Two-Over-One GF -- Part 6 (The 2C response)

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 06/01/2011
Level: Intermediate


PART 6 (Finally 2/1 auctions!)

In the previous 5 months, we laid the groundwork for the 2/1 GF system.

Now, we can get into the fun part of the system--the actual 2-over-1 auctions.

Let's look this month at a response of 2? (the other 2-over-1 responses follow the same basic principles and will be covered in future months). Also, we'll ignore the specific auction of 1?-2? for now and come back to it in a later month.  So, this month, our auction is:


1?  Pass 2?



 1?  Pass  2?



Of course, this means we opened 1? or 1? as the dealer (or in 2nd position). We do not use 2/1 GF after a 3rd- or 4th-seat opening bid.  Also, the opponents must be silent--if they interfere, there is no 2/1 GF.

So, what does 2? show? It is "natural," but certainly doesn't promise a 5-card suit. It shows enough points to want to be in (at least) game opposite partner's opening bid. Here are more explicit details on the length and strength of the 2? response:

Length: While a 5+ card suit would be nice, what can responder respond after partner's 1? if he has, say:

?K 3
?6 5 4 2
?A Q 2
?A J 9 8? 

He can't raise spades with only two. The hand is wrong for notrump (no heart stopper)--not to mention that a jump in notrump preempts our own good auction. Responding 2? with only a 4-card suit is a no-no (the auction 1?-2? promises at least 5 hearts, as we will see in a later month). That leaves, ta-da, ...  2?.    Sometimes, responder will be 4-4 in the minors, in which case I recommend bidding 2? (to leave the most room). I suppose if the clubs are terrible (?J762) and the diamonds are good (?KQ98), it would be a better description to respond 2?.  Certainly if clubs is responder's longest suit, that will always be the suit he names first. Can the 2? response ever be made on a 3-card suit?  Not likely (unless it is part of some fancy newfangled system). If I had to come up with an example of a 3-card response of 2?, try this:
?A 4 3
?J 5 4 3
?A 5 4
?A K 3
.  After partner's 1?, I might bid 2?, just to get the ball rolling. Nothing else seems better.  

Strength: Basically, a 2/1 response shows an "opening bid." With an "opening bid" opposite an opening bid, it is expected there will be at least a game. As to how to define what constitutes an "opening bid," good luck to all of us!  Do we count HCP? Shape? Both? There is no easy answer.  A lot also depends on how light your partner opens the bidding. If he is opening every 11-count in creation, you don't want to force to game just because you have some ordinary 12-count.  Opposite a sound partner, you can take more liberties with your 2/1 responses.  Also, you need to use your judgment as to the degree of fit. For example, if partner opens1-of-a-major, would you force to game with this hand:

?Q J 3
?A Q 8 7
?Q J 8 4 2?

It was a trick question. You need to know which major partner opened. After his 1? opening, I'd gladly bid 2? and force to game. I have a wonderful hand in support of spades. However, after 1?, I'd content myself with 1NT (forcing). Picture partner with, say:

?A 7 6
?K J 8 7 5
?J 4 2
?K 3
, and where are we going?

Summary of Length and Strength for a 2? response to 1-of-a-Major Length: Usually at least 4 cards. Occasionally only 3 if stuck.

Strength: Approximately an opening bid, but take shape/support into account based on your fit.

QUIZ After partner's 1? opening, with which of these hands would you respond 2?? (answers below)

A) ?K 6
?A Q J 10
?7 6 5
?A Q 3 2

B) ?5
?A 4 3 2
?A Q 3 2
?A 9 8 7

C) ?A K
?A 6 4 2
?J 8
?Q J 9 8 2

D) ?A Q J 5
?5 4
?A 3 2
?A 7 6 4

E) ?--
?A 4 3 2
?K Q 7 6
?A K J 6 5

F) ?Q 2
?A K Q
?A 9 7
?A K J 9 8

G) ?K Q 2
?7 6
?7 6 2
?A Q J 9 8

H) ?5
?K Q 7 6
?Q 8 7
?K J 6 4 2


A) Yes  B) Yes  C) Yes  D) No (with 4-card trump support, use Jacoby 2NT or some Forcing Spade raise)
E) Yes  F) Yes   G) Yes  H) No (Not strong enough to force to game)

Next month we delve into opener's rebid after the 2? response.

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