On an auction like 1♠ - Pass - 2♠, responder's spade raise shows 6 to 10 Support Points and 3 or more spades. A spade game typically requires 25 or more points.
- If opener has 13 Points, the partnership has 23 at most, a game is unlikely, opener passes
- If opener has 18-20 points, the partnership has 24-30 points, game is expected, opener bids 4♠.
- If opener has 15-17 points, the partnership has 21-27 points, game is a possibility, opener invites game
A common way to invite game is to use a Help Suit Game Try. After 1♠ - Pass - 2♠ - Pass, opener could bid a new suit where they have length and at least one honor. This asks responder to bid 4♠ if they are near a maximum and have help in opener's help suit. The upside of Help Suit Game Tries is responder can assess how well their hand fits with opener's hand. The downside is the Help Suit Game Try tell the defenders about opener's shape and where opener needs help.
This disclosure may help your opponents find the best defense against your contract. In the auction below, South's 3♥ rebid is a Help Suit Game Try, asking North to bid 4♠ if they are a maximum with help in hearts. North has 10 Support Points. North's doubleton heart provides a potential ruff to help in hearts. North bids 4♠. The problem is the Help Suit Game Try tells West that South has length in hearts including the ♥King. North's heart help must be a potential ruff. This inference helps West find the trump lead needed to beat 4♠.
It is far better to use game tries which ask where help is available rather than where help is needed. Using the next step as an asking bid to learn where help is available allows you to find games without telling your opponents where you need help. Partner will decline the game try if they would not accept a Help Suit Game Try in any suit. If partner can accept a game try, they bid the cheapest suit where they would accept a Help Suit Game Try. In the example above, South would bid an artificial 2NT as a game try. North would accept a game try in any suit. So North can accept the game try with a jump to 4♠. Now it isn't easy for West to find the killing trump lead.
In the Game Tries video lesson, David Loeb teaches how to use the next step as an artificial game try asking where help is available. Click here to view the trailer or purchase the video lesson.