Defending Against the Multi Two Diamonds


The  most popular  version of the  Multi 2 convention  in play today  covers three options :

  • 6 card  major : 6-10 ♠KQ10876 32 QJT ♣86

  • Balanced  25-26 : ♠A4 AQJ8 AQ5 ♣AKJ4

  • 8  playing  tricks in a minor:   ♠62 A43 2 ♣AKQJ1076

If  the second  player passes,  the responder normally  makes one of three bids:

  • 2 = prepared  to play in 2  or  2♠ if  opener is  6-10

  • 2♠ = interested  in game in hearts  if opener has hearts  and 9-10

Opener can  pass with 6 spades and 6-10,  and with 6 hearts may

sign off  in 3  or  bid game  with 9-10

  • 2NT  = 15 +  hand asking  for clarification  of the opening hand

Examples  of these responses  and opener’s rebids are  shown below :

2  : 2


6 Heats 6 -10

2  : 2


6 Spades 6-10

2 : 2


Balanced 25-26

2 : 2


8 Playing Tricks

2 : 2S


6 Spades 6-10

2 : 2♠

3 / 4 Hearts

6 Hearts 6-8/9-10

For  the opening  side there are  two main strengths  of the multi 2 convention:

  • Ambiguity   unsure of the  nature and strength  of the bid, defenders  face different sets of risks  by entering the bidding or remaining silent

  • Economy     the benefit  of covering three  different hand types  with one bid

The  one weakness  of the convention  is that ambiguity is  a double edged sword and  thus the responder, just like  the defenders, is unclear about  the precise nature of opener’s hand  until the second round of bidding. This  is why the convention can go astray for either  side if there are no agreements on how to handle  follow up bidding sequences. This is why it is essential  to have firm agreements by the defenders, not only in 2nd  seat  but also  in the 4th  and  6th  seats,  as will  be outlined  in this article.

Building a Defence to Multi

The  following  points are  worthy of consideration  in planning a defence to  Multi 2:

    • The  frequency  of the weak  version occurring  is much higher than  the two stronger versions,  so the first step is to assume  that the opening is weak

    • If  the multi  opener has a  6 card major there  could be other unbalanced  hands around the table so  care needs to be taken if intervening

    • The  risks  of entering  the bidding, if  partner has a poor  hand, could be high, but  like a two headed coin, staying  out of the bidding might result in  missing a safe part score or potential  game or even slam

    • One  big advantage  for both defenders  is that there will always  be two  chances  to enter  the bidding,  either more directly  on the first round, before  opener has clarified the nature  of the initial bid, and later on  the second round when the content of  the bid is confirmed

Taking  these points  into account the  ideal defence will  facilitate the following  actions:

    • Bid  directly  with stronger  hands, differentiating  balanced and unbalanced  ones

    • Bid  directly  with hands  with opening values   and shape

    • Pass  initially  with minimum  hands with shape  and re-enter the bidding  with a takeout double or bid  a long suit when the opponent’s  opening confirms the weak 6 card major

The  defensive  measures fall  into two situations :

  1. Direct action in 2nd seat or 4th seat

  2. Balancing action in 2nd seat or 4th seat following an initial pass

  • Direct Action in 2nd or  4th seat

Sitting  in second  seat the following  actions are recommended  over the opening Multi 2:





Balanced  12-15

Balanced  19+

Unbalanced  17+

♠KQ8 AJ7 A32 ♣J987

♠AT9 AQ9 KQ65 ♣KJ8

♠AKJT86 AK5 7 ♣QJ2


12-16 :  good 5+ suit

♠K7 KQJ87 A62 ♣987


16-18  : balanced

♠QT98 KQ2 AJ9 ♣AJT


12-16  : 6+ suit

♠7 A9 K65 ♣AKJT86


To  play :  usually a  

long  running  minor

♠K5 A8 AKJT432 ♣J9


5-5 :  bid minor  and a major

♠AK876 3 65 ♣AQ987


To  play

♠KQJT876 A5 6 ♣KQ4

In  4th  seat,  after the  bidding sequences of  2 :  P :  2   or 2:  P :   2♠, the  defender may  enter the fray  with similar responses  as shown above for 2nd  seat,  noting that  in the second  sequence responder  has support for hearts  and denies support for spades,  so the chances for winning the contract  may be lower than in the former sequence.

  • Balancing Action in the 6th Seat  

There  are three  auctions when  the defender in 6th seat may wish to re-enter  the bidding, having passed initially :

2♦  :   P :   2    P

P   : ?

2  :  P :  2  :  P

2♠  : ?

2  :  P :   2♠ : P

P   : ?

In  the first  auction it would  appear that the points  between the two sides are  evenly balanced, or may be slightly  in favour of the defenders, so the options  are :

  • X = 9-11: Takeout  of hearts: ♠QJT8 7 JT87 ♣AJT8

  • 2♠ = 9-11: 5+  spades: ♠AJT87 32 KQ42 ♣76

  • 2NT = 9-11: 4-4  or better in the minors: ♠87 96 AQ95 ♣KQ864

  • 3C/D = 9-11: 5+  suit: ♠86 5 K764 ♣AQJ432

The  second  auction is  still uncertain  regarding whether  or not the opening  side have a spade fit,  so there could be a heart  or minor suit fit or even in  no trumps if partner has a spade  stop. To cover these possibilities the  6th   seat  defender  may bid :

  • X = 9-11: Takeout  of spades: ♠52 AJ98 K98 ♣QT87

  • 2NT = 9-11: 4-4  or better in  the minors: ♠T9 97 AQJ97 ♣K986

  • 3C//= 9-11: 5+  suit : ♠75  943 AK765  ♣K86

In  the third  auction opener  has shown 6 spades  and responder has invited  in hearts, with invitational  values, so there could be bad  breaks in the majors as well as  the opening side having the balance  of strength. Unless the defender holds  a long suit it is safer to stay out of  the auction.

After  the sequence  2 :  P :  2  : P  : 2♠ :  P : P :   the defender in  8th  seat  knows that  opener has a  weak 6 card spade  suit and the responder  has less than game going  values, so there may be a  part score contract available  either in a long suit or perhaps  a 4-4 fit in hearts or a minor. With  the right shape it may be worthwhile balancing,  otherwise it is safer to defend.

Responding to a Defender’s Takeout Double of Multi  2

The  takeout  double has  three options :

  • 12-15  balanced

  • 19+  balanced

  • 17+  unbalanced

The  Lebensohl   2NT convention  can be a valuable  aid to the advancer  when responder passes the  double of Multi 2,  as it  asks the  intervenor to  bid 3♣, and now  advancer can :

  • Pass = 5+ clubs,   0-7

  • 3 = 5+ diamonds,  0-7

  • 3/♠ = 5+ major :  8-11 : invitational

  • 3NT = 12+ :  to play

Playing  this convention  means that immediate  bids over partner’s takeout  double show :

  • 2/♠ = 4+   : 0-7

  • 3♣/ = 5+   : 8+

  • 3/♠ = 5+   : 12+

Examples of Defending against Multi Two Diamonds:

Hand 1

♠  T7



♣ AKQ3  

Dealer: East


2             2♠  P 4♠

P               P P

♠ 43



♣ J9875

♠ 852



♣ 8

South  has a clear  cut 2♠ overcall of  the Multi 2, holding  a solid six  card suit within  the 12- 16 range.  Without the opening bid, which  highlights the

♠ AKQJ96



♣ T42

heart  lead, all  13 tricks are  available

Hand 2

♠ K4



♣ Q832  

Dealer: East


2               P 2              P

2♠              3              P   P


♠ A6



♣ KT9765

♠ QJT973



♣ 4

South  is not  strong enough  to bid first time,  but when East confirms  a weak two in spades, North  is marked with

some values, so  South balances to

♠ 852



♣ AJ

reach  a makeable  3  contract.

Hand 3

♠ KT3



♣ AKT965   

Dealer: West


2               3♣  P 3NT

P                 P P

♠ QJ9765



♣ 83


W      E


♠ 8



♣ J4

North  shows a  good 6 card  club suit, and  with the useful  queen of clubs and  stoppers in both majors, South  bids game in 3NT.

♠ A42



♣ Q72


This  article  has provided  a brief outline  of how the opening  Multi 2  convention  works, with  either a weak  two in one of the  majors, a strong balanced  hand, or 8 playing tricks in  a minor. The main focused then  switched to how the defenders can  best cope with the ambiguities posed  by this convention.

One  key theme  is that defenders  do not need to panic  when this convention comes  into play as each defender will  have two  bites  of the  cherry to  compete. With  stronger hands in  terms of strength or  shape it is best to enter  the auction immediately, and with  values just below an opening bid to  keep quiet on the first round and the  opening side reveal minimum values to re-enter  the bidding with confidence that your side a very  likely to have a makeable part score or even game contract.