Mike Yuen — Mike talks about bridge

Divorce Court

Divorce Court is the longest running television court program since 1957. Where couples come before a presiding judge to air their dirty laundry, either to sought a reconciliation or divorce.

Mr. West-the plaintiff and Mrs. East-the defendant came to Divorce Court because of the following deal.

Board 9, Matchpoints. Dealer North. E-W vulnerable.

Mr. West was first to make an opening statement.

“You Honour, after three passes to me, I bid one spade, LHO bid two spades-Hearts and a minor. My partner bid three spades, in our agreement-less then a limit raise in spades. RHO bid four clubs-pass or correct. I bid a vulnerable game four spades! LHO pass and so did my partner. RHO bid five clubs. I made what I thought was a Forcing Pass! LHO pass and to my disappointment my partner also passed!?”

“Five club went down two for +100, we got 23%. Five spade made six would have given us 74%.”

“Please tell me do I have grounds for divorce?”

Now it is Mrs West’s turn to address the court.

“Your Honour, I have been busy working in my gerden when Mr. West asked me to play bridge. As I love my partner very much, I obliged and dropped everything. When this hand in question came up, I checked our notes and found no agreement as to what constituted a forcing pass. Looked up the latest Encyclopedia of Bridge, the 7th edition and found not much help either. As I already shown my hand, I thought best to pass.”

The Judge asked to see their notes and found no agreements.

“After deliberation, I found Mrs. East could have doubled five clubs. Bridge logic tells you, partnership bid vulnerable game and the opponents were pass hands. Mr. West could have saved the day if he had bid four hearts instead of four spades over four clubs. You don’t need a divorce, what you need is some rules.” Said the Judge.

Forcing Pass: a pass which forces partner to take action. 

Here are some rules for Forcing Pass suggested by Daniel Korbel that may help.

1. Opening 2C sets up a forcing pass until eternity.
2. Game forcing auctions set up a forcing pass until eternity.
3. If opener accepts a limit raise with a jump or with a 4-level new suit this creates a forcing pass. Accepting a limit raise by “bidding one more” (e.g. 1H-(1S)-2S-(3S)-4H does not create a force.
4. In competitive auctions, in my partnerships opener can bid an “illogical” 3NT to create a force (e.g. 1H-(1S)-2S-(3S)-3NT** is a 4H bid that creates a force).
5. At unfavourable vulnerability only, 3m-ANY-5m (where ANY is an over call or a double) creates a force. So does 2M-ANY-5M.
6. All forces except #1 #2 and #4 are OFF if the opponents are Red/White.
At this point Mr. West said “You honour I like to withdraw my petition for divorce and give our partnership another try.”
Mrs East agreed “lets go play bridge.”
Cheers went up in the packed courtroom. 



lindaJanuary 19th, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Forcing passes are always complex. I am glad east and west are back together again.

AngelJanuary 19th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Nice story but the evidence of the hand does not show up!

David Memphis MOJO SmithJanuary 20th, 2012 at 4:15 am

“opener can bid an “illogical” 3NT to create a force”

I haven’t heard of this before, but I like it!

Bruce McIntyreJanuary 22nd, 2012 at 3:54 am

“Until eternity” might be a bit strong, better to say “until the next hand begins.” Reminds me of the old story of the novices who spent more time at the food table than at the bridge table, until an investigation revealed that an earlier director call had barred one player, in the words of the director, “throughout.” Since that hand, eight rounds ago, the poor player had passed three hands of 20+ points and a bunch of opening bids and overcalls…

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