Wednesday, July 05, 2006 1:58 AM

Forcing Pass- Major Games




          Reviewing the Vanderbilits , Spingolds and World championships for the last 25 years, One horrible Bridge flaw occurs time and time again in competitive auctions. Leaping to game in a major with a strong hand by either partner ! This is an ambiguous bid and does not turn on forcing passes. When the opponents bid again , partner is poorly placed and has no idea what is going on.


          Here is an example from the Vanderbilt. Partner opens 1♣ and you bid 1on

 ♠A 10987x AJ10 ♣Q10xx and partner bids 2 and RHO vul vrs not,  doubles . What do you do ? In my mind you have game in hearts but you should tell partner you “own this auction” by redoubling. The player leapt to 4 nv vrs vul and when they bid 4 partner did not think forcing passes were on so he passed. This player thought he had a two suited fit,  so he bid 5 and got doubled and went down one. Lose 12 IMPS.


Partner had a real dog who with forcing pass theory would have doubled 4 in a flash.

♠Qx KQJx Qx ♣KJ98x  4X goes 2 down for +500 with an outside chance of +800 . When you do not turn on forcing passes , high level decision become a guessing game.


          When partner overcalls and you have a good hand , do not jump to a major game . Q bid first,  to turn on forcing passes , as this is a competitive auction. They may bid again so be kind to partner and clue her in . Some people play that jumping to a vulnerable game turns on forcing passes but I do not buy it. Why are you in such a hurry ? BJ Trelford likes jumping to vul games to make because he wants to jam nv opponents out of their sacrifice. However , you do get dealt distributional hands suitable for a pre-emptive leap to game vul . How do you tell the difference ? Q bidding first makes sense to me and let them find their sacrifice. At least we are prepared for it with forcing pass theory.


          Jumping to game opposite a T/O double needs discussion. I think this should always be interpreted as a shot and not done with a good hand. A courtesy Q bid first , to tell partner you own the auction and then leap to game. Now forcing passes are turned on. In this specific T/O double auction , there is a case to be made that a leap to a vul game vrs nv opponents automatically turns on forcing passes. Frankly I feel jumping to game with a good hand , throws partner off in a number of ways. She may not have a shape T/O double and was counting on equal level conversion to get out. She does not know whether you are making a tactical or pre-emptive bid so slams will be missed. What is the hurry if you have a good hand ? If there are no opponents in the auction , a jump to game means that you can make it. Not so in a competitive auction ,  as the bid may be an advance sacrifice or a plain tactical bid. Partner must be informed of the difference somehow.


          In summary , there should be a blanket rule that jumps to game in a major should never be strong in any instance. Inform partner immediately via a XX or Q bid that you own the auction for forcing pass purposes. This is very important playing D.S.I.P. theory because if forcing pass theory does not apply , D.S.I.P. theory does so you can no longer double for penalty !!