The origin of this conventional method is unknown. The Jacoby Plus 2 No Trump Response to a Major suit opening bid is a method used by several partnerships and which is designed to employ the first response of 2 No Trump after a Major suit opening by the partner.
It is based on the Limit Raise convention, but with slight differences and interpretations. For example, if the first response to a Major suit opening is 2 No Trump, the responder shows a game-forcing holding and also 4 cards support in that particular Major suit
The Jacoby Plus 2 No Trump Response to a Major suit opening bid method allows the responder to show also a holding of a 4-card trump suit and a singleton and/or void through an immediate Splinter bid, which is defined as limited, showing 10 to 13 high card points.
Note: In contrast, the original Jacoby 2 No Trump response employed in conjunction with the concept of limit raises shows not only a 4-card trump suit support, but also unlimited values. This distinction is necessary in order to understand the concept behind the Jacoby Plus method.
Original Version of Jacoby 2 No Trump
Therefore, employing the original Jacoby 2 No Trump first response, the two bidding sequences below are the only two auctions possible to show game values and at least a 4-card support in the Major suit of partner in conjunction with the limit raise method:
Opener Responder Meaning 1. 1 2 NT Shows a 4-card plus Heart suit support and a possible distribution of: 4-3-3-3. The values are unlimited, but must be sufficient for game. 2. 1 2 NT Shows a 4-card plus Spade suit support and a possible distribution of: 4-3-3-3. The values are unlimited, but must be sufficient for game.
Note: Some partnership agreements have limited the values to game values and a maximum of 16 points. These agreements constitute variations since the original version defines the 2 No Trump first response as unlimited in values.
Note: It is possible that the use of the designation of limit raise so often used in instructions manuals may be disturbing to the bridge student in that the 2 No Trump first response is not limited to a certain range. This is owing to the fact that Mr. Oswald Jacoby, in the original version, stated that the 2 No Trump first response by an unpassed hand is an approach used in conjunction with limit raises. Therefore, the bid is technically not a limit raise. However, the term limit raise is generously employed as the definition.
In conjunction with the conventional concept of Limit Raises, a 2 No Trump first response shows unlimited support points and a 4-card support in the opening Major suit. The general agreement is then for the opener to first rebid with 3, indicating that the opener would have passed a Limit Raise of 3, which would show limited values in the opening, and a first rebid of 3 to indicate that a Limit Raise of 3 would indicate acceptance
The responder, after showing the game plus values and support, can continue to communicate information according to the guidelines of limit raises by rebidding three of the Major suit, but can also rebid the cheapest new suit, since the trump suit has already been established. The responder, in this manner, shows a distribution, which does not qualify for a first response of a Splinter bid, showing a singleton and/or void.
Jacoby Plus 2 No Trump
The Jacoby Plus 2 No Trump concept is different and depends, to a large degree, on the specific Major suit, which is opened. If the Major suit is Hearts then the bidding sequence is different than if the opening is Spades. This difference must be taken into account. The structure of the rebids by the opener are normally limited to two options, which further describe the holding of the opener.
These two options are outlined below:
Opener Responder Meaning 1 / 2 NT Guarantees game values. 3 Shows a pass after Limit Raise and a weak opening. 3 Shows an opening which would accept a Limit Raise. This first response establishes a game-forcing action.
Since the first response of Jacoby Plus 2 No Trump after a Major suit opening is a game-forcing action, the opener knows that the partner holds game values, even if the opening is weak, and can continue to describe his distribution and strength in the following manner using the Jacoby Plus Responses if the first rebid by the opener is 3:
Opener Responder Meaning 1 Major 2 NT Guarantees game values. 3 Shows a pass after a Limit Raise and a weak opening. 3 Requests opener to show any suit shortage. 3 / This rebid shows in the Major suit not opened a distribution: 5-4-2-2. After a rebid: 3, responder can respond: 3 to request opener to show a possible 4-card side suit. After a rebid: 3, the responder can do the same with 3 NT. 3 NT Shows a distribution: 5-3-3-2. 4 / Shows a 6-card plus Major suit for opening; no singleton.
After any lower rebid by the opener, the responder has the following options:
Opener Responder Meaning 1 2 NT Guarantees game values. 3 Shows a pass after Limit Raise and a weak opening. 3 Requests opener to show any suit shortage. 3 This rebid shows in the Major suit not opened a distribution: 5-4-2-2. 3 To play, but opener can bid game holding moderate values. If the opener has opened weak, this gives the opener the chance to pass. 3 NT Shows a possible distribution: 4-3-3-3 with 16-18 high card points. Other Shows a singleton but no void; slam try showing more than expected values than for a Splinter bid.
If the first rebid of the opener is 3, which is a Waiting Bid and game-forcing, then the responder has several options as outlined below:
Opener Responder Meaning 1 2 NT Guarantees game values. 3 Shows an opening which would accept a Limit Raise. This first response establishes a game-forcing action. 3 Shows a Limit Raise. 3 NT Requests responder to show shortage in side suit. If the opening were 1, then the cheapest rebid by the opener of 3 would ask to show shortage in a side suit. The following example illustrates this point:
Opener Responder Meaning 1 2 NT 3 Waiting Bid 3 Limit Raise 3 Asks for shortage 3 NT Shows shortage in Spades
The responder bids game in the Major suit to show no shortage in a side suit and shows a possible flat distribution of 4-3-3-3 and more values than a normal Limit Raise. The responder can show a singleton by bidding a new suit and this promises more values than a normal Splinter bid.
The most important feature of the Jacoby Plus 2 No Trump first response is that the partner, in order to find a side suit shortage, must first make that request with the cheapest new suit. This bidding sequence changes whenever the opening was either in Hearts or in Spades.
The opener has the possibility of refusing the normal rebids after a first response of 2 No Trump and bid 4 of the Major opening suit. This strongly indicates that the responder should pass since the opener is indicating no possible slam features. If the opener is able to respond with any rebid above 3 Diamonds, then the opener strongly indicates that a slam is highly possible. This is especially true if the rebid is on the four level. This understanding should be part of the partnership agreement, since these so-called idle bids can take on new interpretations.
There are several distinctions made when one partner is already a passed hand. This becomes clear in the following bidding sequence:
South West North East Pass Pass 1 Pass 2 NT
The first response of 2 No Trump promises only a good Limit Raise in Hearts. North, in the above bidding sequence, may have extra values and may even look for slam. North must be able to force South, a passed hand, to continue the bidding.
North has the following options:
3 : Shows that North would normally not accept a Limit Raise. 3 : Requests South to bid suit with a singleton.
3 : Shows a singleton in Diamonds. 3 : Shows a singleton in Clubs. 3 NT: Shows no singleton in any suit. 4 : To play. 3 NT: Suggestion to play in No Trump contract showing possible flat distribution: 5-3-3-2. Other: Any other bids are deemed, by partnership agreement, to be natural and/or slam attempts.
As with any concept there are idle bids, which can take on any meaning and which is based on the partnership understanding. This is no different with interference. The general guideline is, however, that the understanding is that any bid of 3 Hearts or 3 Spades, whichever the opening bid is, shows that the opener would not have normally accepted a Limit Raise. Other possible agreements and guidelines are suggested below:
Pass: this shows a balanced holding, but better values than just a Limit Raise. New Suit: this shows distribution and also full values for an opening. Double or Redouble: this shows mostly a defensive holding, a possible distribution of 4-3-3-3 with values exceeding 16 high card points. Free Bids: this agreement signifies that the auction reverts to all bids and rebids being natural.
If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.
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