If you play enough Bridge, say the last 10 years, you should have met somebody who uses 2D Multi with an unspecified major opening. Firstly, they alerted the 2♦ bid. Secondly, when asked, they answered “Weak Two in Major”. Thirdly, as you inquire further, “Heart or Spade?” They would reply “I don’t know.” Really? Yes, it is.
However, despite its popularity, the opening of 2D Multi with an unspecified major has significant flaws. In this article, we will discuss these flaws. Also, after that, I will reveal the very reason why it become so popular and why so many people tolerate (or do not want to know) about these flaws.
A brown sticker convention
Firstly, the opening allows 3 types of hands. A weak-two in Spade (6 card S with 5-11HCP), a weak-two in Heart (6 card H with 5-11HCP) -or- a strong balance of 20-21 HCP.
To use this opening, the responder will make a “pass or correct” bid if not interested in game. Otherwise, the responder will have to bid 2NT as the forcing bid
At first, when the player starts to use this Multi 2D opening, the Bridge authority categorise it as a brown sticker convention. It means, effectively, this opening cannot be used in an official tournament except perhaps the final of Bermuda Bowl. It deserves that badge since there is no anchor suit specified in the opening. It makes it harder for people to make a takeout double even overcall in a major because the opener might have the very suit that you overcall with.
However, since then, due to its popularity, this opening has been exempted from the “Brown Sticker” category and allowed to be used everywhere.
Not too “blocking”
Before we continue on, let us remember that a weak-two opening is quite powerful. One of the reasons is, because it removes many of the bidding space from the opponent, yet very descriptive to partner.
For example, with 6 cards ♠ and 6-HCP only, you can open 2♠ and force the opponent to start their suit bidding at level-3. However, since the opening is 2♦, the opponent can start with a Double (maybe to show Diamond holding or general point showing), overcall in Major, or even do advanced bid not available in normal Weak-Two opening. Advanced take out for instance. It is a convention where DBL=shows Diamond, 2♥=takeout in ♥ (short in ♥), 2♠=takeout in ♥ (short in ♠). In other words, something that cannot even be imagined to be done now it is possible.
So, not only the opening is reducing the “blocking effect” of a weak two opening. Even worse, it may give more “weapon” to the opponents.
Bad for Competitive Bidding
Besides that, this opening is also literally prevented you to do some competitive bidding. Let us immerse in this example. Say you see your partner open with this 2♦ and your hand is as follows:
|what to bid?|
Then, your RHO (Right Hand Opponent) makes a takeout double. What to bid?
From your perspective, if your partner has 8-HCP, then the opponents have 27-HCP among them. Most likely a game value. So, it is time to make it as difficult as possible for opponents to find their fit. Surely, it is time to jam the bidding by a block bid. But what is that?
If your partner open 2♠, your block bid is easy. 4♠. (Or maybe 3♠ if the vulnerability is a concern). But alas. With this Multi-2D opening, you cannot even make your competitive bid.
Not great for Defensive Bidding
Now, let us see the other side of the coin. This time your side is the one hold most of the points. Your hand is as follows and your partner opens with 2♦, followed by RHO’s 3♦ (Natural):
|what to bid?|
From your position, your side needs to bid the game. If partner has Spade, even a small slam is possible. However, if your partner has Heart, 3NT probably is the last hope of the game. So how you want to proceed:
- Ask partner to reveal the suit by bidding 4♦? But passing 3NT?
- Just sign off 3NT and lose the easy slam?
You see, in this case, opponent did not do something extraordinary. Probably the whole field bid the same way. The only problem is that you use an inferior opening bid that cripple yourself. Isn’t it just much easier if your partner just open 2♠ outright?
No good for opening lead either
So, using this Multi 2D opening, except the opener, nobody knows what suit that opener has. So, when opponent get hold of the contract and it is time for you to start your defence, you will have no clue which suits to lead either.
For example, the bidding goes like this:
|(*)2♦ Multi with an unspecified major|
what major would you lead from this hand:
|What to lead?|
Thus, if you choose the correct major, your chance to beat the contract will increases. Because, in one of the major suit, your side has 9 of them. So, declarer might just have one stopper. It is best to lead this major suit. However, if you chose the wrong one, your declared could become the only declared who made a 3NT contract. But unfortunately, you do not know what the major is. Too bad…
2D Multi with an unspecified major: bad for the result
So, from the above examples, this opening bid clearly is not good for competitive bidding, bad for defensive bidding, has a less blocking effect and even no use for defence. If that’s the case, will you use it? At the end, it is bad for the result. You want to win, you want to get the advantage of using tools. Not a disadvantage.
But to be fair, I need to show you now why this opening bid is so popular.
Why is it so popular?
Answer: it has something to do with the opening bid list.
Thus, let us review the level-2 opening list for a “normal” standard system:
- 2♣=Strong Opening 20+HCP any distribution
- 2♦=Weak Two in Diamond (6 card ♦, 5-11 HCP)
- 2♥=Weak Two in Heart (6 card ♥, 5-11 HCP)
- 2♠=Weak Two in Spade (6 card ♠, 5-11 HCP)
- 2NT=Strong Balance 20-22 HCP
If using 2D Multi with an unspecified major
In this section, we will see below how with this Multi 2D opening removes 3 opening bids from the above list. Hence, making room for the 2-suiter opening. For instances:
- 2♣=Strong Opening 20+HCP any distribution
- 2♦=2D Multi with an unspecified major (6 cards in H or S, 5-11 HCP) -or- Strong Balance 20-22 HCP
- 2♥=Weak Two 2-suiter opening in Heart and a minor (55+ ♥+ ♣/ ♦, 5-11 HCP)
- 2♠=Weak Two 2-suiter opening in Spade and a lower (55+ ♠+ ♣ / ♦ / ♥, 5-11 HCP)
- 2NT=Weak Two 2-suiter opening in Spade and a minor (55+ ♠+ ♣ / ♦, 5-11 HCP)
As a result, it sure does seems “scarier”. Except, the 2♦ opening has a big flaw as describe above.
Moreover, a 2-suiter with one anchor suit and possible 3 others (Opening 2♠ above) is also not very good. So, the biggest problem is that you will found out the 2nd suit at level-3. However, it might not be a fit with yours. So, in short: not good at all. Because of this, some pairs chose not to include 2-suiter ♥ + ♠ to make the opening bid safer. In other words, they don’t cover the whole possible combinations of the 2-suiter opening.
In conclusion, opening system using this opening has some significant problem. Therefore, now that you know the problem, is it time to stop using it?
But above all, should you ask, whether to not there is any opening system that caters all of the 2-suiter possible combinations but without all the flaws described above? The answer is YES, of course, there is.
The alternative of 2D Multi with an unspecified major
Finally, let me introduce you to a much more superior “Multi 2D” opening bid. It is called “AB” Multi 2D. Please read the introduction here: Introduction to “AB” Multi 2D Opening Bid. After that, review the better alternative of the whole set of level-2 opening.