Lesson 6 -- After the 1Suit Opening and Response.

After the first round of the auction, then it is opener's turn to bid again, and possibly responder will have to bid again. The first and foremost problem is telling which bids are forcing and which aren't.

Which Bids are Forcing

Some bids are not forcing. These are any bid where responder has put an upper limit on the number of points he has. The following bids by responder are Not Forcing : On the other hand, a suit change or a jump raise is forcing. The Jump raise is forcing to game, and Any new suit by an unpassed responder is 100% forcing for one round. (A passed responder has put an upper limit of 12 HCP on his hand, and so may be passed if opener has an absolute minimum, but they are still considered a semi-forcing bid).

Opener's Rebid opposite a non-forcing bid

If responder has made a bid in NT, opener should be able to tell if there is or isn't a game (presumably in NT). If opener has a balanced hand that expects a game to make, bid 3NT. If you don't expect game to make, pass. If you aren't sure (over a 1NT response) bid 2NT and ask partner if he is at the top of the range or at the bottom.

If partner gave you a single raise, you are allowed to re-evaluate your hand and add 3 for each void, 2 for each doubleton and 1 for each singleton (and another point for each extra trump). If you have 16 or less HCP after that evaluation, you should probably pass. If you have an invitational hand, however, you should bid a good second suit. If you can count that you have enough points for game (typically if you have 19-20), you should just bid the game (4M or 3NT for minor suits, if you have everything stopped).

Opener's Rebid opposite a forcing response

If responder made a forcing bid, then your response depends on your hand strength.

Opener has a weak hand

If you have a weak hand (13-16) points, you should:
  1. make a simple raise of partner's suit if you have support (enough to bring the total to 8),
  2. rebid a 6 card or longer suit,
  3. bid a new 4+ card suit, if you don't go up a level, or
  4. Bid NT as cheaply as possible.
The order is an approximate priority, unless partner's suit is a minor and your suit is a major. Note that you may bid NT with an unbalanced hand, in order to avoid raising the level by bidding a new suit.

Opener has a strong hand

If you have 17-20 HCP, you should:
  1. Jump Raise your partner's suit if you have support,
  2. Double Jump Raise partner's 1M response to 4M if you have 20+ HCP (after adding in distribution).
  3. Reverse.
  4. Jump Rebid your suit,
  5. bid a new 4+ card suit cheaply, or jump bidding it if you have 19+ HCP. If you jump bid your suit should be a very good 4 card suit or 5+,
  6. Jumping in NT with 19-20 (the 1 and 1/2 NT opening).
As above, the order is an approximate priority. You should not jump bid NT with an unbalanced hand.


When you bid two suits, and your partner has to raise the level to get back to your first suit, you have reversed. This shows 17+ HCP. Note that if you open 1D and partner bids 1S and you bid 2H, that is a reverse, because partner would have to go to the 3 level to support you. In a case like this, you must hide your 4 card heart suit.
Bidding after a passed hand's semi-forcing response.
This is the same as above, but you may also pass with a fit and an absolute minimum or with a poor fit and no good bid.

Responder's rebids

As above, the trick is to determine what bids are forcing. Unlike responder, most of opener's bids aren't forcing. Forcing bids are: If opener bids a new suit at the two-level, it is considered semi-forcing if you bid a suit at the one level (ie, forcing unless you have a bare 6-7 points) and is usually played as forcing if you bid at the 2 level (in a new suit).

Here are some guidelines for responder's rebids and the following rounds of an auction: