Forcing 1 No Trump
Response To A Major Suit Opening
The concept of this response is used on a wide range of hands and is incorporated in many bidding systems. The concept has been widened to include holdings which would generally qualify for a single raise in standard bidding systems, or even a response at the two level in a different suit. The idea behind this concept is to narrow the range for a single raise.
In the Roth-Stone bidding system, a single raise is considered to be strong, approximately 10-12 support points. However, using the Forcing 1 No Trump Response, a response of 1 No Trump followed by a preference at the two level shows a weaker range, approximately 6-9 support points.
This difference is important to remember, since other bidding systems as well, such as Two Over One, Eastern Scientific, Precision, Kaplan-Sheinwold and Walsh, utilize this concept, whereby a single raise is constructive, normally showing a 4-card support and higher systemic values, but, in contrast, a preference bid after a Forcing 1 No Trump Response indicates a 3-card support or less and lesser systemic values.
The above mentioned bidding systems all require that a Major suit opening contain at least five cards. A 1 No Trump response is therefore forcing for one round and the opener must bid again to allow the responder to communicate his support and/or strength and/or preference. If the opener has a 6-card Major suit, then the opener simply rebids his Major suit, showing a 6-card suit. If this is not the case, then the opener must find another bid, even if it is the lowest-ranking 3-card suit. However, if the Quick Trick and high card point range require that the hand be opened and his distribution is 4-5-2-2, the above bidding systems provide no sensible rebid, which may require that the opener is forced to rebid his Major suit with only holding five cards. This is definitely a drawback, but the probabilities are small in comparison.
Other freak distributions may prevent the partnership from reaching the most desirable contract, and circumventing the guidelines set forth in the bidding systems may become necessary. These freak distributions, which may cause problems for the opener to find a sensible rebid, may be the cause of why many partnerships have returned to the standard single/double raise and/or employing Limit Raises with either an immediate 3 or 4-card support in the Major suit opening and have discarded the use of the 1 No Trump response as forcing.
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.
Claus and Raymond
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