Lesson 1: Two Over One Game Force

Two Over One Game Force, or 2/1 for short, is a bidding style that has improved the Standard (American) system. It’s based on Standard and is a five-card major approach. However, when opener has started with 1♦ or 1♥ or 1, and responder, in order to show their own (lower-ranked) suit, bids at the two level, they promise enough strength to force to at least game. Here are all the auctions where 2/1 applies:

  • 1♦ p 2♣. Game-forcing. Natural, showing at least four clubs, and at least opening strength (10 points are not enough). 
  • 1♥ p 2♣/2♦ Game-forcing. Natural, showing at least four clubs or diamonds, and at least opening strength.  
  • 1♠ p 2♣/2♦/2♥ Game-forcing. Natural, showing at least four clubs or diamonds, or five hearts, and opening+ strength.

2/1 doesn’t happen over 1openings, because it’s always possible to respond at the one-level.  If partner opened 1and you held K10642 A10 AQ65 108, you would simply respond 1showing four+ spades and 6+ points. You have made an unlimited and forcing bid. There was no reason to go to the two-level by bidding 2. Nor does 2/1 affect your major suit raises such as Bergen, Jacoby 2NT, Splinters. Constructive and obstructive raises apply as normal.

More descriptive auctions: The 2/1 style is more effective and easier than Standard because it’s good to know when you’re in a game forcing auction. 

ʽSystem off’ in competition: What happens if the opponents bid, e.g., 1- 2♣ (overcall) - 2? Now 2is a one round force only - it simply shows a good five+ card suit and 10+ HCP.

Opener’s Rebids: After a 2/1 sequence such as 1- p - 2, opener shows shape rather than strength. The bidding won’t stop below game and strength can be shown later. The same applies to responder.

How Does 2/1 Help to Locate Slams? Having slower auctions gives both opener and responder more room to agree a suit and to try for slam via cue bidding and then Blackwood.