~Opening Strong Hands

Balanced hands with 20-21 points should be opened with a 2NT bid. Responses are the same as to a 1NT opener–Stayman, Jacoby Transfers, etc. except that a positive response only requires about 4-5 playing points.

All balanced hands with 22+ HCP or unbalanced hands containing 8 1/2 or more quick tricks should be opened with a 2C bid. The following two hands should be opened 2C:
1.                          2.
S AQJT876      S AQJT
H AK                  H AK
D KQ3                D KQJ3
C 3                       C AKJ

There are several methods of responding to a 2C opener (Nothing is ever simple in bridge, is it?).
1. Waiting–partner merely bids 2D with ANY HAND and waits to see what the strong hand bids next.
2. Negative–partner bids 2D/2H* with a weak hand and makes a positive bid with a hand containing a good 5-card suit (2 of the top 3 honors or 3 of the top 5 honors) and about 8 HCP.
3. Steps
~2D: 0-3 HCP
~2H: 4-6 HCP
~2S: 7-9 HCP
~2NT: 10+ HCP**

4. Controls–aces count as two controls and kings as one control.
~2D: 0-1 control
~2H: 2 controls
~2S: 3 controls but specifically one ace and one king.
~2NT: 3 controls but specifically 3 kings***
~3C: 4 controls and continues up-the-line.
*Some experts use 2D to show a weak but game-going hand of about 3 HCP and use 2H to show a “bust” hand.
**Some experts leave the 2NT bid for opener’s exclusive use. For them, 2S shows 7+ HCP, which is sufficient to force game and leave 2NT for opener to show a balanced hand–any other bid other than 2NT shows a hand with shape vice balance.
***The intent is to leave 2NT for the opener’s use unless holding 3 kings. With 3 kings, it is good to have the opening lead coming up to the kings if the final contract is in NT.

If opener bids 2C and then bids 2NT on the second bid showing 22-24 points and a balanced hand, bid as if partner had opened 2NT–Stayman, Jacoby transfers, etc.

If partner opens 2C and bids 3NT on the second bid, it shows 25-27 HCP and a balanced hand. Over the 3NT bid, 4C is Stayman and 4NT is used to ask for aces.

If partner opens 2C and bids 4NT on the second bid, it shows 28+ HCP–a rarity–and is making a slam try. You may use 4NT as ace-asking or as a quantitative bid.
~Any response in a suit at the 5-level is an ace response.
~6NT shows 5 HCP (making a total of 33+–you cannot be missing  two aces.
~With 9+ HCP, bid 7NT. Your team has 37+ HCP and cannot be missing an ace

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