The Flannery Two Diamond convention was devised by Mr. William L. Flannery, (aka Bill), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, July 29, 1932 and died October 20, 2000 in Sacramento, California, United States. He invented the Flannery Two Diamond Opening and published two books on the subject of the bid and defenses against the bid. The conventional opening bid of two Diamonds was devised to show a hand of opening strength (usually 11 to 15 high-card points) with four spades and five hearts. Designed to avoid a rebid problem following a one heart opening, the convention gained a wide following among club and tournament players.

Note About Picture

Source of picture is courtesy of his brother Patrick Flannery. Additional information about the bridge personality or Mr. William L. Flannery would be greatly appreciated as well as any additional photographic material.

The picture of his publication Flannery Two Diamond Opening, was first published in the year 1985 by Baron Barclay Bridge and also National Book Network (Devyn Press), ISBN-10: 0910791139 / ISBN-13: 978-0910791137.


Short Biography

Mr. William L. Flannery competed in the 1963 Chicago Trophy, presently the Reisinger, with team mates Donald R. Faskow, Herbert Sachs, and Paul Swanson. They placed second. He also placed second in the 1967 Life Masters Pairs with partner Donald R. Faskow.

He authored two publications One No Trump Forcing (Championship Bridge Series), 1981, Publisher: Devyn Press, ASIN: B00072HVCQ; Championship Bridge: Flannery No. 21, 1982, Publisher: Bibliagora, ISBN-10: 090603132X / ISBN-13: 978-0906031322


Origin of the Concept

In earlier days of the theoretical evolution of the game of bridge and the various means of communicating information to partner a holding with an unbalanced holding and a No Trump range of 16-18 points the target of communicating this information to partner had been solved. The problem with the unbalanced holding was a distribution of a lower-ranking 5-card plus suit and a higher-ranking suit of lesser length, with No Trump values ranging between 16-18 points, would be solved by the conventional method of the reverse bid.

The problem, however, was that Mr. William L. Flannery had a problem with a distribution of a 5-card Heart suit and a 4-card Spade suit (both Major suits), and limited values between 11-15 high card points. So, Mr. William L. Flannery devised the Flannery Two Diamonds bid to cover such distribution and values. Using this convention, one partner can open the auction and describe his hand quickly and accurately.

The responder would immediately know via this bid that partner holds a distribution of 4-5-x-x, which represents about 70% of the distributional shape, and that the held values ranged somewhere between 11 and 15 high card points.

Mr. William L. Flannery believed that the frequency of a distributional pattern of 4-5 was greater than the frequency of a weak two bid in Diamonds. The following holding shows the text book pattern for a Flannery Two Diamonds opening bid.


Note: Some partnerships have varied the point range requirement from 11 to 16 high card points. However, an additional requirement is that the holding contain at least 2.5 defensive tricks.

The above distribution can be quickly described to the partner with the Flannery Two Diamond bid. The point range, although larger in comparison to other No Trump ranges, and the distribution of nine of the thirteen cards become two known features of the holding.

The Flannery Two Diamond bid can be made in any seat or position at the table, as long as no player has made a bid in the auction. This is the entire concept behind the Flannery Two Diamond bid.

Conclusion of the Concept

As with all holdings the value of the holding becomes an important factor after a suit has been established. A hand with only 9 high card points may become worth 13 support points with a void, for instance, once a Major suit has been established. This element must be considered carefully by the partner when responding. The responder may already be a passed hand, but the held values may have increased dramatically after discovering the distrubutional shape of his partner who has just bid a Flannery Two Diamond.


Note: When playing Flannery Two Diamond it is important for the partnership to remember that the above holding may not be opened with 2 Diamonds. Although the holding contains 15 high card points, which is the maximum range for a 2 Diamond Flannery opening, the holding does not contain a 4-card Spade suit. By not opening this holding with a Flannery 2 Diamonds, the opener denies holding in addition a 4-card Spade suit.

Continuances by Responder

Pass: Responder may pass the Flannery Two Diamonds bid if responder has fewer than 10 points and a 6-card Diamond suit.
2 : This is a sign-off indicating fewer than 10 support points, but with more support in Hearts.
2 : This is a sign-off indicating fewer than 10 support points, but with more support in Spades.
2NT: See below.
3 : If the responder bids a Minor in Clubs showing at least a 6-card Club suit and 11-13 points, then his partner should bid 3 No Trump with a fit of Ax or Kx or Qxx in Clubs. This response is invitational.
3 : If the responder bids a Minor in Diamonds showing at least a 6-card Diamond suit and 11-13 points, then his partner should bid 3 No Trump with a fit of Ax or Kx or Qxx in Diamonds. This response is invitational.
3 : This is an invitational jump bid, and partner may pass or bid game with maximum values.
3 : This is an invitational jump bid, and partner may pass or bid game with maximum values.
4 : This is a transfer bid to 4 Hearts and game.
4 : This is a transfer bid to 4 Spades and game.

Note: Some partnerships have agreed to employ the 4 as Gerber. This is a matter of partnership agreement.

Continuances Following 2 No Trump Response

As further explanations of continuations if the responder bids 2 No Trump, a totally artificial bid, then the responder is forcing partner to divulge more information about the Minor suit holdings. To describe the Minor suit holdings, the Flannery Two Diamonds bidder can describe the Minor suit holding in the following fashion.

3 : Shows 11-13 points and two cards in each Minor suit.
3 : Shows 14-15 points and two cards in each Minor suit.
3 NT: Shows 14-15 points and values mainly in the Minor suits consisting of 2 cards each.
3 : Shows a 3-card Club holding and therefore a 4-5-1-3 distribution.
3 : Shows a 3-card Diamond holding and therefore a 4-5-3-1 distribution.
4 : A jump bid to show a 4-card Club holding and therefore a 4-5-0-4 distribution.
4 : A jump bid to show a 4-card Diamond holding and therefore a 4-5-4-0 distribution

In general, the Flannery Two Diamond bid is considered an essential convention for all bridge players, The distribution and strength is described accurately and quickly. By means of the responses, the opener can further describe his Minor suit holding. However, the bridge player must be aware that in selecting to add the Flannery Two Diamond convention to his list means that the Weak Two Diamond bid must be dropped. Both conventions can not be applied at the same time and mean something different.

Possible Defense Method

There is also a defense method to the Flannery Two Diamond convention, but this is always a matter of the partnership agreement. Many bridge players play the standard defense, which is as follows:

Overcall Meaning
2 : Indicates a 3-suited Takeout, with shortness in Hearts.
Double: Indicates the equivalent of a strong 1 No Trump opening, 15 plus points.
2 NT: Indicates the Unusual No Trump convention signifying both Minor suits.
Suit Overcall: All other suit overcalls are natural.
Overcall Alternative Meaning
Double: Indicates a balanced in the 13-16 point range
2 NT: Indicates a stronger balanced hand.

As with all defense methods and treatments, they must be first approved by the partners and should become part of the partnership agreement. As the reviewer can see, there are different approaches when defending. These should be discussed beforehand and, if selected, applied if the opponents are using the Flannery Two Diamond convention

Note: It must also be noted that this concept has been varied and modified by several partnership agreements, which are not presented here.



If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.