Forcing Club System

Outline of the System

Opening Bids

  • One club is artificial and the only strong, forcing opening bid.
  • All other opening bids, except one notrump, are in the range of 11-15 HCP
  • The opening bid of one diamond may be a singleton diamond.
  • The opening bid of two diamonds may be played several different ways.
  • The opening bid of two clubs shows at least a five card club suit.
  • The recommended range for one notrump is 14-16 HCP, but any range can be used.
  • Opening two notrump describes a hand with both minors.


    Opener Bids One Club
    The first response is an artificial step bid showing the number of controls held by responder. A king is one control, and an ace is two.
    Note:   The first two responses are considered Negative bids.
    The other responses are positive and are game forcing.  After a positive response you never need to jump in the bidding.
          1    0/1 control  
          1    2 controls    Either an ace or two kings
          1    3 controls,    Specifically an ace and a king
          1NT    3 controls    Specifically three kings
          2    4 controls    etc

            Opponents Overcall
            Opponents are sometimes in our auction and won't leave us
            alone, so what do we do then? We go to plan B.

    Subsequent Bidding After the Initial Response to One Club
    After a start of one club and the artificial control showing response, all other rebids are natural.  Opener's second bid either indicates a five card suit or a balanced hand.

            If opener's second bid is notrump at any level, it shows a balanced
            hand.   Responder can use Stayman, Jacoby transfers or Gerber after
            such a rebid.
            Note:   When the response to the opening bid is negative, which is
            either one diamond or one heart, opener's rebid of one notrump
            limits her hand to 18-20 HCP and may be passed.  However, a jump
    in notrump by opener should indicate 21+ HCP.
            After a positive response, opener has no need to jump to show extra

            If the opener rebids a major suit showing at least five, responder
            should immediately raise with support.  Lacking support, responder
            may either bid a new suit showing five, or rebid notrump.  The notrump
            bid does not promise stoppers, but simply denies support and also
            denies a five card suit.

            When responder has given a positive answer to the initial club bid,
            such as one spade or higher, there is no need for a jump bid, which
            means the bidding can be kept low during the rest of the auction.
            If opener jumps after a negative response, it should be treated as an
            absolutely Game Forcing Bid.  (Approximately 23+ HCP.)

    Opener Bids One Diamond
    Although the opening bid is not conventional it might be only a singleton.   For that reason it should be treated as semi-forcing.  Responder should not pass with a weak hand and fewer than four diamonds.  Responder might be forced to bid a three card major in such a case.

    Opener Bids a Major
    Standard bidding responses can be used when partner opens a major.   An exception is that responder does not need to keep the bidding open with a poor fit and only 6-8 HCP.  (Remember, opener's hand is limited to 15 points maximum.)

    Opener Bids One Notrump
    Again, all of the standard responses are used.  You can use Jacoby transfer bids or Stayman.

    Opener Bids Two Clubs
    Opener has promised a least five clubs with 11-15 HCP, but may also have a four card major. Responder can initiate a game force by bidding two diamonds.   Further discussion can be found here: Two Clubs

    Opener Bids Two Diamonds
    There are several ways to use this bid, so you and your partner will have to decide.  Here are three suggested methods, but the one with the highest frequency is the third choice, natural with no four card major:
  • Both Majors - 10+ HCP
  • Mini-Roman - 4441 Pattern with 10+ HCP
  • Natural - With a Major Suit Weakness

  • Opener Bids Two Hearts or Two Spades
    Some things just have to remain the same.   These bids are standard Weak Twos.  You can use a 2NT response to ask for a feature, such as an outside ace or king.  Most players will only show a feature if they do not have a minimum hand.

    When your partner opens a weak two hearts or spades, there are times you will have a big hand.   Don't use Blackwood with those hands.  Use 4 as Gerber instead.  You might be able to stay one level lower than the competition if there are not enough aces to reach slam.

    If you want to be even more sophisticated, use a response of 3 to ask opener how many of the top three honors she has in the major suit she opened.
            3 = 0 Honors
            3 = 1 Honors
            3 = 2 Honors
            3N = 3 Honors

    Opener Bids Two Notrump
    Another fun bid - this one promises both minors with at least 10+ HCP.  If partner just responds three of a minor, consider it non-forcing and pass.  But if partner jumps in one of your suits it's invitational and you can accept with 14 or more points.

    What if partner doesn't choose a minor, but instead bids three of a major?  Here's how to handle that.   If you have opened with 5-5 in the minors and have two or three in partner's suit, then by all means raise her! If you can't raise partner's suit, don't go pass 3NT.   Let partner make that decision.  When you rebid 3NT you are simply denying two-card support for partner's major - You are not promising a stopper in the other major.  Partner may think 3NT is the best contract and let you play there.

    Opener Bids at the Three Level
    It's a preempt, right?   Well, when was the last time you wanted to bid 4 as a natural bid over your partner's preemptive opening?   Hello.  It's Gerber.  Don't use Blackwood when partner makes a premptive bid.

         Gerber is used to ask for aces over notrump bids and preempts.

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