Often inadvisable to open 2-suited & 3-suited hands 2♣

Maritha Pottenger

Question from a hand at the Sunday morning session sectional.

I had 22 HCP 4=4=1=4 hand with a singleton A.

The bidding went 2 P 2 (waiting) at which point RHO stuck in 3.

If I double, is that take out?

I passed and partner doubled. I bid 3, she bid 4. Down 1 given our six card heart fit. Partner had 4 HCP.

The opponents said that with 4-4-4-1 shape, you should always bid and jump shift, instead of opening two clubs and bidding 2NT with a singleton ace.


It is a very close decision with your hand. I agree with your opponents that I try to AVOID opening 2 when I have a 2-suited or 3-suited hand because it takes up so much bidding room AND because it allows the opponents to preempt at a high level (if they choose) before you have bid ANY of your suits naturally. [Imagine a very strong 6-5 hand in majors and it goes 2 P 2 5 and you have yet to name either of your suits.]

I also tend to avoid opening 2 when I have a long minor, but the hand has a singleton or void so NT is questionable. Partner needs EXTRA values for us to make game in a minor, so if partner cannot respond to a one of a minor opening, we probably DON'T have game. Here is an example hand that a student opened 2 but which I would open 1: AQx x AKQJ10x KQx.

So, with your hand I would tend to open 1 and hope partner can eke out a bid, or that RHO balances, allowing me to bid again.

HOWEVER, your hand is very powerful, and opening 2 is NOT unreasonable. After the 3 call, you can bid 4, hoping partner will bid a major, but willing to play 5 if partner bids clubs. I think a double would be ambiguous on the auction. You can also pass, expecting partner to figure out that you DON'T have a five card suit of your own or a diamond stopper and see if she can take action. (I think it would be mandatory for partner to take auction because you have opened 2. With nothing, she can double and you can decide what to do then. Most people play DOPS over interference with 2 opening—double shows zero (nothing); pass shows something.)