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Bridge: Two level preempts

Lucas Two bids

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The 5/4 hand type is about 3 times as common as the 6 card suit, and it makes sense on grounds of frequency to use this as your weak two. Lucas's original definition was a weak with a five cards in diamonds or a major and a 4 card side suit. If you play it this way in first or second hand you will miss occasional games when the undisclosed suit is a major.

I took up Lucas as a counter to a partner's tendency to open weak twos on 5332 shape. My experience of these was either a penalty double, or opponents bidding close games and finding their suits break nicely for them. A mini no trump is far more effective on such hands.

Worried about games in the other mnajor I chose to "treat" Lucas as major/minor only essentially re-inventing the Dutch Muiderberg style. My main partnership likes the Multi, which absorbs the six card major and leaves major pre-epts as 5-4. Incidentally a 6-4 cannot be termed "Muiderberg" in Holland. Knowing whether to expect 5 or 6 cards cross the table works well in competition in any case.

The Lucas or Muiderberg style is pre-emptive, common and partner knows what to do! Sequences such as 2S - 4S seem to always score well.

Furthermore Lucas/Muiderberg is frequent. Generally you get in 2-3 weak two openings during a 26 board evening. We once had seven!

Typical "Lucas" hands

S K9xxx
H Axx
D Jxxx
C x

classic shape
S x
H Q10xxxx
D K9xx
C xx

S J9xx
H KJxxx
D x
C xxx

not this one!
S xx
H Q9xxx
D x
C JT8xx

3rd hand nv?
S Jxxx
H Ax
D K9xxx
C xx

open 2 D

Whereas Dutch/Muiderberg, or Woo twos would be major/minor only

Classic Lucas responses

I used this set initially (and prospered)

A more advanced system using Lebensohl

Using 2NT as a relay gives you about three extra expressive bids. As the hand type is so common (2-3 openings per session) and we wanted to have some "system" in train. 2NT as Lebensohl works really well over major Lucas. Playing ParadoX too you don't even lose the minor enquiry - anyway the actual side suit commonly doesn't matter at the table.

note Please see my Two spades page for details

On several million random computer deals a Lucas two finds an eight card fit 83% of the time. If you include the other major this rises to around 90%, but at the price of partner being worse informed. You pays your money .. you takes your choice.

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