STEP RESPONSES TO
TWO CLUB OPENINGS

This convention was devised by bridge players in the past decades to allow the responder, whose partner has opened the auction with an Artificial Strong Two Club bid, to inform his partner step by step the possession of the number of Aces and Kings. The bidding does not inform his partner where the Aces and Kings are located, only that he does have them. The opener can also estimate more exactly the strength of the hand of the responder. Variations of this method have been devised within the bridge community and we have included the most popular variations. It is up to the partnership to decide which variation and/or modification best suits the needs of the partnership.

The foundation of the convention is to count each Ace as 2 Controls and each King as 1 Control. The following graph should clarify the step by step bidding process.

2 :

0 or 1 Control

 

2 :

2 Controls

1 Ace or 2 Kings

2 :

3 Controls

specifically 1 Ace and 1 King

2 NT:

3 Controls

specifically 3 Kings

3 :

4 Controls

2 Aces or 4 Kings or 1 Ace and 2 Kings

3 :

5 Controls

2 Aces and 1 King or 1 Ace and 3 Kings

The first response is the most decisive one, because after the first response, the responder must make a sufficient bid over the bid of his partner. Once mastered, both partners will be able to estimate the strength and the location of the Controls, which is ultimately the goal before establishing the contract.

As you noticed, the bid of 2 No Trump, indicating Three Controls, could possibly make the responder the declarer. If this is the case, then it is preferably better that the weaker hand plays. It is not always true that the weaker hand should become the dummy. With Three Kings concealed, the opponent leading the first card will be leading up to a King, which is much better than coming through the King.

The Step Responses To Two Club Openings was developed within the bridge community and has many followers. If you and your partner decide to use this convention, please include it in your written Partnership Agreement.


Some partnerships, however, have developed a variation to the Step Responses. These partnerships concluded that it could help the Two Club bidder, if he could more precisely estimate how weak the responder actually is. Does the responder have a very weak hand, a moderately weak hand, or even a good weak hand. Remember, the Two Clubs opening bid indicates strength and/or trick-taking ability. How can the responder show more than just Controls and keep the bidding low? The graph below should clarify this variation. The application of the first response of 2 No Trump is debatable and, through its inclusion, arguably justified.

2 :

0 or 1 Control

Less than 6 high card points

2 :

0 or 1 Control

At least 6 high card points

2 :

2 Controls

specifically 1 Ace and 1 King

2 NT:

3 Controls

specifically 3 Kings

3 :

3 Controls

1 Ace and 1 King

3 :

4 Controls

2 Aces and 1 King or 1 Ace and 3 Kings

This variation to the Step Responses To Two Club Openings enjoys some popularity. If you and your partner decide to use this variation, then please include it in your Partnership Agreement.


Another variation of the Step Responses, which has become popular with many bridge partnerships, is shown below. The level of high card points is the main feature and the Step Responses are narrowed in order that the opener can better estimate the power of the hand held by the partner. They were first introduced by Mr. Oswald Jacoby in the early stages of the evolution of the game of bridge and have enjoyed great success in the bridge community. Their application indicates only the amount of high card points held by the partner, but not the controls and/or the location of controls. The non-application of the first response of 2 No Trump is debatable and, through its non-inclusion, arguably justified.

2 :

 

0-3 high card points

2 :

 

4-6 high card points

2 :

 

7-9 high card points

3 :

 

10-12 high card points

3 :

 

13-15 high card points

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.