2007-09-17 02:26

Forcing Pass - Free Bid




            Back in the 1950’s , the concept of a “free bid” was introduced. If you had values or extra values ( if you opened ) , you bid “freely” . In other words , nobody put a gun to your head to bid. Over time , this concept became virtually extinct as Bridge became  a bidders game so you bid to show your distribution rather than pass. Some people bid to show that they paid their card fees & nothing more . Conventions like the “good-bad” 2NT were invented to bring back the concept of “free bids” at the 3 level.


            I think the concept of “free bids’ should still exist but at the 4 level & higher. A pass means you do not have anything & a free bid means you do . Wow , what a concept ! We are going to extend this free bid concept a little further & say a free bid into game turns on forcing passes !!  There are many clues to determine whether your side owns the auction. The strength of your bidding 2/1 etc , you vul & they not , they have pre-empted nv & you are vul etc. The concept of a free bid into game , should say that your side owns this auction & turn on forcing passes.


A Tormentee held this hand against Tom & I . ♠AQxx AQxxx AJx ♣x  , Tom opened 1♣ everyone vul & the Tormentee doubled. I pre-empted to 4♣  & the Tormentee’s partner freely bid game at 4♠. Tom upped the ante to 5♣ so what is your forcing pass decision ? Some would consider this hand worth a pass & pull slam try in that you control every suit in the deck. A 5 or 5 bid is ambiguous , as it could mean that you were just too strong to overcall originally. We feel your only forcing pass options are bidding 5♠, a pass planning to leave in the double and finally pass & pull.  The tormentee’s partner was 6-6 in spades & diamonds so if the spade king was onside +1430 in spades would make.


The Tormentees partner would decline any slam invites as she held ♠J1098xx void K109876 ♣x . With a club void , she would accept the invite & 7 would be a possibility .

I feel if both sides were nv , a free bid into game should also turn on forcing passes.  What about a free bid nv vrs vul , should that bid turn on forcing passes ? I think since RHO has pre-empted , forcing passes should be turned on this vulnerability also. This applies to this hand only.


            The context of the bidding turns on forcing passes. If RHO showed some values & we were on the “terrorist vulnerability” , forcing passes are not turned on . You could be just bidding freely as an advanced sacrifice or generally messing with their auction. On the terrorist vulnerability , you have to very certain you own the auction  before forcing passes are turned on.