TWO-OVER-ONE GAME FORCING (2/1GF)
PART 7 (After 1-MAJ-2 CLUBS)
Last month we examined the 2 response to 1-of-a-major. This month we examine opener's follow-ups.
This month, our auction is:
Let's start by expressing the beauty of the 2/1 GF system: Opener bids NATURALLY. Yes. Good-old Natural. If opener has a second suit (of 4 or more cards), he bids it. If he is flat, he bids notrump. If he has 6+ cards in the major opened, he repeats it. No jumping. Well, for now, anyway. Jump rebids are rare and generally should be avoided. They will be the subject of next month's installment. So, for now, we are discussing the following auctions (we'll start with 1-2, then cover 1-2):
1-2-2 : Natural, 5+ and 4+ (Strength is not known yet)
1-2-2: Natural, 6+ (Strength is not known yet)
1-2-2: Natural, 5+ and 4+ (Strength is not known yet)
1-2-2NT: Natural, 5 and 3-3-2 in the other suits (Strength is likely 12-14)
1-2-3: Natural, 5 and club support (usually 4+) (Strength is not known yet)
1) There is no memory or artificiality here. You bid what you have. Natural. Just avoid jumping. Save space.
2) Bidding a new suit shows at least four. With five, you will repeat the second suit on your third bid. Do not JUMP to your second suit. Your bid is only showing shape for the time being. If you have extras, you will reveal that later--once you figure out what is trump, or notrump.
3) Repeating your major promises 6+*. Do not jump with extras. For example, after 1-2, rebid a peaceful 2 with:5 4
K J 8 7 6 5 4
A K 2
Don't jump to 3, which will make finding out the trump suit too difficult. You don't want to jump unless you are sure what is trump, so a jump (covered next month) guarantees a solid suit (solid is AKQJxx or longer).
4) "Reversing" to 2, says nothing about strength. It could be a dead minimum. In general, it is best not to worry about a reverse showing extra values in a 2/1 GF auction.
5) The 2NT rebid shows a "weak notrump" type of hand--an opening bid, but less than a strong notrump. So, typically 12-14. It shows a balanced hand; 5 in the major and 3-3-2 elsewhere. Does it promise stoppers? This is not universally agreed upon. Most prevalent is to not worry about rebidding 2NT with xxx in a side suit. But, do not rebid 2NT with only xx in the side suit. With xx in the side suit, prefer instead to raise to 3 with 3-card support. Of course if your xx is in clubs, you can comfortably rebid 2NT.
6) Raising to 3 should usually be reserved for 4-card support, but can occasionally be a 3-carder if nothing else fits. As usual, it could be a 12-count or a 20-count. Strength will be revealed later. First find a trump fit.
Does anything change if the auction begins 1-2?
No. All the information above is valid. Rebid 2 or 2 with a 4+ card suit. Rebid 2 with 6+. Rebid 2NT with a 5-3-3-2 hand. Raise to 3 if nothing else fits.
Summary of Opener's Rebid after a 2 response to 1-of-a-Major Bid naturally. Don't worry about showing your strength. Show your shape. Once a fit is found, you can show extra values by trying for slam.
QUIZ After partner's 2 response to your 1 opening, what is your rebid? (answers below)
A) K 8 7 6 2 A Q
J 7 6 5
B) Q J 9 8 6 5
A 4 3
A Q 2
C) A K Q 8 7 4
A 6 2
K J 8
D) A Q J 5 3
J 8 5 4
A 3 2
E) J 7 6 5 4
Q J 6
A 6 5
F) Q 7 6 5 2
A K Q J 2
G) K Q 9 8 7 3 2
H) A J 6 5 2
K Q 7
K J 6
A) 2 B) 2 C) 2 (no jumping--and this is not a "solid" suit) D) 2
E) 2NT (preferable to raising clubs) F) 2 (no jumping) G) 2 H) 3 (preferable to 2NT)
Note for advanced players: Regarding the 2NT rebid by opener, it is assumed to be 12-14 balanced. With 15-17 balanced, please make your author happy and open 1NT. What should you do with 18-19 balanced and a 5-card major? Open the major, of course and then after partner's 2/1 GF bid, you have to have an agreement. The simplest is to play that opener's jump to 3NT shows 18-19 balanced. A little more complex (but more space-saving and thus more efficient) is to rebid 2NT with 12-14 OR 18-19 balanced. With the latter, you have to reveal it later by driving towards slam once a fit is found. The responder always will assume 12-14 for a 2NT rebid.
Next month we discuss opener's jumps after the 2 response, and later will go deeper into the auction follow-ups.
If you would like to learn more about 2/1 Game Force, you'll find it in Larry's book:
Larry covers many topics on his cruises, including 2/1. For more information:
Larry's 64-page 2/1 GF workbook
* (Not everyone plays the rebid as guaranteeing 6+, but for now, it is a good recommendation)