2-Over-1 Forcing


2-Over-1 Forcing ("2/1") is a convention for making a non-jump response on the 2-level to a 1 opening when playing Standard American, 5-Card Majors. Examples: 1-2 or 1-2. Optionally, partners may agree to play 1-2 as 2/1.

Although sometimes called Game Forcing, it is usually played as forcing as far as the 4 level, meaning that 4 can be passed out. Optionally, it can be played that if opener makes a weak response of just rebidding his suit over a response of 1NT, responder can pass.

This clarifies the bidding early on 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 hand.

2-Over-1 Forcing is only in play when opener bids 1 of a major, responder's RHO passes, and responder is an unpassed hand.

Other than Forcing Notrump and 2-Over-1 forcing to game/4-level, much of the rest of the bidding is Standard American (limit raises, etc.) with common conventions such as Splinters, Jacoby 2NT, inverted minors, and any others which don't interfere with or duplicate the purpose of 2/1 bids.

In fact, responder does not have to make a 2/1 bid 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.

When responder's RHO interferes or if responder passes before his partner opens or if opener bids anything other than 1 or 1 (or 1 by partnership agreement), 2/1 is off and the players must revert to Standard American.

For this reason, when selecting the 2/1 system in BidBase, other bids used to fill in the gaps must be left selected in BidBase, although it may be necessary to deselect some of them and put in similar bids with "unpassed hand" specified.

If RHO intervenes or opener bids something other than 1, no adjustments to the database are necessary because only entries with Prior Bidding of 1-Pass (by RHO) are superceded by 2/1 bids.

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

To recap: If opener has started with 1 or 1 and the next player/opponent has passed, 2/1 is open for business.

To keep 2/1 going, responder must bid one of the following:

  • 1 (if possible and with 6+ points and 4+ Spades)
      (Opener can respond 1N with <4 Spades, <6 Hearts, <4 Clubs or Diamonds and <16 points.
       although with a hand like K72-AQJT7-93-AT6, either 2 or 2 are possible.)
  • 1NT with less than opening strength, or
  • 2 with opening strength, or
  • any of the other bids shown in the next section on raising opener, or
  • any other descriptive bid which does not interfere with 2/1 bids such as weak or strong jump-shifts.


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 any other distribution, bid 2/1 then rebid opener's major at the lowest level.
      or with 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
  • 10-12, 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

    Responses to 1N by opener:
    • 13-14 points: Bid 2 of his opening suit OR 2 of a lower suit OR 2N.

    • 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)

    • Pass with 5-8 points unless holding 3+ of opener's suit.
    • 2 = "Impossible 2" (already denied 4+ Spades after bidding 1N over 1)
        10-12 points with long unbid minor. {This is only good over 1, and if opener
        rebids 2, responder can bid 2 - the "long minor" - so this is only good for the
        specific sequence 1-1N-2. Too many complications for too little use.}
    • 2 of opener's first suit with 2+ in opener's suit PLUS 5-10 HCP OR
        3+ support with shape and 2 Aces or Kings. {Seems like this should be a 1st-round bid.}
    • 2N with no fit, 10-12 points with stoppers
    • 3 of opener's minor with 4+ support, 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
    • 2 of new suit with 5-9 points, 5 card suit or medium-to-poor 6+ card suit.
    • 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.


2/1, continuation

    By opener:
    • 13-14 points:
      • jump to game with a long, solid ("AKQ") suit
      • raise partner's suit 1 level with 3 cards.
      • 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
      • rebid your 5-card suit if you can't bid one of the above.

    • 15+ points:
      • reverse (1-2, 2) with 4 in the suit.
        Optionally __shows slam interest or __ just describes hand shape. (Check 1.)
      • 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 <17 HCPs
      • 4N is RKCB for responder's suit.

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

    • 10-12 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 support)
      • new suit, jump - 3+ card support. Splinter in suit bid.
      • 4NT -
        • quantitative over 2N
        • RKCB for opener's last suit if non-2N.

    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.


Bids After 1-1

1-1 defeats the purpose of 2-Over-1 because opener is left not knowing if responder has 5 points or 15+ thus risking getting too high opposite 5 or missing game opposite 15+. Following is a series of bids for clarifying it. The first option is ....

Transfer Bids by Opener:

The bids 1N through 2 are artificial and thus alertable. With a hand of less than 10 points, it's up to responder to find the best part-score. With better hands, there's room to make more natural bids.

1   1
1N         =  <15 points, 4+ Clubs OR balanced. Not forcing
            
1   1
2         =  <15 points, 4+ Diamonds. 1-round forcing.
...     2 = 5-9 points, 4+ Diamonds.
2         = 16-18 points, 6+ Hearts, 4+ Diamonds.
            
1   1
2   2
2         =  16-18 pts., 3 Spades, 5 Hearts,
            
1   1
2   2
2N         =  16-18 points, <3 Spades, 5 Hearts, balanced
            
2   2
3         =  16-18 points, 0-5-4-4
            
2   2
3         =  15-18 points, 5 Hearts, 5 Diamonds
            
P = 12-16 points
2 = 15-17 points, 3-6 majors OR
2   2 = 5-9 points, 2 Hearts. (With 3 Hearts and 5-9 points, would have raised first time.)
3        =  <16 pts, 6+ Hearts OR 15-17 pts., 5 Hearts. Forcing.

3 = 10-12 points, 4 Diamonds.
2 =  <16 pts, 5+ Hearts, 3 Spades. Non-forcing. Balanced.
2N =  17-19 pts, balanced
3 = 17+ pts, 4+ clubs, Game forcing
3 = 17+ pts, 4+ diamonds. Game forcing.
3 = 15-17 pts, 6+ hearts, <3 spades, Non-forcing.
3 = 15-17 pts, 4+ spades

Other bids are natural.


Natural Bids:

1   1
1N    ...  = 13-16 pts. 2-5-3-3 (With 4+ C/D or 3+ S or 6+ H, opener would have

               bid one of those suits.)  With 17+HCP, bid 2NT.
...     2 = <10 points. 6+ spades, <3 Hearts.
    2 = <10 points. 5+ clubs. Pass expected from opener who has promised 3.
    2 = as above, except 5+ diamonds.
    2 = GF. Can't be weak because he didn't raise immediately.
    3 = 10-12 points and 3 hearts.
     P  = balanced and nothing better to bid.

1   1 = 4+ pts. 4+ spades.
2    ...  = 13-16 pts. <4 spades.
...      P  = 5-9 pts. May have 3 diamonds

1   1
2   2 = 5-9 pts. 2 hearts (Would have raised 1st round with 3+)
3    ...  = 17-18 pts. 6+ hearts
4    ...  = 19+. 6+ hearts.

1   1
2   2 = 5-9 pts. May have 5 spades
P      ...  = <17 pts.
3    ...  = 17-18 pts. 4+ spades
3    ...  = 17-18 pts. 6 hearts, 4+ diamonds
3    ...  = 17-18 pts. 5 hearts, 6+ diamonds
2N    ...  = 17-18 pts. Club stopper.
3    ...  = 17-18 pts. Could be 3 clubs.

1   1
2   3 = 10-12 pts. 3 hearts
...    4 = 13-16 pts. 3 hearts

1   1
2    P   =  <10 points

    2N = 5-9 pts. May have <3 hearts, <5 spades, 4+ diamonds, 4+ clubs
    3N = 13-16 pts. <5 diamonds, <6 hearts, <3 spades

1   1
2N    ...  = 17-19 points balanced
...    3  = Game forcing

1   1
3    ...   = Any non-pass bid by responder is game forcing.

1   1
4    ...   = Not a sign-off since responder is unlimited.

1   4  = Sign-off.