The law affords protection if you pre-empt to game with a fit.
  • Successful games in other denominations might be rare but you need a mechanism to explore such possibilities.

FWIW, IMO, a new suit by responder should be F1 -- in spite of the consensus among experts to treat it as NF.


I didn't say no four-card side suit.. it's no four-card side major. I think it's pretty common to bid this way.

Anyway, I dealt 100 hands where opener has a weak 2 and responder has 17+ HCP (I figured most hands with less strength would either pass or raise spades to some level). It looked like the best contract was:

2: 8 times
4: 74 times
6: 9 times
7: 1 time
3NT: 2 times
4: 3 times
7NT: 2 times (7 had the same tricks both times)
6: 1 time

So only one in a hundred where we wanted to play in a minor, and this was conditioned on the strong responder hand. The one 6 hand involved a 6-4 fit and Ax opposite Kxxxxx in spades (which could be ruffed good for discards, but would always have a second loser in spades or notrump).
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#4 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2019-January-12, 07:30

Adam, is this your single dummy analysis, or a double dummy script?
Anyway, I am not surprised bit it's still very useful to know.
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#5 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2019-January-12, 09:16

View Postcherdano, on 2019-January-12, 07:30, said:

Adam, is this your single dummy analysis, or a double dummy script?
Anyway, I am not surprised bit it's still very useful to know.


Single dummy, and not really looking at the actual layout of the opponents cards (some of the 4S contracts are on a finesse or a 3-2 break; I don't expect all 74 to make).
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#6 User is offline   dokoko 

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Posted 2019-January-12, 09:48

View Postawm, on 2019-January-12, 07:19, said:

I didn't say no four-card side suit.. it's no four-card side major. I think it's pretty common to bid this way.

Anyway, I dealt 100 hands where opener has a weak 2 and responder has 17+ HCP (I figured most hands with less strength would either pass or raise spades to some level). It looked like the best contract was:

2: 8 times
4: 74 times
6: 9 times
7: 1 time
3NT: 2 times
4: 3 times
7NT: 2 times (7 had the same tricks both times)
6: 1 time

So only one in a hundred where we wanted to play in a minor, and this was conditioned on the strong responder hand. The one 6 hand involved a 6-4 fit and Ax opposite Kxxxxx in spades (which could be ruffed good for discards, but would always have a second loser in spades or notrump).


Assuming your numbers will be confirmed by bigger samples, it seems more important to explore slam in opener's suit than to explore other strains.

I guess that when playing freestyle weak twos finding the right strain with strong responding hands is more of an issue.
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#7 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-January-12, 09:54

View Postawm, on 2019-January-12, 09:16, said:

Single dummy, and not really looking at the actual layout of the opponents cards (some of the 4S contracts are on a finesse or a 3-2 break; I don't expect all 74 to make).


How many of the nine 6♠ contracts do you expect to make?
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#8 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2019-January-12, 10:08

View Postpescetom, on 2019-January-12, 09:54, said:

How many of the nine 6♠ contracts do you expect to make?


About half of them were just cold, the others were roughly 50% on the best lead for the defense but had additional chances if the wrong lead was made. At a real table probably ~80% would make.
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#9 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2019-January-12, 13:51

View Postawm, on 2019-January-12, 10:08, said:

About half of them were just cold, the others were roughly 50% on the best lead for the defense but had additional chances if the wrong lead was made. At a real table probably ~80% would make.


How often are games and slams reachable only by abnormal methods?
How often does reaching the rarer non- games and slams require special methods?
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#10 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-January-12, 14:26

View Postnige1, on 2019-January-12, 13:51, said:

How often are games and slams reachable only by abnormal methods?
How often does reaching the rarer non- games and slams require special methods?


From the numbers awm is providing, the non- opportunities are near irrelevant (10%).
I'm not sure what are normal methods for experts to seek games and slams in , but playing 4 as Kickback and playing 2NT Ogust as the only other forcing sequence works well enough for us.
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#11 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-January-12, 19:35

View Postawm, on 2019-January-12, 04:58, said:

This is a pretty general question, and any of personal experience, data from top-level hands, or sims could be useful.

Suppose partner opens a fairly classic weak two in a major (six-card suit, not four-cards in the other major or five-card side suit, like 5-9 HCP, at least one top honor in the suit). How frequently is our best strain in partner's suit, notrump, the other major, or a minor? How common is it for 5m to be our only making game, or for our only making slam to be in some suit OTHER than partner's suit?

I'm asking mostly because this effects the choice of follow-up methods.


I ran a simulation on Dealmaster Pro using your descriptions for the weak 2 bid hand using spades as trump. Random hands for responder.

For 500 double dummy plays:

3NT - ~8%
6NT - ~1%
4 - ~4%
6 - ~.2%
4 - ~18%
6 - ~4%
5 - ~3%
6 - ~1%
5 - ~3%
6 - ~1%


On this subset, if you can make
5 of a minor, you always make 4
4, you make 4 about 65%
3NT, you make 4, about 80%
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#12 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2019-January-13, 03:13

View Postjohnu, on 2019-January-12, 19:35, said:

I ran a simulation on Dealmaster Pro using your descriptions for the weak 2 bid hand using spades as trump. Random hands for responder.

For 500 double dummy plays:

3NT - ~8%
6NT - ~1%
4 - ~4%
6 - ~.2%
4 - ~18%
6 - ~4%
5 - ~3%
6 - ~1%
5 - ~3%
6 - ~1%


On this subset, if you can make
5 of a minor, you always make 4
4, you make 4 about 65%
3NT, you make 4, about 80%


On the hands where you can make 6/6m, how many also make 6/6NT?

The overall pattern I'm seeing is that hands where you have to play in a minor are pretty rare, but four-of-the-other-major is frequent enough that you'd like to able to explore for it.
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#13 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2019-January-13, 03:39

Of course, if responder is able to show other suits, that might also help in a competitive auction if 4th hand is getting in.
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#14 User is offline   dsLawsd 

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Posted 2019-January-13, 04:11

I am not sure there is a single correct answer as your methods might vary by seat and by event. In first or second seat fit is important so it might be wise to be able to ask for a feature and shortness. And responder needs to get support for a good side suit. It seems best to focus on level first and let judgment guide any slam tries.

Also the Polish system of 2 suit hands works really well in many cases if we go away from 2/1 styles.

Sounds like more research/sim might give you more insight.
As very good question kind sir!
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Posted 2019-January-13, 13:56

:SIRS,i humbly would like to know if the following is a good method. RESPONDER: bids 1) 2NT an OGUST bid.(2) a 3C bid asking opener to show a singleton (3) A new suit bid as a natural suit bid forcing for one round.
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#16 User is offline   gszes 

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Posted 2019-January-13, 16:03

View Postnige1, on 2019-January-12, 05:23, said:

Don't know the answer but slightly unhappy with awm's question. IMO
  • Your partnership handicaps itself if your weak-2 never contains a 4+card side-suit.
  • When you have a fit, then you have conventions like half-key Gerber to explore slam. The law affords protection if you pre-empt to game with a fit.
  • Successful games in other denominations might be rare but you need a mechanism to explore such possibilities.

FWIW, IMO, a new suit by responder should be F1 -- in spite of the consensus among experts to treat it as NF.


I have only heard the new suit NF if the new suit happened at the 2 level (2h p 2s or 2d p 2M) though I do not have much heartache when playing those bids as one round force.
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#17 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 17:49

I'm not surprised to see that 6m is a very low frequency occurrence. Memory is fallible, but I don't recall ever reaching 6m after partner opened a weak 2 in a major. However, I don't actually remember reaching 6OM either, and that is something one is more inclined to explore after 2M, especially after 2H, where one can force (if methods permit) with 2S and once in a while catch a splinter. I suspect I've reached 6OM, just because of how long I've played, but 6m, no.

I'm not sure what this implies for methods. Presumably most use 3m as natural and forcing, and that seems to at least offer the potential for slam. I can't think of any compelling reason to use it for any other meaning. If we're slamming in opener's major, we have a fair amount of room starting with whatever we use 2N for: we have lots of bidding space.

I suspect, btw, that one reason I may never have bid 6m is that on most hands where that has play, either one fits the major (and so would focus on that) or one has the sort of hand where the last thing one wants, on most layouts, is to find oneself past 3N. The siren allure of 3N, with say x AJx AKJxxx KQ10 is such that one may be reluctant to bid 3D and hear partner, with his KQxxxx xxx Qxx x bid 4D. Thus one might well bid 3N (either immediately or after whatever 2N says) and miss slam opposite AQxxxx x Qxx Jxx, where 3D would fetch 4H, splinter.

I also think it highly improbable that 5m is the only making game. We need to have weakness in at least one side suit (no 3N) and yet be able to take 11 tricks, and have presumed shortness in partner's major (else the 10 trick game is more attractive or at least difficult to avoid).
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#18 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-January-15, 18:19

We play somewhat different weak 2s but I'm haunted by a hand where holding 6-4 in the blacks we bid 6 which was making and took it out to 6 which wasn't, partner was 4-4 and you needed the discards.

Must have been something like AJ10xxx, x, xx, K10xx - KQxx, xxx, Ax, AQJx
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#19 User is offline   phoenixmj 

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Posted 2019-January-16, 16:00

Curious - it seems like reading here the hcp range for a week two is 5-9. "Typically a 6-card suit and about 5-11 HCP" is a quote from a Larry Cohen article on opening weak 2. Is this no longer a standard weak two?

Thanks in advance.
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#20 User is offline   neilkaz 

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Posted 2019-January-17, 19:01

View Postphoenixmj, on 2019-January-16, 16:00, said:

Curious - it seems like reading here the hcp range for a week two is 5-9. "Typically a 6-card suit and about 5-11 HCP" is a quote from a Larry Cohen article on opening weak 2. Is this no longer a standard weak two?

Thanks in advance.

Nowadays most with a decent 6 card suit and 11 HCP open that suit at the 1 level. Some may also open 1 with 10 HCP and some meaningful distribution.
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