Bridge & other card games/Forcing Bid


In a recent discussion/lesson the following bidding sequence was taught that the overcaller's partner, when changing overcaller's suit, makes a forcing bid by biding his new suit.  Is it true?
EX.:  1 D -- 1 H -- Pass -- 1 S.  
Is the 1S bid forcing?  If so why?
Thanks for all your great answers!


There are two schools of thought concerning new suit responses to overcalls. The one which you were taught considers a new suit bid to be forcing for one round. Overcaller can raise your suit with 3 card support, rebid his original suit or bid 1NT with a stopper (2NT would require extra strength). Exceptions are if he has a decent second suit that he can bid cheaply without going past his first suit at the 2 level or, alternatively, if he has extra strength in which case he can make a forward going move. This forcing approach allows you to get into the auction with a good hand without requiring you to make a jump bid and possibly getting too high. Of course, forcing partner to bid again may also serve to get your side too high if you both have mediocre hands and no suit fit.

There is a sizeable contingent of experts, however, who advocate playing new suit responses as constructive (showing a decent hand) but not forcing. Opener may pass with a minimum and nothing else to say. This style is recommended by international expert and prolific author Mike Lawrence in his classic book "Overcalls", a book which I highly recommend.

In summary, there is no right or wrong approach but rather a matter of individual preference or style. Apparently your instructor is an advocate of the forcing treatment.

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I can answer questions on bidding and on cardplay with the caveat that the former may necessarily involve some subjectivity. I have been playing tournament bridge for over 20 years and I have won several regional tournaments.

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