EKRENS 2 Diamond or 2 Heart Opening Bid

C)  Defending Against Ekrens 2 Diamond Opening

Defending Ekrens 2 Diamond opening is not easy. However we can bear in mind that chances of a major suit game are remote. The defence should look for playable 3NT game or minor suit game or slam. The following is the simple defence against Ekrens 2 Diamond:
• Double – Shows a balanced hand 15+HCP. The defense should look for penalty
• 2H/2S/3C/3D – Natural, good one suited hand.
• 2NT – Strong semi balanced hand, minor suits oriented. Responder can pass or bids
       o 3C/D/3NT – To play.
       o 3H/S – Stopper showing for 3NT although can be advance cue bids looking for minor suit slam.
       o 4C/D – Invitational
• A pass first and then double shows 12 – 14 HCP.

Another possible scheme recommended defence is:
• Double – Shows a balanced hand 15+HCP.
• 2H/2S – Natural, take out for other major.
• 2NT – Strong hand in a minor suit, forcing to 3C. Overcaller can pass 3C, bid 3D to play or bids 3H/S to show forcing hand in C/D suit.
• 3C/3D – Transfer to H/S, good suit.
• 3H/S – Both minors, better C/D

We highly recommend Ekrens 2D or 2H opening bid but with discipline to reap the benefits. In case of any clarification please contact us.



10 thoughts on “EKRENS 2 Diamond or 2 Heart Opening Bid

  • April 3, 2017 at 11:10 AM

    In the Jaipur Nationals last year, there were 3 or 4 occasions where my teammates, Sandeep Thakral and Vivek Bhand got big penalties out of thin air.

    When asked about the auction, the reply started with – “Partner opened 2H Ekren…”

    Ekren caught some big fish in Jaipur.

  • April 3, 2017 at 12:37 PM

    Hi Kaustubh

    As I mentioned in my 15 years or more, when I have used this convention (it is being used by our complete KOSMOS team now) we have hardly given any penalty instead we have gained umpteen IMPs. The problem I believe is the misuse of this convention (I may be wrong).

    Many open this on 4-4 with 3-8 HCP. But it is upto the players to decide. However I believe a disciplined approach is far better (IMO).

  • April 3, 2017 at 4:33 PM

    Sudhir ji,

    I think you have misunderstood my comment.

    When Thakral – Bhand opened Ekren, the opponents were unable to handle it, and our team gained the penalties (and IMPs)!

    I am a big fan of Ekren after Jaipur.

    • April 3, 2017 at 4:49 PM

      You are right Kaustubh. I thought there was a loss due to Ekrens. Certainly an occasional loss is unavoidable.

      I am happy you were talking in favour of Ekrens. Also as I mentioned in the Article, 2H Ekrens is more difficult to defend.

  • April 3, 2017 at 5:42 PM

    As they say, there is no fanatic like a convert. I was never much onto artificial openings. Yes people, all those who think I play artificial systems – take note – but for a few metarules here and there, the bids are mostly natural.

    So when we just started playing together, @natskh suggested playing Ekren. I agreed, but only on the condition that we play it primarily as a preemption tool – no 5-4 requirement, and no constructive hands. We defined the range to be 3-7, exceptional poor 8. The biggest issue with this was going to be to get responder holding a 17 hcp hand to realize that there’s no game here.(The one time I lost a big penalty was when I held a 20 hcp hand and KT9x of spade opp an ekren opening, and could not resist raising myself to game).

    And today, I can’t imagine playing without this tool. The gains have been beyond my wildest dreams, the risks few and far between.

    It takes a lot of discipline to not even try games with 17-20 hcp range hand. If you don’t have it in you, don’t play this convention.

    The preemptive effect of this opening is phenomenal. Any time you are dealt 4 or 5 cards in a major, just raise to 3 level, and let them guess. There isn’t an effective counter to opponents bidding 3Major, esp when other major is not really a viable option.
    And guessing wrong can be extremely hazardous.

    The riskiest scenario for ekren openers is when responder is about 10-12 hcp range, with NO FIT. Opponents are on the fringes of a game which may or may not be making, and it’s easy for them to sit for penalty. You have no values, at most an 8 card fit, very probably 7, and you are committing to 8 tricks – opponents could not conceive of a more favorable scenario for themselves. This is one hand type because of which I prefer 2D Ekren to 2H – atleast it gives us an option to pass 2D.

    Am posting one of the hands KB mentioned early on separately, just to demonstrate how difficult it can be to defend against this bidding even for the most experienced players.

  • April 3, 2017 at 9:02 PM

    Hi Sandeep

    I echo same sentiments. I also can’t dream of playing without this Convention. But your 1400 story against expert pair is like a Dream. Think about other players who are average. I did’t write this in my article. That in Bali when I was there with Indian Open team, with all the stalwarts in our team, we had to discuss this convention for a long time to try to workout a good defense against this. Ofcourse the team decided for a specific defense but it wasn’t easy to work this out.

  • April 7, 2017 at 12:39 PM

    Hi Sudhir
    You would probably know the odds, I think when you have an Ekrens type hand the probability is almost 60% plus that you have an 8 card fit so it is an assumed fit preemptive method and it is that aspect that makes it difficult to defend. In some sense it is a variant of the 2 openings in Fantunes which have very similar principles

    • April 7, 2017 at 10:19 PM

      Hi Arvind

      You must be right. Since two suits are involved there is always a possibility of fit with one suit although misfit hands are not ruled out.

      Another trend I have noticed is that with computer dealt hands somehow 5-4 major kind of hand come often. That is my observation

  • April 8, 2017 at 1:39 AM

    Sudhir, now we are getting into the no-no land. There are quite a few proponents of theory of computer dealt hands being biased one way or the other. One expert – one of the very best in the country – has a very strong opinion that in computer dealt hands the spots ALWAYS favour a certain theoretical line of play.

    This is akin to saying that not only is the dealer software biased – which is possible if the seeds are not good, and boundary shuffling algorithm is skewed – but unlikely given the advances randomization programming has made, especially after 64 bit systems came into play – but also that it has certain bridge intelligence to bias itself in a certain way. Now that seems a bit farfetched to me.

    What is perhaps more likely is that 5-4 major hands for example stick more because they cause the bidding methods to get stretched more, and get discussed more than other variety of hands.

    If there is, infact, a bias towards a certain hand-type, which we can observe this over a large dataset (certainly not a few hundred – more like a couple of million), dealer program authors need to be made aware of this.

  • April 8, 2017 at 2:11 AM

    Srini, to answer your question – given you are 4-4 majors, the probability that your pd wd have atleast one 4 card major is 55.92%, if 5-4 49.44%, if 5-5 41.3%, if 6-4 43.68%

    So it seems like Ekren is more potent when you are 4-4 or 5-4, but not nearly enough when you are 5-5 or 6-4 etc. However, the odds aren’t overwhelmingly in favor of finding a fit. So the risk is high enough.


Leave a Reply