2/1 Basic Principles
by Mike Savage
In most cases it utilizes the same bidding structure as Standard American except when the bidding goes one of a suit-pass-and a non-jump 2-level response (1D-p-2C, 1H-p-2C or 2D, 1S-p-2C, 2D or 2H)
#1 After partner opens the bidding 1D, 1H or 1S, a bid of 2C/2D or 2H is game forcing. You should have hand that you would have opened, usually 12+ HCP. After that, all bids are natural, further describing both hands, knowing that no bid can be passed short of game (this makes all slam investigation much easier)
#2 Over a major opening a bid of 1NT is forcing for one round and is made with 6-11 HCP and any distribution (w/o support for opener’s major when 6-9 HCP) When opener has a minimum and 3-3-2 in the unbid suits, if you are 3-3 in the minors, bid 2C and if you have three diamonds and two clubs (and only a five-card major) bid 2D. Rebidding 2NT over 1NT shows a hand too strong to open 1NT. Special note: If not playing Flannery (most don’t), if opener has 4 spades & 5 hearts with 2-2 in the minors and a minimum, over 1NT forcing, the best bid is deemed to be 2C, your lowest doubleton. 2nd choice is rebidding a very good five-card major.
#3 Over a minor opening, bid a major suit with 6+ HCP. four-card major and without support of opener’s minor, you should bid 1NT, regardless of distribution or lack of major stoppers. If you play Inverted Minors, raising one of a minor to two requires having at least invitational values or more, usually with five-card support. If not playing Inverted Minors with only 4-card support for opener’s minor, 6-9/10 HCP and a balanced hand, it’s often/usually best to bid 1NT instead of raising the minor. Suggestion: Over a 1C opener if you have four or five diamonds and a 4-card major, with less than an opener, bid one of your major but if you have opening values or more, always bid your longest suit first.
#4 When your partner has opened 1H or 1S and you have invitational values with support for the major, with four-card support, jump to three of the major but with only three card support, bid a forcing 1NT first with the intention of jumping to/bidding three of the major on your next bid. This distinguishes a four-card invitational raise from a 3-card invitational raise (especially important in deciding whether to bid game when opener’s major suit is weak like Axxxx, Kxxxx).