Forcing 1 No Trump

A Must for Two Over One. As you can see in the Two Over One discussion, we don't respond at the two level without a hand that can assure game. There are many hands which can bid something, but can't raise an opening major suit or guarantee game. 

All such hands have to bid 1 NT, treating it as forcing one round -- opener cannot pass.

If responder has already passed, the question is, is 1NT   still forcing?

We play that it is NOT, but if opener does respond, he must do so using the rules for 1NT Forcing

Forcing 1 NT Situation: You hold any of these hands:

1 P ???
x x x
Qxx Kxxxxx xxx
KQxxx xx QJxx
Qxxx Axxx Kxxxx

In all these situations, and in many others, we respond 1 NT.

Forced Rebids.  Opener is then required to rebid using the following rules:   

1). Rebid a six a card major suit

2). Rebid any other 4 card suit, jumping with 18+

3). If neither of the above, bid the longer minor suit.

Responder often passes a rebid of a major, even if he holds only one trump, as opener has shown 6 trumps by rebidding them.

Sometimes, these rules will force opener to rebid with a 3 card minor suit.  But, bridge bidding isn't an exact science yet, so it's better than most alternatives.   (By using the Flannery Convention, some of these problems are avoided).

Strength. Forcing 1NT has the widest HCP range in the system -- 5 to 11 HCP. With 12+, we bid the Two Over One sequence, lacking a major suit fit.  (Remember that 1 /1 - P - 1NT sequence is not forcing).

Balancing Out. We do lose the ability to play 1NT, a desirable bid, using the one-round force over major suit openers.

However, experience shows that a major suit bidder often has a second suit to bid, and so the actual loss is not as great as you might imagine. This disadvantage is made up for by the ability of 1NT Forcing to bail out of terrible misfit hands at low levels, or even to invite the competition in to play in their terrible misfits !

Responder's Second and Later Rounds. A weakish Responder without a fit for opener's suit should usually pass a fit in a second four card suit, for example Clubs in the examples above. He will pass Diamonds in the first and third examples, and pass Clubs or correct to 2 Hearts in the second example.

Example Forcing 1NT Sequences

N        E         S        W

1         P         1NT*    P

2         P        P         P

South is happy with a 6 card Spade suit by North.

1        P         1NT*    P

2         P        2         P

South has a problem -- probably a weak diamond hand.  North should pass.

1        P         1NT*      P

2        P         3         P

South is bidding the Limit Raise.

1        P         1NT*         P

2NT    P        3NT           P

North is strong -- So is South, given a 17+ opener


1        P         1NT*         P

3        P         3NT

North has two good suits -- South chances 3 NT.

Two Card raises. Sometimes, we can use Forcing 1NT to offer a raise with just two trumps:

N          E         S        W

1?        P        1NT*    P     Forcing 1 round.

2        P         ???              What's right ?

Holding this hand, bid 2 Spades. :


Even with a 5 - 2 distribution it should be preferable to 2 Clubs, with  possibly a 3 - 3 holding.

N        E         S        W

1        P         1NT*    P         Forcing 1 round.

2        P         3                Showing a "limited" limit raise.

Opener may pass or bid on, knowing responders distribution has no singleton.