TWO CLUBS STRONG
ARTIFICIAL OPENING

As in all Bridge Systems, there are no Rules, only Guidelines. Please keep this in mind when you remember that there are over 640,000,000,000 different card combinations, which can be dealt in Bridge. So we deal with guidelines for handling the shape and point-count of a hand. There are hands that are sufficiently biddable with the Basic Guidelines, but along comes a hand with freak distribution and 30 high card points. Conventions have been developed to deal with these hands. This is one of them.

The Artificial Two Clubs Strong Opening was devised and introduced by Mr. David Bruce, who was known as Mr. David Burnstine during his bridge career. He was one of the great pioneers of the Game of Bridge and his name is associated with many of the other Bridge Greats.

Many bridge conventions disclose the amount of values held by certain bidding sequences. The general guidelines of Five Card American Standard have illustrated the effectiveness of describing a certain holding within a particular range. Below is a chart showing certain ranges.

1 No Trump

15-17 HCPs

 

18-19 HCPs

Jump Shift

16-19 HCPs

Reverse Bid with 5/4 shape

2 No Trump

20-21/22 HCPs

 

3 No Trump

25-26 HCPs

 

The No Trump point range is different according to:

1. Partnership Agreement

2. the System used

Which ever point range two players use, please be aware that certain conventions may or may not be used. This is why it is essential to have a solid Partnership Agreement. The point range must be made known to your opponents on the Convention Chart. Please be so courteous.

The Two Clubs Strong Artificial Opening is an artificial opening bid.
It is possible that you have no Clubs at all in your hand.

It is important to remember that the opener's hand is practically a Stand-Alone Hand with enough strength to warrant game, although there are certain conditions where game is absolutely not feasible. That is why it can not be enforced that any 2 Clubs opening is absolutely forcing to game.



The Two Clubs Strong Artificial Opening shows a certain
point range not covered by a 2 No Trump or 3 No Trump range.



Let us begin with showing the No Trump hands with a range that does not fall in the No Trump range listed above. In this instance, not only balanced but also semi-balanced hands are acceptable, such as 5-4-2-2 distribution. With the Two Clubs Strong Artificial Opening we can show our partner an exact point range which does fall in that Gray Area not covered by No Trump Openings.

Example One:

Opener
KJ98
AK74
AKQ
K4

The hand contains 23 HCPs.
2 No Trump is not an option, but No Trump seems a likely contract
Opening 1 Diamond is not an option. Partner could pass.
Open with 2 Clubs, which is a forcing bid.

The partner is forced to bid.
The opener then rebids, showing distribution, shape, and values.
The rebids showing balanced distribution and values are below:

2 No Trump to show 23-24 HCPs (semi-balanced to balanced)
3 No Trump to show 27-28 HCPs (semi-balanced to balanced)
4 No Trump to show 29-30 HCPs (semi-balanced to balanced)
5 No Trump to show 31-32 HCPs (semi-balanced to balanced)

In the case that the rebid of the opener is 2 No Trump, the responder may pass this rebid if the partner has absolutely no values and absolutely no distributional values. Under these circumstances, it must be said that a 2 Clubs strong, artificial opening is not always forcing to game.

When the rebid of the opener is 2 No Trump or 3 No Trump, the following Conventions and Treatments can and should be used. This is by Partnership Agreement only.

1. Blackwood - asking for Aces
2. Logic - Visualization - Reasoning
3. Stayman - asking for a 4-card Major
4. Jacoby Transfer - transferring to a 5-6 plus card Major
5. Gerber - asking for Aces - sometimes ill-advised - ambiguous




The Two Clubs Strong Artificial Opening
suggests strongly 4 or less Losing Tricks.



And the Two Clubs Strong Artificial Opening suggests at least 20 plus, or by Partnership Agreement, 22 plus High Card Points with unbalanced distribution and shape. The amount of high card points become, however, irrelevant if the holding consists of four or less Losing Tricks. It is the shape and quality of the holding which decides whether a holding should be opened with an artificial strong 2 Clubs. It is important to remember this distinction that the hand does not necessarily have to contain a pre-determined amount of high card points, but rather has 4 or less losers:

Example One:

Opener
AK8
AKQJ97
6
AK6

This hand contains at least 8 Quick Tricks and only 3 Losing Tricks, 24 high card points, and must be opened with 2 Clubs.

Example Two:

Opener
AKQ9865
K2
7
AQ5

Although this hand has only 18 high card points, the general agreement is that any similar holding should be opened with 2 Clubs. Considering the worst scenario being that the partner has a void in Spades, the chance that the opponents each hold 3 cards in Spades is a probability, which brings the number of Quick Tricks to at least 8 Quick Tricks. The number of Losing Tricks equals only three, which meets the requirement of opening this hand with 2 Clubs.

There are several bidding sequences for the partner to respond to a 2 Clubs strong, artificial opening to show values and location of values. However, the partners must agree first upon the requirements for a 2 Clubs strong, artificial opening. Using the guidelines set out above should reinforce the decision to include this method as part of the Partnership Agreement.

There are several responses, based upon the individual partnership agreement, which the responder can employ to communicate certain information to his partner. Our attempt is to list several of the conventional methods and partnership agreements below:

Ace Showing Responses - These are responses to forcing Strong Artificial Two Clubs Opening bids that are based on the theory that the opener with a powerful unbalanced or semi-balanced hand is more interested in the first-round controls of his partner than in his long suit or general strength.

Albarran - This treatment and/or convention is used only after a 2 Clubs opening by the responder. The origin is unknown. Fundamentally, the Albarran convention is Ace Showing, providing information to the 2 Club bidder before he/she has a chance to define and describe his/her holder.

Automatic Two Diamonds Response - A treatment devised by several partnerships, whereby the only response permitted to a Strong Artificial Two Clubs opening must be 2 Diamonds

Cheaper Minor as a Second Negative
A treatment allowing the responder to show with his rebid the lower range of his values.

Herbert Second Negative Response - A convention to show the lower range of a weak response used by the responder on the second rebid.

Step Responses - This convention was devised by bridge players in the past decades to allow the responder, whose partner has opened the Auction with an Strong Artificial Two Clubs bid, to inform his partner Step by Step the possession of Aces and Kings.

Two Diamonds Negative and Two Hearts Neutral Responses

Two Diamond Negative Response
A response showing minimum values to an opening forcing bid.

Two Diamonds As Negative And Two Hearts as Neutral Response - Two different responses to a Strong Artificial Two Clubs opening.

Two Diamonds Positive Response - A partnership agreement, whereby the only possible positive response is 2 Diamonds after an openening of a Strong Artificial Two Clubs bid.

If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.