Forcing in a side suit.

 

There are some important systemic agreements here. What do these three sequences mean?

 

16.

West

East

 

 

1[

3{

 

 

3]

3[

 

 

17.

West

East

 

 

1[

3{

 

 

3]

4[

 

 

18.

West

East

 

 

1[

3{

 

 

3]

4}

 

 

We will play them in the following manner. Firstly, we never force on two-suiters in Clarendon Standard (except when one of the suits is openerŐs, of course). Secondly, a force (the Americans call it a jump shift) shows one of three types of hand: A hand with a four-card fit for partner, a hand with a very good suit and a knowledge of where the best game is; a hand with a fair suit and all round values. These three hands would all make a jump shift of 3{ over an opening bid of 1[:

 

Hand 16.

 

 

N

 

[

K 9 5

 

 

 

W          E

 

]

Q 4

 

 

 

 

{

A K Q 8 6 3

 

 

 

S

 

}

K 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand 17.

 

 

N

 

[

A K 7 4

 

 

 

W          E

 

]

7 3

 

 

 

 

{

A Q J 9 2

 

 

 

S

 

}

10 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand 18.

 

 

N

 

[

A Q 6 5

 

 

 

W          E

 

]

J 7

 

 

 

 

{

K Q J 8 7

 

 

 

S

 

}

A 10

 

These hand numbers match the numbers of the bidding sequences above them.

 

In Hand 16 it is clear that 3NT or 4[ is cold (and, of course a slam must be close). When opener rebids 3] it is quite safe to bid 3[ as a probe – to see if West can cue-bid or wants to sign off in 4[.

 

In Hand 17 we want to show good trump support and a good suit, making a jump shift being the way to do it. Notice that 4[ on the second round denies an Ace outside of Diamonds or Spades. If you do have an outside Ace you can show it by means of a cue-bid as in Hand 18. The sequence of forcing and then jumping to game is called a picture bid. Responder is giving a good picture of his hand – a good side suit, good trumps and little in the way of outside controls.

 

In Hand 18 the sequence shows Spade support and the Ace of Clubs. 4} cannot be natural as we do not force on two-suiters. A change of suit on the second round after a force always is a cue-bid agreeing openerŐs suit. For example, in the following sequence the last call is unambiguously a cue-bid agreeing Hearts.

 

 

West

East

 

 

1]

3}

 

 

3{

3[

 

 

 

As a final point, tangential to the discussion, the following hand is the other sort that would force with 3{ over an opening bid of 1[. This example shows that a jump shift does not guarantee support for openerŐs suit.

 

Hand 19.

 

 

N

 

[

Q 6

 

 

 

W          E

 

]

K J 10

 

 

 

 

{

A K J 8 6

 

 

 

S

 

}

K 10 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here it is quite safe to bid 3{ over 1[ intending to follow with 3NT on the next round. This cannot mislead partner about strength – if you only respond 2{ you have a problem if opener rebids 2] or 2[. What now?

 

Of course, there are still hands that do not fit the described system. What, for instance, should you respond on this hand over 1[?

 

Hand 20.

 

 

N

 

[

K 9 7 5 4

 

 

 

W          E

 

]

A 7

 

 

 

 

{

K 5

 

 

 

S

 

}

A J 6 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West

 

East

 

 

 

1[

 

?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For possible answers, read onÉ

 

Other methods.

 

There are two extra conventions that enable us to cope with the problem of the last hand. You will either have to select one of these methods or you will have to accept that some hands are unbiddable.

 

Jacoby 2NT

 

As a historical point it is highly unlikely that either Jacoby (father or son) invented this convention (after all Sam Stayman did not invent the convention that bears his name) but somehow the name has become associated with it. Anyway, here it is:

 

  A response of 2NT to 1] or 1[ is game-forcing agreeing openerŐs suit. 

 

Note that if you agree to adopt these methods you cannot, of course, play Baron 2NT over one of a major. (It is, however, important to agree what 2NT means over 1} or 1{. Either Baron or natural is perfectly sensible, according to taste).

 

Note that 2NT should show a raise of partnerŐs major in a hand that is too strong for bidding by other methods. Since a 3NT response promises one sort of major suit raise and double jumps show splinters 2NT covers all other types of game-going supporting hands. The negative inferences that are available here (responder does not hold a flattish 12 – 15 points, nor a medium strength hand with a singleton nor a hand with a good side suit) are important.

 

After a 2NT response to 1] or 1[ opener has the following rebid possibilities:

 

New suit

Natural, not necessarily showing the top cards.

Jump to game

Minimum hand, no slam interest.

3NT

Natural, flat 15 – 16, with the opening bid a four-card suit.

3 of the major

Showing some interest, allowing room for cue-bidding.

Jump in a new suit

Splinter, showing a shortage in the bid suit.

 

The advantage of a new suit showing length is to allow responder to evaluate the fit of the two hands. A new suit is something of a trial bid, but at slam rather than game level.

 

Transfer forces: Basic scheme.

 

After an opening bid in any suit followed by a Pass by RHO the following system of responses applies:

 

2NT

is game-forcing with Clubs.

3}

is game-forcing with Diamonds.

3{

is game-forcing with Hearts.

3]

is game-forcing with Spades.

 

If the transfer is into a new suit (as in the sequence 1] – 3}) then opener completes the transfer only if he has positive support for responderŐs suit (Q x x  or better), otherwise makes his natural rebid.

 

If the transfer is into openerŐs suit (as in the sequence 1[ – 3]) then the following applies:

 

New suit

Natural, not necessarily showing the top cards.

Jump to game

Minimum hand, no slam interest.

3NT

Natural, flat 15 – 16, with the opening bid a four-card suit

3 of the major

Showing some interest, allowing room for cue-bidding.

Jump in a new suit

Splinter, showing a shortage in the bid suit.

 

Note that this is the same set of rebids that apply over 1]/[ – 2NT when 2NT is played as an unlimited major suit raise.

 

An example that shows the usefulness of either Jacoby 2NT or transfer forces (from a summer knock-out match in 2001) follows:

 

Hand 21.

[

A Q 7 3

N

 

[

K 9 7 5 4

 

]

K 9 6

W          E

 

]

A 7

 

{

A Q 10 6

 

{

K 5

 

}

K 9

S

 

}

A J 6 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West

 

East

 

 

 

1[

 

2NT or 3]

 

 

 

3[

 

4}

 

 

 

4{

 

4]

 

 

 

5}

 

5{

 

 

 

5]

 

5NT

 

 

 

7[

 

Pass

 

 

And, finally, a hand to showing how a 2NT response might avoid getting too high (with the possibility of a Club ruff even 5[ suffers from vertigo):

 

Hand 22.

[

A Q 10 9 6

N

 

[

K J 4 2

 

]

6

W          E

 

]

A K 8 3

 

{

K Q 8 3

 

{

A J

 

}

Q 10 8

S

 

}

J 9 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West

 

East

 

 

 

1[

 

2NT

 

 

 

3{

 

3]

 

 

 

3[

 

4{

 

 

 

4]

 

4[

 

 

 

Pass