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2/1 Game Forcing

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Title: 2/1 Game Forcing  
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Subject: Glossary of contract bridge terms, Bridge World Standard, Forcing notrump, Reverse (bridge), Precision Club
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2/1 Game Forcing

2/1 game forcing (Two-over-one game forcing) is a bidding system in modern contract bridge structured around the following responses to a one-level opening bid:

  1. a non-jump response in a new suit at the one-level is constructive and forcing for one round,
  2. a non-jump response in a new suit at the two-level is forcing to game, and
  3. a 1NT response is forcing for one round and indicates insufficient values to immediately commit to game or bid a suit at the one-level.[1]

The 2/1 game force does not apply to responses by a passed hand, or if there is an intervening call by an opponent. Other responses are as per Standard American methods in accordance with partnership agreement.


  • Game forcing auctions 1
    • Variations 1.1
  • 1NT response 2
  • Other features 3
  • Examples 4
  • References 5
    • Notes 5.1
    • Bibliography 5.2

Game forcing auctions

The 2/1 auctions are: 1–2, 1–2, 1–2, 1–2, 1–2, and 1–2.


The following variations may be made by partnership agreement:

  • Some play that 1–2 is not game forcing
  • Some play that 2/1 is not absolutely game forcing and the pair can stop below game when responder rebids his suit. For example, 1–2; 2–3 may be treated as nonforcing.

1NT response

Because the two-level responses are stronger than in Standard American bidding, the response of 1NT is forcing for one round and is used (among other things) for weaker hands containing low-ranking suits. Since the 1NT response is forcing, hands with a three-card limit raise can start with 1NT and later jump-support partner. See Forcing notrump for additional details. Some pairs play a variant in which the 1NT response to 1 or 1 is semi-forcing.

Since opener has been forced to rebid on hands which he might otherwise have passed, he may have to rebid in a new suit with only three or even two cards.

Other features

Use of the 2/1 system usually implies (at least) the following additional agreements:


1 – 2
2 – 2
Forcing to game, with original spade support and good club suit. This is different from standard bidding, in which such a sequence would show about 10 points, and club suit could be semi-fake.

1 – 2
2 – 2NT.
Forcing to game, with balanced hand and a good club suit.

1 – 2
2 – 3
Forcing, unless the partnership has agreed that this is an exception to the "2/1 rule."

1 – 2
Forcing for one round only (as in Standard American), except in the variant of 2/1 where this sequence is game forcing as well.

1 – 2
Forcing for one round; 10 points or more with at least four clubs.

1 – 3
Weak; 9 points or less—sometimes much less—with at least five clubs.

1 – 2
Weak; 6-9 points with at least 3 hearts (unless Bergen raises are in use, in which case it shows precisely 3 hearts)

1 – 1NT;
2 – 2
Shows a weak hand, 6-9 points, with precisely two spades. Some also use this for an extremely weak hand (0-5) with three spades.

1 – 1NT;
2 – Pass
Shows a very weak hand, perhaps 5-7 points, with at least four clubs.

1 – 1NT;
2 – 2
Shows a weak hand, 5-9 points, with a long diamond suit.

1 – 1NT;
2 – 2
Shows a weak hand, 5-9 points, with a long heart suit.

1 – 1NT;
2 – 3
Shows a weak hand, 5-9 points, with a long club suit.

1 – 1NT;
2 – 2NT;
Shows 10-11 points without support for spades.

1 – 1NT;
2 – 3
Shows 10-11 points with 3-card support for spades.

1 – 3
Shows 10-11 points with at least 4-card support for spades.

1 – 1NT;
2 – 3
Shows 10-11 points with a long heart suit.

1 – 2
This is a jump response, and there are different ways of handling it. In Standard American, such a "jump shift" shows a very strong hand and is unequivocally forcing. However, since such hands do not occur with great frequency, it is more common today to use such a bid to show a weak hand with a long suit, unsuitable for defense. Another possibility is to play it as a "fit-showing jump", showing 8-10 points, a decent heart suit, and good diamond support.



  1. ^ Grant and Rodwell (2009), page 1.


  • Hardy, Max (2000). Standard Bridge Bidding for the 21st Century. SQueeZe Books.  
  • Hardy, Max (2002). Advanced Bridge Bidding for the 21st Century. SQueeZe Books.  
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