Forcing & non-forcing bids -- guidelines for showing strength

To find the best contract in any bridge auction, one partner must confirm a trump suit (or the lack of one) and limit his hand (show his point-count range). In most auctions, the sooner you can do this, the more accurate your bidding will be. Whether you're opener or responder, you limit your hand any time you:
   1 - Bid notrump.
   2 - Bid an "old" suit (one that you or partner have bid previously in the auction).
The level you choose for these bids shows your point-count range.
To decide which level to bid to, think of your hand as falling into one of three categories -- minimum, invitational or forcing. The table below shows the point ranges you can use to categorize your hand in auctions that start with an opening bid of 1 of a suit. To decide how your hand fits into the table and the descriptions that follow, keep these guidelines in mind:


12-15 points

  Minimum -- when you decide to bid notrump or an "old suit", you'll make your bid at the lowest level possible (usually 1NT or 2 of an old suit). 
Choose a bid from the a MINIMUM or SIGNOFF category below.

6-10 points
16-18 points

  Invitational -- you plan to invite game and show more-than-minimum strength by freely taking the auction one level higher than necessary (usually to 2NT or 3 of a suit).
Choose a bid from the TEMPORARILY FORCING or INVITATIONAL category.

10-12 points
18+ points

  Forcing -- you plan to insist on game by making a bid that shows game-level point count, or by raising partner's suit or notrump response to game level. 
Choose a bid from the TEMPORARILY FORCING or FORCING-TO-GAME category.

12+ points

FORCING -TO-GAME BIDS -- Partner must keep bidding until you reach game.

By opener:

By responder:

TEMPORARILY FORCING BIDS -- No clearly defined upper point limit. 
   Partner must bid again, but these auctions are not necessarily forcing to game.

By opener:

By responder:

INVITATIONAL BIDS -- Encouraging, but not forcing. Partner can pass.

By opener (16-18 pts.):

By responder (10-12 pts.):

MINIMUM BIDS -- Minimum point-count. NOT forcing, NOT encouraging.

By opener (12-15 pts.):

By responder (6-10 pts.):

SIGNOFF ("Drop-Dead") BIDS -- Absolutely not forcing. Partner must pass. 
   These bids are made after partner limits his hand (with a notrump or "old suit" bid).

By opener:

By responder:

Copyright   Karen Walker