A conventional and forcing 2NT after 1♥-1♠-2♥

Bridge bidding article

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“In this new section, BeBRIDGE magazine wishes to share the innovations that are made in high level competition bridge when it comes to bidding. My goal will therefore be to relay the work of bridge experts/researchers and give you my version of what I find.” – Wilfried Libbrecht

One of the situations:

bridge bidding

🎓 Let me remind you the standard system:

2NT shows a hand of 10-11HCP with stoppers in the minors and no interest in a Heart contract, even though opener has promised six Hearts.

Repeating Spades, even with a jump, is non-forcing. 2♠ shows six cards and 6-10HCP (10HCP if the Spades are of poor quality). 3♠ shows 10-11HCP and six good Spades.

Supporting Hearts at the three-level is an invitation to game and guarantees 10-11HCP and two Hearts.

1) Disadvantages of the classic system

As you have just seen, none of the Heart raises and none of the Spade repetitions are forcing. This results in many problems:

•  It’s impossible to start a cue-bidding sequence to explore for slam with Hearts as trumps since 3♥ and 4♥ are non-forcing.

•  Difficulties exploring a Spade fit, whether in the range for game or slam.

What must responder do when he wants to make the situation forcing? He is forced to bid a new suit. He will therefore bid a minor at the three-level. The bidding is therefore going relatively high and you haven’t even given vital information about your distribution or your Heart fit:

• How will you set Hearts as trumps over a possible 3♠ when it goes 1♥-1♠-2♥-3♣-3♠?

• How can you tell opener if you want to play a slam in Hearts or Spades over a possible 3NT bid when it goes 1♥-1♠-2♥-3♦-3NT?

I guess you have faced the plethora of those issues before. We will offer you the solution. The price to pay? Forgo the natural 2NT bid. This is not an excessive cost when opener guarantees six cards (it is by the way for this reason that you can use the same principle after 1♦-1♥-2♦, but then it is less indispensable), since you can pass with no hard feelings when you have 10 or 11HCP and a singleton Heart.

2) Presentation of our innovation

As you start to understand, you will use this 2NT bid, which has become conventional and forcing, with all game forcing hands or better that have hope for a slam in Hearts or with one-suiters in Spades with which you want to play in game or higher.

But you can also use this bid with 4-1-4-4 hands with four small cards in a minor …

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