2-Over-1 Forcing


Introduction

    means a Heart or a Spade bid.
    means a Diamond or a Club bid.

2-Over-1 Forcing ("2/1") is a convention with the following specifications: 

  • Opener bids 1 or 1 or optionally, 1.
  • Opponent passes.
  • Responder makes a non-jump bid of a new suit on the 2 level.
  • Responder is an unpassed hand.
Conforming bids:  1-2,   1-2,   1-2,   1-2,   1-2.

That is the extent of the 2/1 Forcing convention. To this is often added some or all of the following additional (and separate) conventions:

Other conventions which are sometimes mentioned as being part of 2/1, such as Inverted Minors, Stayman, or Jacoby Transfers, have nothing to do with 2/1 Forcing since none of them are related to opening 1 of a major.

Some people also add 4th Suit Forcing. However, Larry Cohen says Fourth Suit Forcing is used by the responder to establish a game force. Since after a 2/1 bid, you are already in a game force, 4th Suit Forcing is redundant.

For a discussion of why 2/1 is not a "system," click here

Although 2-Over-1 Forcing is usually just called 2/1, it should not be confused with a SAYC 2/1 bid which can be made with 10-12 points. If, for example, you are a passed hand and respond 2 to partner's 1, you have bid 2/1, but you are not playing the 2/1 Convention. You are only showing 10-12 points.

In the rest of this document, a reference to 2/1 is meant to be 2/1 Forcing and not the 10-12 point 2/1.

Although sometimes called Game Forcing, 2/1 is often played as forcing only as far as the 4 level, meaning that 4 can be passed out. It also can optionally be played that if a player makes a weak response such as a simple rebid of his suit, responder can pass.

Playing 2/1 Game Forcing clarifies the bidding early for game-strength hands without having to worry about opener passing out one of your bids short of game, but it means that you cannot make a 2-level response with just an invitational hand.

For this reason, Forcing Notrump is usually played with 2-Over-1. This requires opener to bid again so that responder can clarify his hand when weak. Some play Semi-Forcing Notrump, where opener can pass with a balanced minimum hand.

If opener bids 1 and responder bids 1, 2/1 is off since the 1 bid can be made with anything from 6 points up and thus there is no game force. For this reason, Larry Cohen recommends that if responder has 4 Spades and 4+ Clubs or Diamonds and 13+ points, he should bid the minor to establish a 2/1 game force; otherwise, just bid 1.

If responder were to jump to 2 in response to 1, it would not be 2/1. It would be a jump-shift, either weak or strong, however you play it in SAYC.

Responder does not have to make a 2/1 response to 1 if some other bid is available. And before bidding a Forcing 1NT or 2/1, responder's first duty with a weak hand is to raise opener's major with 3+ of the suit. Without support and with a 4-card Spade suit, responder bids 1 over opener's 1.

With 5-11 points, no support for opener's major, and an inability to bid 1, responder should bid a Forcing 1NT.


Raising Opener's Major

    With 3 trumps and

    • 5-10 points, raise to 2.
    • 11-12 points, start with 1NT then bid opener's suit on the 3 level.
    • 12-13 points, bid 2/1 then bid game in opener's major
    • 14-17 points and a flat hand (any 4-3-3-3), bid 3NT.
    • 14+ points and a non-flat hand, bid 2/1 then rebid opener's major at the lowest level (1-2-2-2)
        or if opener rebids his suit, make a jump bid to splinter (e.g.: 1-2-2-4)

    With 4+ trumps and

    • 6-10 points, raise to 2
    • 11-12, make a limit raise (to 3)
    • 13+ and a balanced hand, bid a Jacoby 2NT
    • 13+ and a singleton or void, splinter.


Forcing 1NT, continuations

    Opener's responses to 1N:
    • 12-14 points: Bid 2 of the opening suit OR 2 of a lower suit OR 2N.
            Some people bid 2 as artificial with no other good bid or
            rebid the opening suit even with 5 cards if it's a strong suit.
    • 15+ points:
      • jump rebid of opening suit with 6+ of suit
      • reverse with 4+ Spades but more Hearts (1-1N, 2 is most likely 4-5 in the majors;
            with 5-5, would have bid Spades first. 4-6 or 5-6 are less likely to happen.)
      • any bid at the 3 level (e.g.: 1-1N, 3)
    • 18+ points, balanced, bid 2N then show strength later by bidding past game if partner 
        shows 11-12 points by bidding 3N. {Opener also bids 2N with 13-14 points.
        Isn't partner going to pass with <12 points?}
      Other bids are natural and strength must be shown later. 

    Bids by responder after opener has made a second bid below 2N (usually a bid of 2)

    • 5-9 points:
      • Pass with unless holding 2+ of opener's major suit.
      • 2 of new suit with 5-card suit or medium-to-poor 6+ card suit.
          (With a good 6+ card suit, should have made a weak jump-shift.)
      • 2 of opener's first suit with 2+ in opener's suit.
    • 2N with no fit, 10-12 points with stoppers
    • 3 of opener's minor with 4+ support and <3 of the major, 10-12 points
    • 3 of opener's first suit with 3 card support, 10-12 points
    • 4 of opener's 2nd major with 4+ card support 4+ HCPs in suit, 11-12 points in hand
    • 3 of new suit (non-jump) with 5-11 points and good 6+ card suit
    • jump to 3 of new suit with 10-11 points and good 6+ card suit.
        with 3+ support with shape and 2 Aces or Kings. {This is a huge difference.
        The first option would seem to be much more common, so BidBase uses it.
        }


2/1, continuation  (after 1-P-2//-P)

    By opener:
    • 12-14 points: 
      • * jump to game with a long, solid suit
      • raise partner's suit 1 level with 3+ cards.
        Larry Cohen's 2/1 Quiz #2 has the hand 32-QJT87-A4-AQ54 and bids 3
        That hand has 15 total points and 4 Clubs. Other sources say to bid
      • bid a new suit on the 2 level
      • rebid your 6-card suit
      • bid 2N with a balanced hand and stoppers in the unbid suits. (Also, see next section.)
      • rebid your 5-card suit if you can't bid one of the above.

    • 15+ points:
      • reverse (1-2-2) with 4 spades.
          Optionally (check 1):
            __ shows slam interest or
            __ just describes hand shape.
      • any non-jump 3-bid with a 4+ card suit.
      • raise responder with 4-card support.
      • * 3 of your major with a strong 6-card suit.
      • 2N with balanced hand, stoppers and 17+ HCPs and show strength later.
      • 3N with balanced hand, stoppers and 15-16 HCPs
      • 4N is RKCB for responder's suit.

      * Larry Cohen says in his 2/1 quiz, answer 3: Jumping shows a solid suit, not extra values.

    By responder after opener's response to 2/1:

    • 12-16 points - 
      • with 3+ cards in opener's suit, jump to game
      • bid 3N with a stopper in the unbid suit(s).
      • rebid own suit with 6+ cards
      • bid a new suit with 4+ cards in it
      • bid new suit with <4 cards if it is the 4th suit bid and no other bid is possible.

    • 13+ points -
      • minimum bid of opener's major or 2N (2-card support, balanced and asking)
      • 6+ cards in own suit - rebid suit. Can be played forcing or invitational.
        • __ forcing?
        • __ invitational?
      • new suit, non-jump
        • __ natural?
        • __ **asking? (less than 3-card suit)
      • new suit, jump - 3+ card support. Splinter in suit bid.
      • balanced hand over opener's 2N (showing 17+ HCPs and balanced hand):
        • 4N - 13-14 HCPs
        • 6N - 15+ HCPs.
      • 4N = RKCB for opener's last suit

By opener after responder's 2nd bid:

  • over an **asking bid: 
    • 4 of your suit with 7+ cards
    • 3 of responder's minor with 3-card support.
    • 3NT over 2N with a balanced minimum
    • NT over responder's new suit with a stopper in the unbid suit.
    • bid 4th suit with 4+ cards and can't bid NT.

  • over a minimum raise by responder (3+ support, interest in slam)
    • minimum - bid game.
    • cue bid an ace with interest in slam
    • raise responder's suit with 3-card support and 1+ honor or with 4+ support
    • bid 3N, asking, with interest in slam and inability to bid any of the above.


Another Idea...

The following is from Simon Stocken on BridgeWinners.com

    2 over 1 after a 1 opening has 3 hands to show GF hands (excluding those with 4 card support)

    After a 1 opener there are two GF bids (2 and 2).

    These 2 over 1 sequences rarely occur, so on grounds of frequency it can be argued proponents of traditional 2 over 1 are 'wasting' useful bids.

    A method that is becoming more popular is as follows:

    Over 1

      2 = GF (may be short in clubs)
      2 = 8+ points, 5+ hearts
      2 = 8+ points good spade raise
      2 = < 8 points, 3-card raise

    Over 1

      2 = GF (may be short)
      2 = 8+ points, good heart raise
      2 = < 8 points, 3-card raise

    After the 2 response there are various options (which can get complicated). The structure involves showing minimums early and transferring into an unbid major.

    The advantages are considerable:

    • Information leak is minimised
    • Responder can choose to declare all other-major contracts and NTs (should this be what's required)
    • No more Bergen raises needed [freeing up the 3-level bids] - they all go though the transfer (showing 8+ points with support)
    • Hands with 5+ hearts and 8+ points get to bid their suit over 1 by transferring to 2 - opener can complete with a minimum and a small doubleton. This also takes the heart hands out of any Gazilli continuations.
    • Extra bids are freed up on grounds of frequency.