Two Over One Game Force
Two over One (2/1) is a new style of bidding (played all over the world, and now being taught to beginners too). It requires making a few changes to Standard. One area of the Standard system that lets players down is when opener bids one of a major (e.g. 1♥), and partner responds in their own suit at the two level, (e.g. 2♦, forcing) and opener makes a minimum rebid (e.g. 2♥ or 2NT). Is responder’s next bid passable, invitational or forcing? Who knows?
1♥ p 2♦ p or 1♥ p 2♣ p
2NT p 3♦ p ? 2♥ p 3♥ p?
Not many pairs have these bidding sequences worked out clearly, and it results in games being bid that should not have been, and vice versa, and slams being missed.
The areas that change in 2/1 are when opener starts with 1♦, 1♥ or 1♠, and responder (if they are an unpassed hand) must go to the two level to show their own suit, because it is ranked below opener's. NB: 2/1 doesn't happen over 1♣ openings, because you can always find a one-over-one response. (e.g. 1♣ p 1♠)
e.g. 1♦ p 2♣ or
1♥ p 2♣/2♦ or
1♠ p 2♣/2♦/2♥.
The responding ranges are:
Medium: 11 - 12
So instead of 1♥ p 2♦ being 10+ points (medium or better), in 2/1 it's 13+ (maximum). These responses are natural, showing four+ cards in the suit bid. And the response now forces to game, so that both opener and responder can relax and know they can bid slowly to game or slam.
There are many advantages of 2/1. Here are some:
(1) Simplifies bidding.
(2) Saves bidding space and allows you to slowly investigate two good hands. This applies especially to slams.
(3) Focuses on showing hand shapes before points.
(4) Eliminates the need to waste bidding space with strong jump shifts. Because 1♥ p 2♦ is an unlimited game force, there’s no need for 1♥ p 3♦ to show stronger hands.
The fact that these bids (1♦ p 2♣, 1♥ p 2♣/2♦, or 1♠ p 2♣/2♦/2♥) are game forcing allows both players to describe their hands without worrying about being dropped below game.
Describe Shape First:
Once opener has heard the 2/1 response, they describe their shape before their points, because there's no need to jump when you're both aware of being in a game forcing situation. This lesson is just an introduction to the basics, so we will examine this area further in a later lesson.
Areas you might find difficult at first:
There's no need to jump to the two level if you don't have to, e.g. 1♦ p 2♥/♠. This does not show an opening hand by responder. If you can bid 1♥/♠ then do it.
It’s only when you MUST go to the next level to show your suit, e.g. 1♥ p 2♦. (i.e. new suit at the two level without jumping).
So, I ♦ p 1♥/♠ may be 6 points but it may also be a strong hand. Because the change of suit is forcing anyway, you'll find the strength of the hand later. No 2/1 required here.
NB: So 2/1 does not apply at all when opener starts with 1♣ because responder is always able to bid something at the one-level.
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