Bridge Chestnut 7 - "A new suit at the three level is forcing."

Most pairs play this chestnut as true – except ……….

The reasoning is based on the fact that three level bids occupy a lot of space. To play them as non-forcing makes for “tortured” auctions when you would like a sequence to be forcing. e.g.

1 - 2 - 3

Here, the opposition have made a weak jump overcall, cramping our bidding space. Of course, there are hands where responder is long in clubs and very weak. With those hands, you would like to be able to bid 3C for partner to pass. However, there are a great many other hands where you will be unsure of the final contract and need more information from opener. Hence, most pairs play the 3C above as forcing.

(2) - 3

This time, you have overcalled their weak 2S bid. You are showing the values for a solid overcall at the two level. Partner will have to decide whether to bid or not.

1 - (P) - 1 - (P)
3 - (P) - ?

Here, opener is showing a strong red hand, probably 5-5. Responder is obliged to find a bid – return to 3, 3 (six carder), 3NT(must have clubs stopped) or bid 4.

1 - (P) - 1 - (P)
2 - (P) - 3 - (P)

Here, opener is obliged to find another bid. Yes, he may feel that he has described his hand already. However, responder hasn’t had enough yet!

(1) - X - (P) - 3
(P) - ?

It would require a specific agreement to be able to pass this jump response. Most pairs play it as forcing for one round.

(1) - X - (2) - 3
(P) ?

Most pairs would not play 3 as forcing here. 3 is simply showing a response to partner’s double. The 3 is probably about 5 – 9 HCP with five clubs.

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