Two-Over-One GF -- Part 11 (Responder's Rebid)

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 11/01/2011
Level: Intermediate

PART 11 (Responder's Second Bid)  

In general, 2/1 GF bidders use the Principle of Fast Arrival. This means that "going to game" is the weakest action for either player.  Going slowly could be a sign of slam interest. For example, consider these two auctions:


1? 2?
 2? 4?


compared to:


1? 2?
 2? 3?


On the first auction, Responder is announcing a minimum. The jump to 4? ("Fast Arrival") is saying, in effect, "Partner, I know what suit we are playing in, and I really don't want to leave any room for slam exploration. Because I have a minimum, and don't wish to have any more dialogue, I am placing the contract in 4?."  Note: Opener might have other ideas. He could possibly have a 20-count; he was always driving to slam after the 2/1--now he has learned responder has a minimum with spade support--he can still use RKC or bid 6? if he knows what he is doing.

What might responder's jump to 4? look like? How about: ?K Q 2

?A Q 10 8 7
?10 4
? J 4 2
. Responder had enough for his 2/1 GF bid of 2?, and upon hearing partner's 2?, a jump to 4? showed his spade support and minimum hand. Note: Some 2/1 players use "picture bids." This means that the auction we are focused on (2/1 then a jump to game in opener's first suit) specifically shows that all the main high cards (pictures) are in the two suits named. However, my preference is to play these jumps to show any minimum, and can be made with, say: ?J 5 4
?A K 8 7 6
?K 5 4
?Q 2

What might the "Slow arrival" raise to 3? (as in 1?-2?-2?-3?) look like? First of all, here is a very important rule for ALL RESPONDER'S REBIDS in 2/1 AUCTIONS:

When responder's second bid is a raise of opener's major, he is guaranteeing at least 3-card support. The "preference" is never made on a doubleton.

So, even if opener has promised a six-card suit, responder should not raise with a doubleton. Repeat: The auction goes:


 1 MAJ 2/1 GF bid
 any rebid MAJ raise

The raise (on any level) by Responder is never a doubleton.


So, back to 1?-2?-2?-3?:  The 3? bid guarantees at least three-card support.  AND--shows extras. With a dead minimum, responder would have "signed off" in 4?. So, 3? could show something like either of these two hands.


?K 4 2
?A Q 8 7 6
?A 2
?K 3 2



?J 10 8
?A K Q 8 7
?Q 2
?A Q 2

Opener will know that responder has "extras," and opener can cooperate by making a control-bid, or by using RKC if everything is under control. Note that responder's first job is to set trump (with the 3? bid) and then slam exploration (usually via control-bidding) can begin. If responder were "talking," he would be saying, "Partner--I am supporting your spades and at the same time, keeping the auction low so we can explore for slam--maybe you want to make a control-bid for me."

What if Responder doesn't have three-card support for opener's major? In that case, he can't support opener. He can do any of the following:

1) Bid notrump with a flat hand and everything stopped

2) Repeat his own suit (typically showing 6+ cards)

3) Bid a new 4+ card suit

4) Punt (sort of a joke -- but sometimes, responder will be stuck and have to invent a bid on the fly--but, 98% of the time, he will have an easy natural bid to make).

Examples of "other" hands without 3-card major support:


 1?  2?
 2?  ??


?K 8
?K J 7
?K 8 7
?A J 10 8 7
 rebid 2NT

?Q 7
?8 7 6
?K 2
?A Q J 10 9 2
rebid 3?

?A 7
?5 4 2
?A Q 2
?A 10 8 7 6
rebid 3? (I don't like raising the second suit on 3, but it is the least of evils).

If responder jumps to game in his own suit (for example, 1?-2?-2NT-4?) that is also a "sign-off." It shows a minimum under the principle of Fast Arrival.

What about jumps to 3NT (by either player)? Last month, I touched on the subject. If you wish to keep things simple, you can play that if anyone jumps to 3NT it is a sign-off (minimum). That would be the consistent way of system building. However, most experts actually invert the fast-arrival principle when it comes to jumping to 3NT. (It's not desirable to jump to 3NT and preclude further investigation of the correct game contract.  Still, for this roughly intermediate-level series, I'd hate to recommend fast arrival on some auctions but not on others.) Summary of fast arrival: All jumps to game are weak actions. If you and your partner wish to invert the meanings for jumps to 3NT, that is a slightly better way to play it, but involves extra memory.


What should responder rebid after 1?-2?-2?-??

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

B) ?K 3 2
?A 5 4
?A 2
?K Q J 8 7

C) ?5
?A 2
?K Q 4 3
?A 7 6 5 4 2

D) ?8 7
?K J 5
?K J 7
?A J 7 6 4

E) ?K 7 6
?A 2
?Q 5
?K J 8 7 6 3


A) 2? Natural. There is no "artificial 4th suit GF" since you are already in a GF. Just describe your hand.

B) 2? Promising three-card support (denying a dead minimum).

C) 3?. Support with support--the most natural thing you can do with this hand.

D) 3NT. You have stoppers and a flat notrump hand. (In this series, we are playing the simple way, where the jump to game shows a minimum--even though it is slightly not the best way). If not using "fast-arrival" here, then bid 2NT.

E) 4?. Showing three-card support and a minimum. (Partner can still bid on with a 20-count or the like).

What should responder rebid after 1?-2?-2?-??

F) ?4 3
?A Q 2
?A Q J 8 6
?Q J 4

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

H) ?J 4
?J 5 4
?K Q J 10 8 7
?A J


F) 3?. Showing three-card support and extras ("Partner--I'm interested in bigger things--and leaving room.")

G) 2?. Natural, Partner might be 6-4 in the majors.  Just describe your hand for now. Don't rush to bid notrump.

H) 4?. Three-card support and a minimum ("Partner--I'm not interested in talking any more.")


Next Month -- We wrap up the year-long series with a summary.

Larry's 2/1 Workbook

BMS 2/1 Webinars by Michael Berkowitz

 Larry's impromptu Audio talk about 2/1 to the ABTA