Thursday, December 30, 2010

Forcing or Not

Had an interesting situation come up in our weekly IMPS game yesterday. My partner and I had an lively discussion on whether this auction was forcing or not, I thought it definetely was, he did not. No one vul, you open 1S and it goes 4H on your left. Partner bids 4S and it goes 5H on your right, is a pass forcing or not?

My contention after the fact was that since the opps had pre-empted, and we had bid a game over it, we by force came into a forcing auction. Otherwise, there is no real intelligent way to try to bid. And it will not be the first time I have given up -550 for 5H doubled making. But what are your thoughts, since 4S can be made on a very wide variety of hands, does my first comment apply, should this become a forcing pass auction?
The hand worked out, since I had a small doubleton Heart, I assumed partner had a singleton and a good hand. I bid 5S and partner was able to claim quickly, even though he did have a doubleton Heart as well and had thought the pass was not forcing, since we were not vul and I had not shown a strong hand in bidding 4S.
Not really sure what is best with my hand after 5H P P back to me. I had Q53 76 AJ94 KJT6. If partner has anything like a good hand with short Hearts, 6 might even be right, but I was worried if he thought it was a forcing pass situation, so decided to bid 5S, hoping for 2 things, get a discussion going on what is a forcing pass situation, and not insult partner if he had intended it as a forcing pass :)


  1. Shouldn't you say "Partner opens 1S and it goes 4H on my right. I bid 4S and it goes 5H on my left. If partner passes, should I treat that bid as forcing?"
    I think, No, but I'm not sure what difference IMPs makes. Since you are the one who bid 4S, you are the one who should judge whether it was bid to make, or bid to compete.
    The advice "the 5 level belongs to the opponents" can only be a general rule. There must always be occasions when you should break it.

  2. The Key to forcing passes is that your side has declared "ownership" of the hand. In this case the 4S bid has such a wide range - bidding to make - bidding as a sacrifice, that partner's Pass is not forcing. Of course partner can bid or X to express an opinion - but pass is non-forcing

  3. I agree with the 2nd anonymous comment.

    Suppose it went 1S 3H 4S, now that's different. The 4S bid usually shows around the values for a LR, so subsequent actions are forcing. (It shows values because you can't jump to 4S with 5 trumps and a singleton etc. like you might if there was an intervening pass - can't preempt over a preempt).

    In this case, 4s could be anything. I will add, however, that many players agree with you (instead of me). It's a controversial area that is not well-defined.

    P.S. Good to meet you in Orlando - see you in Louisville.