Making the switch: What is a 2/1 Game Force?

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The 2/1 Game Force is a two-level response to partner's opening bid of one of a suit, in a lower ranking suit.

There are only six such auctions: 1S-2H; 1S-2D; 1S-2C; 1H-2D; 1H-2C; and 1D-2C.

In Standard American Bridge, we need 10 HCP to respond to partner's opening bid in a lower suit at the 2-level. This bidding often leaves the partnership in no-man's land; if opener has a mini hand of 12 and responder has 10, then opener knows that the partnership has 22+ points.

What good is that?

Playing 2/1 Game Force, the responder must have opening bid values or a hand that wants to be in game opposite her partner's opener to make a 2/1 bid. Now we have two opening bids facing each other and will not stop until we find our game (or slam).

This bidding modification has been designed to give the partnership more bidding room both to find the best game contract and explore slam possibilities.

The 2/1 Game Force does not apply to a passed hand, does not apply after a take-out double, and does not apply after an overcall.

Often the responder will have a hand in the 5- to 12-point range and will not be able to make a 2/1 call; he may use a 1NT response, which is forcing for one-round.

The 1NT forcing bid frequently allows the partnership to find a more comfortable partial game contract.

Little by little, most players are changing over to a 2/1 Game Force approach. I think it is a modification that you will agree is more flexible than Standard American.

We will explore this 2/1 approach to bidding at the Bridge Club this winter; we will look at 2/1 bids (Standard American vs. 2/1), opener's rebids, responder's rebids, the 1 NT forcing response and rebids, and slam bidding. Come join the party!

For each hand below, what would you respond to partner's 1 spade opening bid, playing Standard and 2/1.

Two answers are required, one for each system. Answers can be found at the end of this article.

  1. 2 A106 J87 KQ9875
  2. 32 A98 KQ8 KJ987
  3. J8 AQ987 K76 987
  4. K98 4 K1093 AQ1076
  5. K7 987 AK1097 876

Kathie Walsh is a certified ABTA teacher at Hilton Head Island Bridge Club. kbwalsh@roadrunner.com

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