Monday, March 07, 2005 3:44 AM

Hand Evaluation – Forcing Pass




          An established partnership has tools to counteract Bridge terrorism . Bridge terrorism is when the opponents are trying to “blow up” your auction with destructive bids. Forcing pass theory is a hand evaluation skill designed to combat terrorism.  My partner had two auctions where our counter terrorism tools failed us in one instance but succeeded in the other. I held ♠x Qx KQ109x ♣KQ98x & partner opened 1 . RHO overcalled 1 and you bid 2 which shows a limit raise or better and automatically turns on forcing passes if they or us reach game. Forcing passes are the best anti-terrorism tool invented in Bridge. However , the tool is useless if you do not “pick up” on the forcing auctions where it applies. Forcing passes are like step responses in that each action shows an increasingly better hand.


          Anyway , after the 2 Q bid , the opponents leap to 4 so what do you do  with ♠x Axxx AJxx Axxx ? With forcing pass theory , there are 5 bids in your repertoire to convey your hand to partner. Each “step” shows increasing values on which partner can base his decision. The bids are double , pass , direct bid , Q bid and pass & pull the double. This hand is not a double as that shows a dog or duplication of values or losers in their suit. A pass is the next step saying I would prefer you to take offensive action if I had my choice. The next step is bidding directly . This action is saying we can make our contract even if you have a minimum over there for your previous bid. A Q bid is of course a slam try & the pass & pull the double is probably having aspirations for a grand slam.


          Partner with this hand made a wrong forcing pass decision. He bid 5 which says we can take 11 tricks even if you held a minimum for your bid on this auction . I held way more than a minimum , 15 points in support of diamonds counting distribution so I bid 6 which has no play. With no wastage in spades , partner must have the 3 Aces for his bid.  ♠x Qx KQ109x ♣KQ98x  Partner should just make a forcing pass and I would have bid 5 for our +400. A forcing pass is a 5 bid needing some help from partner. You have 13 HCP and with your spade shortage you should encourage partner to bid 5 by passing. You base your forcing pass auction on the assumption that partner holds the minimum for a variable bid. You assume a limit raise in diamonds and bid accordingly. If partner has more he might bid 6 so you bid your own hand and not partner’s hand.


          A few hands later we got the board back thanks to forcing pass theory. I held ♠AJ10x AQ10x Qx ♣xxx vul against not vul so I refuse to open 1♣ with those hands. I opened 1 and partner bid 4♣ and RHO doubled. OK the first bidding clue comes into play re splinters. There are forcing pass understandings specifically applicable to splinters. If I bid directly over the double that is the death response saying I have club duplication of value. A pass shows offensive interest so that’s what I did. LHO jammed by leaping to 6♣ !  Partner held ♠KQxxx KJxx KJ9x ♣void  so all his forcing pass options come into play . He chose the pass so I had an easy 6 bid for +1460 & 13 IMPS for our side. When you play against terrorists , be sure you are up on your “homeland security” i.e. forcing pass theory.