Two Diamond Openers

The weak 2♦ opener doesn’t get much respect these days – the chances that you’ll end up playing it are not that great, since either opponent with a good holding in a major suit is able to get in relatively cheaply. Therefore, the bid has been co-opted to handle various other problems, particularly awkwardly-shaped hands.

Note that Precision has its own two-diamond opener showing a 4441 hand 11-15 HCP with a stiff diamond. There are many other two-diamond bids in different systems. Some of them are strong.

Moral: when you hear a 2♦!(alert), you have no idea what it means.

The so-called Multi-2♦ is a particular headache – it is not allowed in ACBL tournaments using the General Convention Chart, but you can encounter it at higher-level events or online. If you are playing in an event and someone makes a strange bid, ask them to explain a defense. ACBL has a database of such defenses.

It is also worth saying that if 2♦ isn’t strong or Flannery or a Roman of some sort, or you see any other bid that seems to mean too many things at once, you might want to call the director to inquire about it. Twice I’ve caught people playing an illegal convention.

Flannery

The Flannery 2♦!(5 hearts, four spades, 11 to 15 HCP) opener covers a hand with five hearts and four spades and values insufficient to reverse on the second bid. Obviously, you lose the ability to make a weak 2♦ opener.

If you open 1♥ then responder will assume you do not hold four spades, and in particular 1♥ - 1♠ shows five spades.

The responses are:

  • Pass can be made with a six card diamond suit and less than 10 HCP.
  • 2♥ and 2♠ are sign-offs
  • 2N! inquires about opener’s minor suits. Responses are:
    • 3♣ shows a 4=5=1=3 shape.
    • 3♦ shows a 4=5=3=1 shape.
    • 3N shows a maximum with most of the values in the minors
    • 4♣ shows a 4=5=0=4 shape.
    • 4♦ shows a 4=5=4=0 shape.
  • 3♣ shows at least 6 clubs and 11-13 points, and partner should bid 3N with Ax, Kx, or Qxx in clubs.
  • 3♦ is likewise for diamonds.
  • 3♥ and 3♠ are invitational.
  • 4♣ and 4♦ are transfers to 4♥ and 4♠ respectively.

Mini-Roman

A mini-Roman 2♦ opener is a 4441 or 4405 hand, 11-15 HCP. The most frequent agreement seems to be that the bid promises 4 spades – the 1=4=4=4 hand being handled by opening a diamond; but that is not universal.

Lacking invitational values, the responder will suggest a place to play, bidding up-the-line; only rarely will responder pass with a long diamond suit.

With invitational values or better, responder bids 2N! asking opener to bid his short suit. This is forcing; responder next places the contract in game or makes an invitational bid in a suit.

The mini-Roman is part of a family of Roman 2♦ bids which chiefly differ as to strength. A Precision player’s 2♦ opener means explicitly a diamond shortage but NOT a 4=4=1=4 shape necessarily.

Other Bids

Of course, 2♦ openers were strong in the days of Goren, but that was superseded by the use of 2♣ as the sole strong opener. However, some systems, especially those with weak no-trump openers, use 2♦ to show an 18-19(20) point balanced hands. For these systems, 2♥ is often a weak response, with 2♠ being game-forcing. One such system is Mexican Two Diamonds.

If you are facing a pair playing a strong 1♣ system, such as Precision, a 2♦ opening will be either an intermediate (11-15 HCP) bid short in diamonds with no four-card major, or it can be a strong bid. See Imprecise Precision for an intermediate version. A responder bid of 2N! shows a strong hand, and inquires about the opener’s shape.

Defending against such systems, it is important to discuss beforehand what 3♦ means and what double means (penalty, or takeout, or lead-directing?). Generally a double of an artificial bid would be lead-directing unless you agree otherwise.

The “could be short” meaning “as few as two” announcement of a 2♦ bid is your warning to check their card. Some Precision pairs do not even promise two diamonds, and they should alert that not just announce it.