Forcing and Non-Forcing Bids

The next example auction is a situation which comes up frequently. The hand will continue to  illustrate how to think of bids as either forcing or non-forcing.

You hold as East:


The auction begins:

W            N             E              S

1S           P             ?

What do you bid and why?

The first bid that many players consider with this hand is 2C.  The hand has good clubs, clubs are the primary feature of the hand, and responding in clubs is the most natural looking bid. However, the bid of 2C is a forcing bid and opener will expect 10 or moreHCPs from responder. In bidding  2C’s responder coerces opener into a mindset of looking for the best game or possibly slam.

Responder’s actual hand really only has the strength to warrant a dialogue for the best part score. Opposite a minimum opener the partnership could easily contract at too high a level if the responder overbids their hand with a 2C response.

A 1NT bid by Responder shows less than 10HCPs and less than 3 spades.  A 1NT bid aligns the partnership in the search of level since it is non-forcing bid. Should the responder get another chance they can offer up clubs as a possible strain.

The message of this hand:

When responder bids 1NT after their partner opens 1 of a major (1H-1NT or 1S-1NT) the response is a non-forcing bid. The responder  is showing a hand with less than 10 HCP’s less, than three cards in partners major, and also does not promise a balanced hand. With a long suit and less than 10 HCP’s it is better to limit the strength of the hand and create a non-forcing auction by responding 1NT then to overbid the strength of the hand to show a long suit.