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Conventions: Multi-Purpose Response of 2♣ to 1♥ o 1♠

Source: By Paul Lavings

Paul Lavings
Paul Lavings

More and more top partnerships are playing a response of 2 to 1 or 1 as multi-purpose. The three different meanings are:

1. Any hand that would normally respond 2

2. A balanced hand of 11 -12 HCP +

3. A three-card limit raise of opener’s major

Opener’s 2 continuation says “I would accept a three-card limit raise and go to game”, so the partnership is now in a game forcing situation:

1 2
2 4

1– 2, 2 – 2 shows 12+ HCP with three-card support, and 1 – 2, 2 – 2NT shows a balanced hand with a game force.

There are a number of obvious advantages with this method. The local Bergen style is that 1 – 2 and 1 – 3 show the three-card limit raise, so when opener refuses the invitation the partnership must play in 3 or 3. In the modern style, the partnership stops in 2 or 2 when not going to game.

Also, 1 – 2 and 1 – 3 are now freed for other hands, perhaps a weak jump response, a six-card suit with 0-6 or 3-6 HCP. A third advantage is that 2 is much more difficult to double for the lead, or to suggest a sacrifice, than is 1 – 2 or 1 – 3.

After 1 Major- 2, and the opener does not rebid 2, the partnership may stop at the two level:

aaxxTry this quiz: 1– ?


1. 2. You have a three-card limit raise in opener’s major, so start with 2. If opener rebids 2 then pass. If opener rebids 2, then go to 4, showing the threecard invitational raise.

2. 2. Just as in question 1, you have 10 HCP with three-card support, but here you are only worth 2. The first problem is you are 4-3-3-3, so have no ruffing values. Also you have no intermediates, no aces, and lots of queens and jacks.

3. 1NT. Playing 2/1 GF this is an automatic 1NT, but let’s say you are playing Standard. You should devalue your hand down to a 1NT response, because of the singleton in opener’s suit. It’s possible you’ll miss 3NT, but is more likely you will play in 1NT when opener has a minimum, rather than an ungainly 2NT, which may fail.

4. 2. If opener rebids 2, showing an accept opposite the invitational hand, you will rebid 2, showing a game force hand with three-card heart support. Very neat, you now start your slam investigation from the two-level.

5. 2. This time you have the balanced hand-type. If opener shows a dead minimum by rebidding 2, I recommend you now bid 2NT as forcing. You still need to sort out whether you should be in 3NT or 4, when opener has a six-card heart suit.

6. 2. You respond just as you would now, but your next bid will be 3. This will show five plus clubs and four diamonds, and forcing to game.

7. 2. Nothing changes here, your 2 and 2 responses are exactly as they were. Also, all the other Bergen responses still apply.

Bidding theory is developing at a rapid rate, and new ideas are coming thick and fast. This convention doesn’t even have a name, and you will fi nd very little information on the internet. Some partnerships play 1 – 2, 2 as showing a minimum. I asked Ron Klinger what he plays, and in his methods 1 Major- 2 is any invitation, and 1 Major – 2 is a game force.

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