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2 Places to Play

Written by Danny Sprung

I am not sure who invented the concept, but modern bridge has a host of competitive auctions where strain is in doubt, and a player wants to offer his partner a choice of 2 places to play (2PTP).

Let’s look at some of these.

The first example is when one makes a responsive double, after a takeout double. Say the auction starts 1-X-2-X. A typical hand for that action might be Qxxx xx Kxx Axxx. Many would just bid 2S, but I believe a double is superior. Partner responds to the double ‘up the line’ looking for a 4-4 fit. If he starts with 2, we are good to go. If he starts with 2H, we correct to 2 and we have shown 2 places to play.

Another example is when partner has forced you to choose a suit at the 3 level, and the opponents have shown some values, so Lebensohl is not needed.

N E S W
1 P 2
X  P ?

If you have a 5-card suit, no problem, just bid it. When you don’t have a 5-card suit, you can bid 2NT, 2 places to play. Once again partner responds up the line, and you are far more likely to find your best fit. Even more important, you are more likely to find a playable fit.

When should 2NT be 2 places to play instead of Lebensohl? My rule is when both opponents have shown values. So it would apply to the previous example, but not after a weak jump overcall, or a transfer in response to opener's strong NT (the responder could be broke). The rule is: 2NT is 2PTP instead of Lebensohl unless only one opponent showed values. This may not be best for all situations, but it is clear and easy to apply.

Yet another example is when we cuebid the opponents suit. A recent Bridge World MSC hand featured the auction 3-X-P-? and responder held Kxxx xx AQxxx xx. The panel was split as to whether 4 followed by 4 should be 2 places to play. Actually, they weren’t split, they all thought it should be 2PTP, but some of them thought it was a choice between spades and diamonds, and so, perfect for this hand. Others thought it should be a choice between 4 and 6 spades, a very different idea. My thoughts are strain should always come first. Too much to bid 4? Bid 5. Committing to 4 on this hand could be a total disaster.

Try this one…

N E S W
1NT P P 2
P P 2

Responder did not transfer to spades immediately, so is unlikely to have 5 spades. He should have 4 spades, and a minor, or possibly 4144. So, if opener has 4 spades, he passes, if not, he can punt back with 2NT to ask responder to pick his minor.

2PTP can also be handy in constructive auctions. Most players are familiar with 5NT choice of slams, which can also be 2PTP. By the way, one of those places might just be NT, so a 5NT bidder who converts to 6 might well be offering NT as a choice.

As the chooser, remember that it's usually right to bid ‘up the line’. Safety comes first; pigging out in the major is of less importance. Also, when partner corrects the lowest strain to the highest strain, he is making a strong bid in that strain, the 2nd place to play being game instead of partial, or slam instead of game. An example would be:

N E S W
    4
X  P 4NT P
5  P 5

Here, responder’s second place to play is 6. He can’t have clubs, or he would have passed. He can’t have + or he would have bid 5.

Those are just some of the auctions I thought of where 2PTP could apply. I would be interested in other examples of this useful concept.

http://www.bridgewinners.com/index.php/bridge-articles/119-advanced/538-2-places-to-play

 

 
 
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