Sunday, September 28, 2003 12:33 AM

Hand Evaluation - Forcing 1NT ( BART )


           The forcing NT bid is bid on multiple hand types so many times can lead to confusing auctions. The rank of the bully suit spades quite often “buries” the heart suit after a forcing 1NT bid. It is very important to get to your 4
games after a spade opener & a forcing 1NT response . It is also very important to have a way of showing strong support for opener's minor. With a heart opener and a forcing NT , you have 2♠ by responder as a very useful bid to show strong minor support for partner. After a spade opener & a minor rebid , with a forcing 1NT bid initially we have no such luxury.


         More & more experts play a Gazzilli like 2♣ rebid. This bid is made when a 2♠ rebid may block out all other contracts. This leaves room for BART an artificial 2bid designed to find hearts fits or a strong minor raise. The 2♣ rebid is virtually forcing one round. Responder may pass with a weak hand & a long club suit but otherwise must describe her hand or give a preference to the major.

          After a spade opener , the forcing 1NT with a 3
jump was designed to get to your 4 heart games . I think this a bad way of doing this since the 3 bid quite often just lands you in the wrong partial with a minus. The 3 bid just robbed you of useful bidding space & actually pre-empted the opening bid. Playing 2/3 non forcing to game as a 2/1, leaves the 3 jump by responder for another systemic use. With a spade opener followed by a 2♣ rebid , BART is a convention that solves both the heart problem and the strong minor fit problem . The only thing you lose is the ability to play 2 by responder after a club rebid by the opening ♠ bidder .

          The modified BART convention sacrifices the natural 2
bid by responder to get us out of our predicament . A 2 bid by the forcing 1NT is a transfer to hearts after openers 2♣ rebid. . The opener must accept the transfer to 2 regardless of hand type. Responder bids as shown below.


After 1♠ - pass - 1N (forcing) – pass

2 (could be 2 card suit)

2 = transfer to 2 (always guarantees 5+),

      - 2 = 8-10 with 5 and 2 spades

      - 2N = 5, 10-11

      - 3 = INV, 5+, 4 (bid direct 3 with 5-5)

      - 3 = INV, 5-5 in reds

      - 3 = INV

     - 3 = 3-card L/R with 5

      - pass

     Since a 2 bid is covered by transfers , let’s make the 2 bid a transfer to spades to show strong ♣ hands.

2 = transfer to 2, which can be passed (worst possible hand), or:

      - 2N = natural (10-12) with 4-card club support

     - 3 = best possible club raise without shortness in /S

     - 3 = shortness

     - 3♥ or 3 = shortness bid in support of clubs

2 = 8-10 with 2

2N = 10-12, without 5 or 4 clubs

3 = courtesy raise (5+ trumps and about 8 HCPs)

3 = to play

3 = FSJ, 5+ clubs and 5 (you go thru 2 with 5-4)

3 = 3-card L/R

2 is natural and 4+ cards

2 is natural and 4+ cards

2♠ is six spades, usually without 3

         When playing BART , give responder the maximum opportunity to use the bid. This means that opener can rebid 2♣ on a doubleton with difficult hand types. This now means that a 2
rebid by opener means at least a 4 card diamond suit. Bid 2♣ with a 6 card major that has poor suit quality with up to a hand in the Goren jump rebid range. Responder is not allowed to pass 2♣ with two of your major , so must give preference. A 2♣ rebid is in order with the difficult Flannery hands after a forcing 1NT. Remember to alert partners 2♣ rebid as possibly being 2 cards in length.

         After a spade opener , forcing 1NT bid and a diamond rebid, we do not have the luxury of BART. However in my mind , a jump to 3
is still a bad bid . Think about it . Opener can 5 spades and 5 diamonds so you have just jammed the auction maybe to the 4 level !! . Partner can have no hearts or a singleton heart so you are way too high . I think it is best to just bid 2 forcing one round after a bid by opener as a partnership agreement. Now , if opener has a good hand in support of hearts , she will make the heart raise . With a weak heart hand by responder , you are forced to play the partial in 3 ( similar to the BART 3 bid ) .

       You now have all the bases covered to show strong minor raises after a forcing 1NT . Use 2♠ after a heart opener , BART after a spade opener with a club rebid . In addition , a 2
forcing bid after a spade opener with a diamond rebid ( only ) . Voilla !