Benjamin Twos
     
 
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Benjamin Twos

 
  Now I am one of those guys who like to have their cake and eat it (perhaps explains my weight?). I certainly like to be able to open a weak two in the majors, but I also like strong Acol type twos in the majors. Fortunately, this was all solved by Albert Benjamin. Playing Benjamin twos, the traditional 2 opening (22+ or a game forcing hand) is replaced by 2 . This then leaves 2 free to show a strong two in either major (partner normally relays with 2 and you then bid 2/ ). Now there are numerous variants as to exactly what the 2 and 2 opening bids (and subsequent rebids) mean. I shall simply describe my preferred Benjamin variation etc.  
     
 
2 = Strong but not game forcing.
    Either 8-9 playing tricks in an unspecified suit or a balanced 22-24.
2 = Game forcing, 25+ if balanced.
2/ = weak, 6 card suit, 6-10.
2NT = 20-21 balanced.
3NT = pre-emptive (gambling 3NT); long solid minor, nothing outside.
 
     
  After a 2/ opening, I prefer an automatic relay of 2/ . Rebids then mean: -  
     
 
2 - 2 - 2/ 8 playing tricks non-forcing (but rarely passed).
2 - 2 - 3/ 9 playing tricks non-forcing (but very rarely passed).
2 - 2 - 3/ 9 playing tricks non-forcing (generally an unbalanced hand).
2 - 2 - 2NT 22-24, balanced non-forcing.
2 - 2 - 2NT 25+, balanced, game forcing.
2 - 2 - any suit natural, game forcing.
 
     
  As I said, there are numerous variants of Benjamin twos, but I prefer this one because you never have to bid 3NT (this leaves partner the option of Stayman and transfers etc. when he is bust and you are 25+). There is a rather better/more complex variant based on this scheme which also includes 4441 type hands.  
     
  Note that a 2 opening is always game forcing; if balanced it is 25+. This really is better than havint to rebid 3NT as responder is able to use transfers/Stayman/Baron 3 whatever below the level of 3NT.  
     
  Note also that an Acol two is normally forcing. Playing this version of Benjamin the sequence  
  2 - 2 - 2/ is not forcing (but is rarely passed) as a stronger opening hand would rebid at the 3 level.  
  The reason that this 2/ should rarely be passed is that responder needs very little to make game. Now you may think that he needs two tricks for game to make - but that is not so! It is all explained in my 'Playing tricks' article. Make sure to read the chapter on 'the problem with playing tricks'.  
     
  Incidentally, Benjamin twos are normally associated with Acol but there really is no dependence. You can play any variation of Benjamin twos with Standard American, 2/1 or any natural system. In fact I recommend it.  
     
     
 
  Pattaya Bridge Club - www.pattayabridge.com
 
     
 
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