Gerry Fox, the coordinator of bridge activities for Oceania Cruises, is a bridge expert and has taught the game full-time for more than 40 years. He is an ACBL Diamond Life Master and the author of several books on the subject. Last month, Gerry shared his best tips on bidding up the ladder. Below, he shares his tips on forcing and non-forcing bids.


  1. Some bids by their nature or by prior agreement are forcing for one round or forcing to game. How can one tell?
  2. In the descriptive or early phase of the auction, a new suit is forcing:
  3. If it has no upper limit for points, such as a 2C opener (generally, to game) or a new suit by responder (one round).
  4. By definition, such as a jump-shift by the opener (to game).
  5. If the combined strength already promised is enough for game.
  6. If it is artificial, such as a conventional bid, like Stayman or a takeout double, or a cue bid (both one round).
  7. In the descriptive phase of the auction, a bid is non-forcing:
  8. If it repeats a previously mentioned suit or it is in NT, both of which limit the values of that hand.
  9. If it is a new suit by the opener but not a jump-shift or a reverse; thus, if the auction begins 1D-1S and the opener continues with 2C, limiting his hand to 18 points at most, this is not forcing, whereas 2H, a reverse, or 3C, a jump-shift, would be forcing.
  10. During the captaincy or later phase of the auction, only the captain, the player in charge, can make forcing bids. These usually take the form of new suits or cue bids. Most other bids in the agreed suit or in NT are non-forcing.

bridge1If the auction begins 1D-2D, the opener is the captain, since the responder has defined his/her hand. If the opener now bids 2H, a new suit, it would be forcing. If instead the opener rebids 3D or 2NT, these are invitational calls which can be passed.

That’s it for Gerry’s bridge tips for now, so join us for classes and tournaments on board in 2016 to improve your game. Explore our bridge cruises now!

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