A minimum number of points is required for a strong 2 club opening bid.

Par Sylvain Descôteaux

A hand defined as VERY STRONG is required for a strong 2 clubs opening bid according to the ACBL rules as stated on their website (ACBL.org).


“Very Strong”: A hand that contains:

            1. At least 20 HCP; or
            2. At least 14 HCP and is within one trick of game assuming suits break evenly among the other hands.
            3. At least 5 Control Points and is within one trick of game assuming suits break evenly among the other hands.

Note that these rules are strict, and that it is forbidden to derogate from, would it be by even one single point. An opening not fulfilling those conditions is considered an illegal bid.

1st example

A 2 club opening bid with a balanced 19 HCP is an illegal bid. You can’t justify your bid by saying that you had a good 19. Points from long or short suits are not valid either, unless your hand fulfills the conditions of one of the other categories.

2nd example

AKQJ987 / AQJ9 / 2 / 2

Is this hand good enough to open a strong 2 clubs? I believe so. You have at least 14 HCP and unless you get a very bad break in spades, you are well within 1 trick of a spade game. Of course some people may choose to open 1 spade  with this hand, but we are here only to discuss the legality of strong opening bids.

3rd example

A98765432 / – / AK32 / –

In this case, the only situation where you would be down 2 in a 4 spades contract would be if one opponent was sitting with all 4 missing spades.

The minimum number of HCP to open with a very strong opening bid is therefore 11.

Note; Ace = 2 controls, King = 1 control, void = 0 control

Many situations will show up where the legality of a 2 clubs opening bid will not be obvious. In these cases you will have to refer to the director, and he will have the hard task to decide if the bid is legal or not.