Two-Over-One GF -- Part 5 (More responses to 1-level openings)

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 05/01/2011
Level: Intermediate


 PART 5 (More responses to 1?, 1?, 1?)

Last month we started to examine when we are in a 2/1 GF auction and when we aren't.

We'll spend one more month laying groundwork (next month we will get into the actual 2/1 auctions).

Let's make sure we know about all responses to partner's openings of one-of-a-suit. Remember that a 1? opener is out of the picture for a 2/1 GF discussion (use what you've always used after 1?).

RESPONDING TO A 1 DIAMOND OPENING After 1♠, the only GF response is 2?. In a future article we will delve into the details of this auction.

What about other responses to 1?

One-level responses in a major are just "bridge." A raise to 2? is natural. You can use inverted minors if you wish--this has nothing to do with 2/1 GF. A raise to 2?, if playing inverted, shows 10+ and is not GF. A jump response to 2? or 2? also has nothing to do with 2/1 GF. Play it as weak if you wish. Or strong. (Just make sure you and partner agree one way or the other.)  A 2NT response is natural, and I recommend 11-12. It you'd rather play it as 13+ be my guest (again--agree with partner).  What about a 3? response? This will be the highlight bid of this installment.

I like to play, that after any opening bid:

A JUMP TO 3-of-any-lower-suit is natural and invitational (denying support for partner).

Accordingly, 1?-Pass-3? shows something like:  ?5 4
?Q 3 2
?J 3
?A Q J 10 7 6
It shows a 6+ card suit and about 10-11 points. It's a hand that isn't quite good enough for a 2/1 GF. It is a great alternative to 1NT (yuk). Without having this agreement, you'd have no choice but to respond 1NT (or 2? GF) with the hand above.

RESPONDING TO ONE-OF-A-MAJOR OPENINGS What about after a 1? or 1? opening? I'll get to the 3-level jump in a moment, but let's just review the other responses. A response of 1? to 1? is just "bridge." Natural and a 1-round force. Could be 6 points. Could be 20 points.

A 1NT response to either major is part of the system. It is 1NT forcing (or, if you agree with partner, "semi-forcing.")

A two-level response in a new lower-ranking suit is a natural GF. That is the essential bid in 2/1 GF.

A raise is a raise (more on raises in a future article).

A jump-shift on the 2-level (1?-2?) needs to be defined. Choose to play it as WEAK or STRONG. One or the other and make sure you agree.

A jump-response to 2NT has nothing to do with 2/1 GF. Most readers probably use it as a conventional call (Jacoby 2NT). 

A jump-raise is natural. If not using Bergen Raises, it is invitational/limit. If playing Bergen raises, all of your 3-level bids are artificial raises (again, this has nothing to do with 2/1 GF). I hope Marty Bergen isn't reading this, but honestly I would eschew Bergen raises because I like to use the 3-level for the difficult-to-show invitational hands. Repeating the rule above (which I use after 1?), I also use it after 1-of-a-Major:

A JUMP TO 3-of-any-lower-suit is natural and invitational.

Using this method, each of these bids below shows a 6+ card suit and about 10-11 playing points:


WestNorthEastexample Hand         
 1?  Pass 3? ?K2  ?43 ?43  ?AQ109873
 1?  Pass  3? ??54 ?A532  ?KQJ876
 1?  Pass 3?  ?A4 ?-- ?KQ108762 ?10873
 1?  Pass 3? ?4 ?Q54  ?654  ?AKJ1063
 1?  Pass  3?  ?-- ?K3 ?AQJ6542  ?9765
 1?  Pass  3?  ?6 ?AQ108765 ?K98  ?32


This is just a simple recommendation. If you want lots of sophistication (or to keep your beloved Bergen raises), then so be it. However, what I am recommending is nice and simple. It gives you a quick and easy-to-remember system for all responses. You can bid 1NT forcing with most responding hands and also have the ability to show the invitational hands by jumping to 3-of-a-lower-ranking suit. Note: These Invitational jumps are only after RHO Passes (if RHO doubles or overcalls, then we don't use invitational jumps).

We are done laying groundwork. Next month we finally start to discuss some 2/1 GF auctions!

Larry's 2/1 Workbook

BMS 2/1 Webinars by Michael Berkowitz

 Larry's audio presentation to the ABTA on 2/1 GF in New Orleans, 2010