By Prof Tony Campbell

MOST bridge players are familiar with the unusual no trump bid, showing partner you have both minors after the opponent on your right has opened one spade or one heart.

But here is another unusual use of a two not trump bid which is not natural, as it would normally be in Acol.

The Auction

North opened with one spade, his four card suit. East with five clubs and eleven points was happy to overcall two clubs. Now South playing normal Acol is in a dilemma. If he bids three spades will his partner take this as a strong bid or a pre-emptive one?

The use of two no trumps gets South out of his problem. Using this convention two no trumps shows a good raise to three spades. North with a good spade suit and fifteen points was happy to bid game with four spades. Though he was worried that the contract might depend on the diamond finesse.

West with a flat hand and only three points, being vulnerable, was not going to sacrifice in five clubs.

The play

East won the first two tricks with the ace and king of clubs. He followed with a third club, which was ruffed in dummy with the four of spades. North can count ten tricks so long as the spades are 3/2 and the queen of diamonds is held by West. So North drew three rounds of trumps, ending in his hand and played a heart towards dummy’s jack. East payed low. North then played another heart to his king which was overtaken by East’s ace.

East played another club, which was trumped by declarer in hand. He then played a diamond to the ace, followed by another diamond to his jack, which won. He then cashed the king of diamonds and the queen of hearts, making his contract of ten tricks – a spade ruff in dummy, three spades and a spade ruff in hand, two hearts, and three diamonds. Well bid, even though the contract was a 50% chance.

What have we learnt?

1. The two no trump bid after an overcall by your opponent of your partner’s opening one spade or one heart gives you a lot of flexibility.

2. Two no trumps shows a good raise to three spades without the overcall. Two spades would be weak, with probably only three spades. While three spades would be pre-emptive with three or four spades and less than ten points.

Further information

Cardiff Bridge Club have set up a league with up to four divisions. Contact Liz Atkinson if you have a team that would like to join. But I have an idea on how we could reopen Penarth Bridge Club safely. Watch this space! I wonder what you did during the long lockdown. I spent a lot of my time writing a scientific mystery novel I have been meaning to write for thirty years. Its title is Mirror Image – what Darwin missed.

It is available at Griffin Books, Penarth, and also online at The story is set in the stunning scenery of Anglesey. The hero, surprise-surprise, is a brilliant biochemist and a keen bridge player. There is a whole chapter based at the local bridge club, with an amazing, even crazy, hand I am sure you will enjoy.

Professor Brian Morgan, of Cardiff Metropolitan University, and I have set up a Wales COVID communication group between the business, education, science and arts sectors to help find creative solutions to the restrictions the SARS-Cov2 coronavirus has imposed on us. See If you have any views, experiences and information you would like to share, please email me.

Meanwhile, good luck with your online bridge. Bridge Club Live (BCL) is very good and may be open again for new registrations. BBO is still open for registrations.

Contact for information. You can always find my articles online at www.penarthtimes/bridge. Keep an eye on Email me if you have anything you would like me to discuss Keep well. Keep safe. Bon chance. Virtual table up.