Monday, October 03, 2005 5:32 AM

Forcing Pass - No Fit




            Standard forcing pass theory was invented for when you own the auction & you have an announced fit. The agreements for this scenario have been discussed at length in previous articles. What about forcing pass auctions where you have not established a fit ? These non fit forcing pass auctions revolve around the penalty double. Power + no fit equals trouble for the opponents. The pass in these situations just means I have values for my previous bid so I am getting out of the way for partners penalty double. It says nothing that I prefer offensive action or tolerance for your suit . The pass just simply says that I lack a penalty double of their contract.  A double means penalty of course and a bid means a distributional hand that I would have pulled your double anyway. You have bid in front of partners impending double for a reason.  A pass and pull is a slam try with shortness in their suit. A direct bid does not necessarily mean shortness in their suit but it is still a good bet.


          Normally these type of forcing pass auctions occur at low levels but that’s not always the case because the opponents can jam you. Take this auction . You have xx AKQxxx Kx Q109  and open 1 . Partner bids 2 and RHO bids 3 with you bidding 4. LHO bids 4 and partner bids 5♣ so what is your decision ? Partner did not go the pass and pull route nor did she give you a chance to double. Her bid is not a slam try but does she have the stiff spade ? With a spade void and a good hand , the pass and pull would stand out. That hand gets thrown out with this auction. With 2 spades and a 5-5 ,  I think she would just get out of the way and respect your penalty double. All roads seem to lead to a 6-5 but how strong ? x x AQJ10xx AJxxx  could be a hand . x x AQJ10xx AKxxx is too strong as she would pass and pull with that hand. How about x x Axxxxx AKxxx ? Anyway , I feel that the pass and pull Inference is too strong to ignore so I give partner leeway and pass 5♣ . What about keeping the auction open with a 5 bid ? Does this have any merit ? I think only for the opponents . if you have decided that there is no slam why be at the mercy of a 3-2 diamond break ? x x Axxxxx AKJxx   5♣ is cold even with a 4-1 diamond break.


          The moral of the story is when you own the auction fit or no fit , think forcing pass understandings. The inference that partner did not pass and pull will keep you out of many bad slams in cramp auctions. Forcing pass theory was invented to help combat intruders who enter your forcing auction. Without sound understandings , they will cause bad decisions time after time. D.S.I.P. theory was invented to combat the opponents when you do not own the hand. Bad decisions in competitive auctions are the norm and “bidders” prey on that fact.