Forcing Bids

        A bid is forcing if partner is absolutely not allowed to pass. There are three main categories of forcing bids:

 

        New-Suit Bids by Responder.    This is the most common forcing bid:

As long as neither partner has bid notrump, a new-suit bid by responder is always forcing.

For example, all of the following bids are forcing:

1 1
1 2
1 1 — 2 — 2
1 1 — 1 — 1
1 1 — 2 — 2

If responder has already bid 1NT, then a new-suit bid is not forcing, and should usually be passed:

1 — 1NT — 2 — 3:     Shows 6-10 HCP and 6 clubs (not forcing).

Similarly, if opener just bid notrump, then a new-suit bid by responder is just an escape:

1 — 1 — 1NT — 2:     Shows 4 clubs, 6-12 points, and an unbalanced hand (not forcing).

In such a situation, responder must make a jump-bid in a new suit to avoid losing the auction:

1 — 1 — 1NT — 3:     Shows 4 clubs and 12+ points (forcing).

NOTES:
        1.    Some pairs play New Minor Forcing or Checkback Stayman after a 1NT rebid to give responder a more convenient forcing bid.
        2.    If opener jumps in notrump (e.g. a 1 Notrump), then a new-suit bid by responder is forcing:

1 — 1 — 2NT — 3:     Shows 5 spades and 4 hearts (forcing).

 


        
Artificial Bids.    Any artificial bid is always forcing. For example:

1NT — 2:     Stayman (forcing).

You obviously cannot pass the 2 bid, since it does not say anything about clubs. Even if you have a beautiful 5-card club suit, responder may have a void!

 

 


        
Strong Bids.    A jump-shift by opener (showing 19+ points) is always forcing:

1 — 1 — 3:     Shows 4 clubs and 19-21 points (forcing).

Reverses are also forcing by either opener:

1 — 1 — 2:     Reverse showing 5 diamonds and 4 hearts (forcing).

or responder:

1 — 1 — 1NT — 2:     Reverse showing 5 hearts and 4 spades (forcing).


        Furthermore, many strong bids are forcing for more than one round. For example, a reverse by opener promises a rebid:

1 — 1 — 2 — 2:     Shows 5 spades (forcing since opener promised a rebid).

(Note that a bid of 4 would not be forcing. If responder bids game, opener's rebid should be pass.) Similarly, any jump bid by either partner in an uncontested auction promises a rebid (unless their partner passes or bids game).

        Finally, it should be noted that a 2 over 1 bid by responder (in a new suit) is forcing to 2NT. For example:

1 — 2 — 2:     Shows 4 hearts (forcing since it is below 2NT).

or:

1 — 2 — 2 — 2:     Shows heart support (forcing since it is below 2NT).