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What Do You MEAN when You Say You Play 2-Over-1?

previously published by author 

2 over 1 game forcing (2/1) has become the tournament standard bidding method.  When you and your partner agree to play 2/1, have you discussed what you really mean by that agreement?  Within the framework of 2/1, so many variations exist that failure to address even the main variations is likely to produce some serious partnership misunderstandings.

Here is a list of follow up questions for you and your partner to discuss to limit the effect of misunderstandings from the meanings of common 2/1 auctions:

  • Do high reverses promise extra values?  If opener is dealt AQJxx, xx, Kx, QJxx, opens 1, and hears a game forcing 2 response, does a 3 rebid fall within your partnership agreements?  Some partnerships would say “yes”; others would say “no”, requiring an extra value hand – say AKJxx, xx, Kx, KJxx – for a 3 rebid.
  • Do low reverses promise extra values?  If opener is dealt AQxx, xx, KJxxx, Kx, opens 1, and hears a game forcing 2 response, does a 2 rebid fall within your partnership agreements?  Some partnerships would say “yes”; others would say “no”, requiring an extra value hand – say AKxx, xx, AJxxx, Kx – for a 2 rebid.
  • Does opener’s rebid 2 of the opened major with only five card length fall within your partnership’s agreements?  If opener is dealt xx, AQJxx, Kxx, Kxx, opens 1, and hears a game forcing 2 response, does a 2 rebid fall within your partnership agreements?  Some partnerships would say “yes”, focusing on both the absence of a spade stopper for a 2NT rebid and the absence of extra values for a 3 raise; others would say “no”, focusing on the absence of a sixth heart for a 2 rebid, and on either the balanced nature of the hand for choosing a 2NT rebid or the club support for choosing a 3 raise.
  • Do jumps to game in a bid suit promise a specific minimum or any minimum?  If responder bids 2 in response to opener’s 1 opening and hears opener rebid 2, does responder’s bid of 4 on Qxx, AQxxx, Axx, Jx fall within your partnership agreements?  Some partnerships would say “yes”, citing “fast arrival”; other partnerships would say “no” limiting the 4 rebid to hands without controls in the unbid suits, such as AQx, AQJxx, xxx, xx, citing “picture bidding”.!
  • Do jumps to game in notrump promise extra values?  If responder bids 2 in response to opener’s 1 opening, and hears opener rebid 2, does a jump to 3NT on KJx, Kx, Jxx, AJxxx fall within your partnership agreements?  Some partnerships would say “yes”, citing “fast arrival”; other partnerships would say “no”, reserving the 3NT rebid for an extra value hand of, say KQx, Kx, Qxx, AQxxx.
  • Does responder’s 2 level bid in the opened major promise at least three card support?  If responder is dealt Kx, xx, AJx, AJxxxx, responds 2 to a 1 opening bid, hears opener rebid 2, does a 2 bid by responder fall within your partnership agreements?  Some partnerships would say “yes”, focusing on the absence of a heart stopper and the presence of a ruffing value; some partnerships would say “no”, rebidding 3 and focusing on the absence of a third spade.

Take the time to discuss the questions above with your partner, and you will find that the added definition to your newly agreed style of 2/1 will limit your partnership’s misunderstandings.

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