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Unusual 2NT Opening -- and Why Preempt with a Huge Hand?

With a lot of my advancing partners, I have given up a strong 2NT opening bid.

With the first couple of partners, it was easy. I played a strong 1 or strong 1 opener both of which included 19-21 balanced hands, so 2NT was available as an opening bid. Rather than to relegate it to some really huge balanced hand that would likely never come up, we used it for a preempt with both minors. This last use is completely permitted by the ACBL General Convention chart.

But then, in my Multi-Ready Monster 2 system, I discovered that it was relatively easy to put most of the 21 HCP  balanced hands into the Monster 2 opener and make the 2NT rebid handle the 19-20 balanced hands (18 was already included in the 1NT opener). It was also aided by the permission of Muiderberg 2 and 2 on the General Chart. So, the concept of weak 2-suited hands was fairly easy to grasp.

But then, I discovered that it was easy enough to put the 21 HCP hands into the Monster 2 opener and the 19-20 balanced hands into the 2NT rebid and make the strong 1NT opener or rebid (playing weak 1NT openers) include most of the 18-counts.

The old joke was that 2NT-All Pass was usually down 2 anyway. So, you probably didn't want to open with it.

The advantage of the 2NT as a weak minor 2-suited hand is that it will sometimes keep you from opening 3 or 3 with a 5-card suit and that you have two chances for partner to have a fit. In addition, opponents with values are never going to let you play in your best minor below the 3-level anyway, so why not let them start their search for a fit at the 3-level as well?

The advantage of NOT opening huge balanced hands with 2NT is that opponents are free to step into the wrong auction with a weak jump overcall and we can sometimes collect a large penalty. If we determine that we can't penalize them, they have done us the favor of exposing weaknesses about which we wouldn't have known with a strong 2NT opener and we can concentrate on finding our own fit. The good news is that the latter often happens at a level where we still have room for discussion (and even often below the the 2NT where we would have otherwise opened).

I have had the Unusual 2NT opener in my arsenal for a while now but have only in the last 5 years been using it in conjunction with a "Normal" Monster 2 opening system. It seems to work. What has been the experience of others?




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