Does the "forced response to a new suit" concept apply to both the partner and the opening bidder during the course of bidding, assuming both have adequate point count to bid to game?

For example,
1. Opening bidder bids 1♥,
2. partner responds 1♠ (new suit = forcing),
3. opener responds 2♣ (new suit = forcing),
4. partner responds 2♦ (new suit = forcing),
5. opener responds 2NT (inviting),
6. partner bids 3NT,
7. The contract is made.

Does this bidding sequence accurately depict forced response as applicable to both opener and partner?

3 Answers 3


This answer should not be limited to Goren only, but should be a general guideline to most natural systems.

Whether a bid is forcing or not depends on whether the bidder (or sometimes his partner) is limited or not. In your example:

  1. 1S is forcing because responder has not a chance to show his strength yet. He can have a massive hand waiting to be shown on the next few rounds.
  2. For most pairs, 2C is not forcing, since opener is in some sense limited: he did not make a forcing opening, and he did not jump shift when given the chance to. Responder has the right to pass this bid if he decides 2C is the most suitable contract at that time.
  3. 2D is forcing, be it natural or artificial, again because responder's hand is still unlimited. Opener is bound to keep the bidding open.

Therefore the general rule is that responder's new suit bid is forcing due to an unlimited hand. For opener's non-jump suit bid, it is not forcing since his hand is limited, but this is still subject to partnership agreement.

  • Good answer - but I would add that (1) Responder should raise 2C to 3C with 4-card support and 10+ supporting points; and (2) Responder should prefer back to 2H with 6-9 supporting points and no preference between Hearts and Clubs. Nov 27, 2018 at 23:28

Generally 2c (new suit by opener) is played as non-forcing.


In the above sequence, the first response, 1s is forcing, since it is not a "limit" bid. Responder may have a "1 over 1" bid of 6-9 points, but may also have a 10-12 hand with which s/he would have bid two of a minor if the best suit were a minor instead of spades. 1NT is non-forcing because it strictly limits the responder to 6-9 points.

The responder's second bid, 2d, is forcing, if you are playing "fourth suit forcing" as most players do, nowadays. Responder is saying, I need a third chance to fully describe my hand.

The openers rebid (third bid), 2c, is not forcing. Opener has bid two suits, failed to raise the responder's suit, spades, and doesn't like NT, even with responder's spade bid. The opener implies a hand that is limited in some way (probably weak diamonds). Responder can pass if the third suit (clubs) is reasonably suitable for play (xxxx, or Kxx or Axx in responder's hand). There is a potential misfit unless the responder can cover diamonds, and an alternative contract might be worse. With two little hearts, and weak clubs, responder should go back to two hearts.

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