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Raise Only Non Forcing (RONF)

Raise Only Non Forcing, or RONF, is a standard style of responding to weak two bids. As the name suggests, a raise in the bid suit is intended as a sign-off and is not forcing. Other bids are typically forcing for one round.

For the purpose of this article, it is assumed that a weak two bid is 6-9 points and a six-card suit. There are a wide range of styles used for weak twos, with many players opting for even weaker openings, including five-card suits (or four-card suits!) and fewer points.

Remember: If the range of your weak two differs from the standard, you may need to adjust the responses below.

Raise Only Non Forcing Responses to a Weak Two

Facing a weak two from partner, you have three options:

  • Raise Partner's Suit: As the name of the convention suggests, this is a natural sign-off that requires partner to pass
  • Bid a new suit: This is natural, shows 5+ cards in the bid suit, and is forcing for one round
  • Bid 2NT: This is an artificial bid showing 15+ points. It asks partner to bid a side suit with an ace or king, or otherwise to rebid his suit
For example, following a weak 2 bid, the responses are as follows:
Response to 2 Meaning
2NT 15+ artificial, asks partner to bid stopper, forcing
3 Five (or more) clubs, forcing for one round
3 Five (or more) diamonds, forcing for one round
3 Five (or more) hearts, forcing for one round
3 6-9 points, 3-card support, signoff
3NT 16+ points, stoppers in other suits, signoff
4 6-9 points, four-card support OR 15+ points, two-card support (or greater)

Regarding the 2NT bid, there are a couple of ways this can be useful:

  • Finding a Stopper: The 2NT bid can be used to establish whether opener has a stopper in a side suit. This is useful for checking for the possibility of 3NT when you lack stoppers in any suit.
  • Checking for Synergy: The information could also be used to see how well the hands mesh, for example if they have a good fit in a second suit. This can help indicate whether you should stop at the 3-level or advance to game.

After the 2NT, partner bids (cheapest first) a suit in which they have an ace or Kx. A singleton king is not good enough to show. If they have nothing to show, they rebid their suit.

Because of the weakness of the opening hand, any information is normally enough to figure out the answer to your question. For example, you want to know if they have anything in diamonds, but they bid 3 instead. With a weak two, it is unlikely they’ll have a feature in two side-suits, so you can assume they don’t have what you’re looking for.

Although the above table stops at the four-level, higher bids are of course possible if you have the right shape and/or points to go that high.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:

Alternatives to The RONF 2NT

Ogust and Modified Ogust are common alternatives to the RONF 2NT:

Alternative 1: Ogust

Ogust is a common alternative to the 2NT used as standard in RONF. Instead of asking for controls, Ogust asks partner to describe the quality of their suit and hand. 

The responses are as follows:

Opener's Response to 2NT Meaning
3 Poor hand, weak suit
3 Poor hand, good suit (e.g. KQxxxx)
3 Good hand, weak suit
3 Good hand, good suit
3NT AKQxxx
Opener's Response to 2NT Meaning
3 Poor hand, weak suit
3 Poor hand, good suit (e.g. KQxxxx)
3 Good hand, weak suit
3 Good hand, good suit
3NT AKQxxx

The main advantage of using Ogust over the Raise Only Non Forcing 2NT is that is provides better information. This is particularly valuable if your partnership takes a ‘less-disciplined’ approach to the strength of your weak twos.

Alternative 2: Modified Ogust (or September)

The Modified Ogust convention, also known as ‘September’, works similarly to Ogust except that it’s responses are based on the Losing Trick Count.

The responses are:

Opener's Response to 2NT Meaning
3 9 losers
3 8 losers, bad hand
3 8 losers, good hand
3 7 losers or better

The idea is that the losing trick count is far more useful for finding the correct final contract.

We Want To Hear From You

Do you use RONF? Let us know in the comments section what you think:

  • Do you play RONF? If not, what alternative treatment do you use to respond to a weak 2?
  • Do you use the standard RONF 2NT or Ogust/Modified Ogust?
  • Ogust vs Modified Ogust: which is better?

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