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Second negative 2C Opening

#1 User is offline   paulsim 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 03:42

Hi folks,

Playing 1 as First negative and the lowest bid of a minor as the Second Negative

What would you think is the best approach with length but without strength when holding a bad higher ranking suit?

2 2 First Negative
2 _?

Let's say you have theese hands as responder:

a.- 976542 6 873 982
b.- 97642 62 873 9842
c.- 97642 6 873 984

3 is Second Negative
2 is lenght (because of failing a positive response) One round forcing

3 or 2 withe each hand?



B.- Would this secuence be forcing woithout discussing?

2 2
2 2
any 3 would be forcing?


Thanks all
Kind Regards,

Paul_S
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#2 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 06:39

I think there are multiple questions that are in need of answering before you can make a sensible decision. The first question is what type of hand 2 shows. I personally play Kokish on this sequence, but if you do not it makes sense to reserve this for a GF hand with hearts. Any followup below game is then forcing, which answers question B (and even if you think 2 is not 100% GF - an inferior treatment, in my opinion - failing to bid second negative makes it GF. So 2 should not be 'one round forcing', as you mention, but GF).
The second question is whether partner is likely to open 2 on a hand low on points but high on playing strength. In this case you are totally fixed, and any choice you make may turn out terrible. Show the spades and partner will assume you have the missing strength and might push too high on a likely misfit, bid second negative and partner may have excellent spade support. If your partner only bids 2 with hands where the risk of 1X being passed is too high you can safely bid second negative and follow it up with spades, which will be forcing as it is not yet at the game level.
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#3 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 10:27

I have always felt that Cheaper Minor Second Negative is a terrible convention. You preempt yourself an arbitrary amount without showing anything about your shape in an auction where the opening bid already preempted you to an uncomfortable level. A long time ago, when people played Strong Twos, the rules for responding were clear. Essentially they summarised to be: you bid as if partner opened at the 1 level but you respond 2NT rather than passing. Then the specific sequence 2M - 2NT -- 3M was designated as non-forcing and everything else is forcing to game.

The issue that turns up is that the 2NT response becomes indeterminate about strength. CMSN trades a 2NT response indeterminate about strength for a 3 response indeterminate about shape.

In Europe a slightly different approach developed, most likely because European players adopted the strong 2 opening much sooner than Americans. Europeans responded 2 to a 2 opening with 4+ even with a weak hand, thus making the awkward 2NT response deny 4 spades. It was still indeterminate to strength but this was less important when the 2 opening was limited. And they typically just used the same methods after 2 - 2 -- 2 as for a 2 opening but without the non-forcing sequences.

Back in America, the strong 2 opening became popularised but rather than doing so to take pressure off of the Strong Twos, it was played to allow for the adoption of Weak Twos. And the Americans just put most of their Acol Two-type hands straight back into this 2 opening. The result? That European response structure no longer worked and CMSN came back. But rather than bringing it back in the European style, where 2 - 2 -- 2 - 3 would have denied 4 spades, instead it got used for everything. This broke many bidding principles but was rare enough that most club players accepted the obvious shortcomings. Not the experts though. Before long the American bidding theorists found the right solution - using an immediate 2 as a Double Negative and thus allowing auctions to develop naturally without the strength ambiguity.

So the answer is:-
If you play traditional US CSNM you rebid 3.
If you play CSNM but use the (better) European style you rebid 2.
If you play the (much better) immediate DN you respond 2.

And if you include Acol 2M bids in your 2 opening and play traditional CSNM, the only non-forcing sequences are 2 - 2 -- 2M - 3 -- 3M and 2 - 2 -- 2NT. All other auctions are game forcing. If on the other hand you play European CSNM, you also have to add some additional non-forcing sequences. Typically that will either be 2 - 2 -- 2 - 2 -- 2NT - 3M or 2 - 2 -- 2 - 2 -- 3. Finally, with 2 DN the sequence 2 - 2 is already not forcing and several sequences after the start 2 - 2 -- 2 will also be non-forcing. The last of these would be my choice if I really wanted to include Acol Two hands in my 2 opening other than using more complex methods such as ParadoX that are specifically designed to handle this. An alternative that is eminently suitable for club level is Reverse Benjamin.

One final note, your hand b has 14 cards and hand c has 12. You might want to adjust them if you think the difference is important.
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#4 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 16:47

View PostGilithin, on 2021-August-20, 10:27, said:

I have always felt that Cheaper Minor Second Negative is a terrible convention. You preempt yourself an arbitrary amount without showing anything about your shape in an auction where the opening bid already preempted you to an uncomfortable level. A long time ago, when people played Strong Twos, the rules for responding were clear. Essentially they summarised to be: you bid as if partner opened at the 1 level but you respond 2NT rather than passing. Then the specific sequence 2M - 2NT -- 3M was designated as non-forcing and everything else is forcing to game.

The issue that turns up is that the 2NT response becomes indeterminate about strength. CMSN trades a 2NT response indeterminate about strength for a 3 response indeterminate about shape.

In Europe a slightly different approach developed, most likely because European players adopted the strong 2 opening much sooner than Americans. Europeans responded 2 to a 2 opening with 4+ even with a weak hand, thus making the awkward 2NT response deny 4 spades. It was still indeterminate to strength but this was less important when the 2 opening was limited. And they typically just used the same methods after 2 - 2 -- 2 as for a 2 opening but without the non-forcing sequences.

Back in America, the strong 2 opening became popularised but rather than doing so to take pressure off of the Strong Twos, it was played to allow for the adoption of Weak Twos. And the Americans just put most of their Acol Two-type hands straight back into this 2 opening. The result? That European response structure no longer worked and CMSN came back. But rather than bringing it back in the European style, where 2 - 2 -- 2 - 3 would have denied 4 spades, instead it got used for everything. This broke many bidding principles but was rare enough that most club players accepted the obvious shortcomings. Not the experts though. Before long the American bidding theorists found the right solution - using an immediate 2 as a Double Negative and thus allowing auctions to develop naturally without the strength ambiguity.

So the answer is:-
If you play traditional US CSNM you rebid 3.
If you play CSNM but use the (better) European style you rebid 2.
If you play the (much better) immediate DN you respond 2.

And if you include Acol 2M bids in your 2 opening and play traditional CSNM, the only non-forcing sequences are 2 - 2 -- 2M - 3 -- 3M and 2 - 2 -- 2NT. All other auctions are game forcing. If on the other hand you play European CSNM, you also have to add some additional non-forcing sequences. Typically that will either be 2 - 2 -- 2 - 2 -- 2NT - 3M or 2 - 2 -- 2 - 2 -- 3. Finally, with 2 DN the sequence 2 - 2 is already not forcing and several sequences after the start 2 - 2 -- 2 will also be non-forcing. The last of these would be my choice if I really wanted to include Acol Two hands in my 2 opening other than using more complex methods such as ParadoX that are specifically designed to handle this. An alternative that is eminently suitable for club level is Reverse Benjamin.

One final note, your hand b has 14 cards and hand c has 12. You might want to adjust them if you think the difference is important.


I think a good way to think of a 2C opening is that it should be an announcement that a hand is held that requires captaincy: either opener as captain or - with a NT hand - opener passing captaincy to responder.

What suits responder might hold shouldn't matter - if responder has enough for a positive response to a 2C opening, he would not have passed a non-2C opening. If he is weak, then all you really want to know is does he fit opener's suit, does he have ruffing value in opener's suit, and does he have any high cards at all?
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#5 User is offline   LBengtsson 

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Posted 2021-August-21, 05:51

View Postpaulsim, on 2021-August-20, 03:42, said:

What would you think is the best approach with length but without strength when holding a bad higher ranking suit?

2 2 First Negative
2 _?


Accept some 2 openers are not possible to bid opposite a yarborough hand and you arrive in a bad contract. I agree with DavidKok kokish is a good convention here but it does not cover everything. accept that misfits happen also. "landing on a dime" (as the USA players say) with very good opposite very bad can be luck more than having a set of conventions.
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#6 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-21, 10:37

View PostLBengtsson, on 2021-August-21, 05:51, said:

Accept some 2 openers are not possible to bid opposite a yarborough hand and you arrive in a bad contract. I agree with DavidKok kokish is a good convention here but it does not cover everything. accept that misfits happen also. "landing on a dime" (as the USA players say) with very good opposite very bad can be luck more than having a set of conventions.

Perhaps 🤔 if the hand cannot be bid using a 2C opening it should not have been opened 2C.😏
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#7 User is offline   fromageGB 

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Posted 2021-August-22, 03:55

I think these 3 are the salient quotes :
- if the hand cannot be bid using a 2 opening it should not have been opened 2
- a 2 opening should be an announcement that a hand is held that requires captaincy: either opener as captain or - with a NT hand - opener passing captaincy to responder
- the right solution - using an immediate 2 as a [Double*] Negative and thus allowing auctions to develop naturally without the strength ambiguity

This seems the obvious way to go, and I have never understood the logic of a different approach. (In local clubs here a single response of compulsory 2 is also found, and while that ostensibly gives more room to develop those hands it has missed out on the initial discovery made by the binary 2/2 style.)

Consequently I cannot answer the question posed as I have never played that way nor thought much of it, but surely such a responder should never propose a suit as suitable to be trumps : it takes too much space away to no avail, while you want a 2-suited opener to be able to show his second suit if possible, to give you a choice. A single-suited opener can only be hampered by your suit bid. A 3-suited opener should not be bidding 2 unless your agreements allow it to be treated as a balanced NT rebid. THEN you may transfer :).

PS The [*] brackets above are mine, as I call 2 a positive and 2 a negative.
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#8 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-August-22, 09:17

For what it's worth I think the immediate 2 to show a bust is not a good tool. I like the other two points though.
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#9 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-22, 10:22

View PostDavidKok, on 2021-August-22, 09:17, said:

For what it's worth I think the immediate 2 to show a bust is not a good tool. I like the other two points though.


Whether or not 2H is a good negative usage has a lot to do with how the 2C opener is defined by a partnership. In my best partnership of old, we defined the 2C bid as 9 tricks in hand (for a major) or 10 tricks (in a minor) or big NT hands and 2-suiters that only required a fit for game. With those definitions, 2H negative was used only for near-yarborough to yarborough hands.

That freed 2D as a game-forcing relay that allowed opener to describe his hand type.





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