By Bill Treble
Platinum Life Master and author of Two Over One: A First Course

Let’s begin with this hand:

S A 4
H K 10 7 6
D Q 9 2
C A J 8 5

If partner has opened 1S, there is a necessity to make a 2/1 response since 1NT, although forcing, is also limited pointwise and could be as few as 5-6 HCP. The remaining question is which of the rounded suits to bid?

Virtually all partnerships use 1S-2H as guaranteeing a five-card or longer suit. With this hand, the initial salvo would be 2C. If opener also has four hearts to go with his spades, he’d rebid 2H and your eight-card fit will be reached.

Now let us think about how to proceed if partner has opened 1D. I know some players who would respond 2C here to create a game force. It isn’t necessary here, though, as even a one-level response is forcing for one round.

Look at it this way. Unless opener shows a bid hand, what are the destinations you have in mind? The answer is either 4H, if partner can raise your suit, or 3NT otherwise.

Before we leave the topic of whether to make a 2/1 response, we shall look at a hand that is just slightly different from the previous one:

S A 4
H K 10 7 6
D Q 9
C A J 8 7 5

If partner has opened 1S, there would be a necessity to make a 2/1 response to show that you have sufficient points for game. Ergo, you would bid 2C.

If 1D has been the opening bid, then a 2C response isn’t an absolute necessity, but it’s easily the most desirable bid to make.

If you were first to speak, you would bid clubs first and hearts at a later point. There is no reason to change that approach because partner was first to open. Show the longest suit first, and the major afterwards. Lots of partnerships get themselves in hot water if responder bids hearts and then clubs, as opener will think he is 5-4 the other way in the rounded suits.

See also