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Fourth suit forcing Second query about occasionally problematic forcing bids

#1 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-September-03, 16:56

Hi all

Same preamble as for new minor forcing really "After originally learning basic Acol with very few bells and whistles, I sometimes find aspects of GiB 2/1 rather complex, unnecessarily so, and occasionally so highly constrained that some sequences can get me into trouble - and if I didn't have the tooltips would not have a clue what some bids/systems actually mean

I'm not getting into really obscure ones but this one is one of the more commonly used forcing bids that occasionally causes me problems because we are looking at NT but it gives me no indication of Spade holding at all

Eventually you just take the plunge and hope there isnt a gaping hole in your contract somewhere"


- taking the plunge in NT without having a clue about partners spades in this case





Note. Ran a quick Sim based on information at the point of fourth suit force

Mean NT by south is approx 8.5 with standard deviation of 1.5 and range of 2 to 13
1NT and 2NT bids are fairly safe so maybe its not too bad
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#2 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2020-September-03, 17:11

I was always led to believe - please correct me if I'm wrong - that if you bid the 4th suit at the one level it is a suit, not 4th suit forcing per se.
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#3 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-September-03, 17:13

View PostFelicityR, on 2020-September-03, 17:11, said:

I was always led to believe - please correct me if I'm wrong - that if you bid the 4th suit at the one level it is a suit, not 4th suit forcing per se.


Hi Felicity

Thankyou. I think the Bot is playing it as forcing in this case though - the note says forcing to 3NT which I assumes to keep bidding at least that far not necessarily as the final contract
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#4 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-September-03, 17:13

As a rule, if partner is making some artificial GF bid like NMF or Fourth Suit Forcing, it's often systemic to bid as if this bid were natural.

So, in this case, you'd rebid 2!S to show your spade support and pattern out.
In a similar vein, your 1NT rebid is denying at hand that is suitable for a spade raise and suggesting a balanced hand.

Here, I'd expect an auction like

1C - 1D
1H - 2S
2N - 3C
3N

Or potentially

1C - 1D
1H - 2S
2N - 3N
Alderaan delenda est
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#5 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-September-03, 17:15

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-September-03, 17:13, said:

As a rule, if partner is making some artificial GF bid like NMF or Fourth Suit Forcing, it's often systemic to bid as if this bid were natural.

So, in this case, you'd rebid 2!S to show your spade support and pattern out.
In a similar vein, you're 1NT rebid is denying at hand that is suitable for a spade raise and suggesting a balanced hand.

Here, I'd expect an auction like

1C - 1D
1H - 2S
2N - 3C

Or potentially

1C - 1D
1H - 2S
2N - 3N


Hi Richard, thanks that makes sense. So my choice of bid after the force indicates enough to the forcing bidder on my holding as to whether to stay in NT or return to a suit bid

I can't remember what I was thinking but maybe I thought four spades to the 6 was a partial stop
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#6 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2020-September-03, 17:20

View PostFelicityR, on 2020-September-03, 17:11, said:

I was always led to believe - please correct me if I'm wrong - that if you bid the 4th suit at the one level it is a suit, not 4th suit forcing per se.

You're wrong. It's a style thing. Perfectly reasonable to play 1S as 4th suit forcing which may or may not actually include 4 cd spades, especially if playing a Walsh "bypass diamonds" style like GIB does where you don't bid 1d holding 4cd spades without also having a GF. If you aren't playing Walsh, strictly up the line bidding, then 1S probably can be 1rf but not necessarily create a GF.

There are also people who play that 1S here is GF but *denies* spades, whereas 2S shows it. I've also played the reverse style (where 1s guarantees spades, 2s denies), but decided I don't like it. Nowadays I usually play 1S is GF, 2S doesn't exist, on possum's shape opener should raise spades in case partner has them.

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#7 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2020-September-03, 17:24

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-September-03, 17:13, said:

As a rule, if partner is making some artificial GF bid like NMF or Fourth Suit Forcing, it's often systemic to bid as if this bid were natural.

So, in this case, you'd rebid 2!S to show your spade support and pattern out.
In a similar vein, your 1NT rebid is denying at hand that is suitable for a spade raise and suggesting a balanced hand.

Here, I'd expect an auction like

1C - 1D
1H - 2S
2N - 3C
3N

Or potentially

1C - 1D
1H - 2S
2N - 3N


?? Don't you mean
1c - 1d
1h - 1s
2s - 3nt(here 3nt showing 16-17, stronger than 2nt which would be 13-15 / 18+)

(Bot probably not well programmed as to the ranges).
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#8 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-September-03, 17:39

Thanks everyone. Sometimes in this a similar situations I am hoping partner will indicate they have things covered with a NT bid before me. Often I feel the bot doesn't want to bid NT first. In this case the bot has a really nice hand with AQ in our unbid suit. Surely an immediate 3NT trip would not be amiss - or is that too restrictive and not leaving enough options for exploration??
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#9 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-September-03, 18:41

View PostStephen Tu, on 2020-September-03, 17:24, said:

?? Don't you mean
1c - 1d
1h - 1s
2s - 3nt(here 3nt showing 16-17, stronger than 2nt which would be 13-15 / 18+)

(Bot probably not well programmed as to the ranges).


I was completely asleep

thanks for the correction
Alderaan delenda est
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#10 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2020-September-03, 19:06

View Postthepossum, on 2020-September-03, 17:39, said:

Thanks everyone. Sometimes in this a similar situations I am hoping partner will indicate they have things covered with a NT bid before me. Often I feel the bot doesn't want to bid NT first. In this case the bot has a really nice hand with AQ in our unbid suit. Surely an immediate 3NT trip would not be amiss - or is that too restrictive and not leaving enough options for exploration??

For your 1 response, you could have a complete minimum, or a good hand that couldn't quite game force - eg 17 or 18 points.

If North bids an immediate 3NT, you'll be missing cold slams in the latter case (North would do this with a minimum opening hand, so you can't bid on yourself).

GIB's logic / described point ranges isn't very good in this area, which is why it's best to learn about 4SF via resources on 4SF, rather than GIB descriptions. Eg Wikipedia, which, like above, would recommend a 2 raise with your hand.
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#11 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2020-September-03, 19:18

The robots used to play 1 as natural and 2 as FSF, but now they play 1 as FSF and 2 as natural.

FWIW, I strongly prefer 1 to be FSF. If you play Walsh, responder will have a strong hand if they have four spades, so can afford the rare 2 bid. If you don't play Walsh, you can't afford to bid 2 with the FSF hands as they will have to cover a lot of ground since opener has shown little other than 11-18 points with 4-5 hearts.

If you play a Walsh style in which responder bids diamonds first with an invitational+ unbalanced hand with 4M and longer diamonds, then 1 has natural has merits, I suppose.

Anyway, as others have said, your third bid should be 2. I wouldn't call this "treating 1 as natural". It's just patterning out.
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#12 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-September-04, 03:48

View Posthelene_t, on 2020-September-03, 19:18, said:

Anyway, as others have said, your third bid should be 2. I wouldn't call this "treating 1 as natural". It's just patterning out.


We tend to say that we bid 1N with a minimum, 2 with better than minimum with this shape, BUT our 4SF is not FG, not sure if you would want to either reverse this or bid 2 always with this shape opposite a FG 4SF.
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#13 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2020-September-04, 04:59

View PostStephen Tu, on 2020-September-03, 17:20, said:

You're wrong. It's a style thing. Perfectly reasonable to play 1S as 4th suit forcing which may or may not actually include 4 cd spades, especially if playing a Walsh "bypass diamonds" style like GIB does where you don't bid 1d holding 4cd spades without also having a GF. If you aren't playing Walsh, strictly up the line bidding, then 1S probably can be 1rf but not necessarily create a GF.

There are also people who play that 1S here is GF but *denies* spades, whereas 2S shows it. I've also played the reverse style (where 1s guarantees spades, 2s denies), but decided I don't like it. Nowadays I usually play 1S is GF, 2S doesn't exist, on possum's shape opener should raise spades in case partner has them.


Thank you for clarifying that, Stephen. There's a distinct difference between old-fashioned British bidding and GIB 2/1 with Walsh. Maybe I should play with and against the robots more.
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#14 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-September-04, 06:07

View PostFelicityR, on 2020-September-04, 04:59, said:

Maybe I should play with and against the robots more.


I wouldn't waste your time. Stick to playing with people who can bid and play decent bridge Felicity
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#15 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-September-04, 13:23

View PostStephen Tu, on 2020-September-03, 17:20, said:

You're wrong. It's a style thing. Perfectly reasonable to play 1S as 4th suit forcing which may or may not actually include 4 cd spades, especially if playing a Walsh "bypass diamonds" style like GIB does where you don't bid 1d holding 4cd spades without also having a GF. If you aren't playing Walsh, strictly up the line bidding, then 1S probably can be 1rf but not necessarily create a GF.

There are also people who play that 1S here is GF but *denies* spades, whereas 2S shows it. I've also played the reverse style (where 1s guarantees spades, 2s denies), but decided I don't like it. Nowadays I usually play 1S is GF, 2S doesn't exist, on possum's shape opener should raise spades in case partner has them.


I bow to your judgement that it is perfectly reasonable as 4SF when playing better minor openings, with which I have little experience.
It would be very unusual (and probably not reasonable) playing 2+ / 4+ , which is now normal in good part of the world.
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#16 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2020-September-04, 17:33

The way I learned it, from Romex, 1-1 shows 4+ diamonds and 6+ points, and if you have less than invitational values, denies a four card major. When the auction continues 1-1-1, responder's 2 bid is artificial and game forcing and tends to deny four spades. 1 would show 4 spades and at least invitational values and is forcing for one round. Of course, if you have a partner who can't or won't play these sequences that way, you either do things his way, don't play with him, or just wing it and hope things work out. Even, or perhaps especially, if partner is a robot.
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#17 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2020-September-07, 14:35

View Postpescetom, on 2020-September-04, 13:23, said:

It would be very unusual (and probably not reasonable) playing 2+ / 4+ , which is now normal in good part of the world.


By what logic is it unreasonable? There are plenty of people playing short NF club openers in conjunction with Walsh (bypass 1d with weak hands) style. There's no particular reason not to play 1S as 4th suit; people are presumably bidding 1c-1d-1h on exactly the same hand types (4=4=1=4,x4x5+) no matter if their initial club bid promised 3+ or 2+. The hands that the 2+ opening affects (basically only 4=4=3=2 shape) are basically all rebidding some level of NT after 1c-1d, if playing Walsh.

Now if one were playing transfer Walsh, where 1 was artificial showing hearts, and 1 could be a bunch of different things depending on style, 1 as 4th suit may or may not make sense in that context.
Or some people play xyz here instead, then 1S could just be natural 1rf.

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#18 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-September-08, 06:41

View PostStephen Tu, on 2020-September-07, 14:35, said:

By what logic is it unreasonable?

By natural logic - if the opener has not promised clubs, then 1 is no longer the fourth suit, that is the only new suit available to responder who wants to force. So it can be natural and forcing 1 round. 1 1; 1 2 is forcing 1 round too, denying spades.

View PostStephen Tu, on 2020-September-07, 14:35, said:

There are plenty of people playing short NF club openers in conjunction with Walsh (bypass 1d with weak hands) style. There's no particular reason not to play 1S as 4th suit; people are presumably bidding 1c-1d-1h on exactly the same hand types (4=4=1=4,x4x5+) no matter if their initial club bid promised 3+ or 2+. The hands that the 2+ opening affects (basically only 4=4=3=2 shape) are basically all rebidding some level of NT after 1c-1d, if playing Walsh.

Sure, I was commenting on a basic system with 2+/4+ openings, no Walsh / XYZ etc (this is Novice and Beginner forum).
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#19 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2020-September-08, 08:48

View Postpescetom, on 2020-September-08, 06:41, said:

By natural logic - if the opener has not promised clubs, then 1 is no longer the fourth suit, that is the only new suit available to responder who wants to force. So it can be natural and forcing 1 round. 1 1; 1 2 is forcing 1 round too, denying spades.


For most bridge players these days, 1 promises the clubs are real over 1. Non-real club suit would rebid in NT, as would any 4 cd club suit in a balanced hand, or (332)5 bal.

Are they really teaching this 2+ clubs in conjunction with old fashioned strict up-the-line bidding in Italy? 1d response routine on 4342 7 hcp? Opener bids 1c-1d-1h on 4432 12 hcp? And both 1S and 2c are now considered "third-suit forcing"?? Very weird, IMO, if this is the case.

In any case, it's fundamentally not an incompatibility with 2+/4+, it's an incompatibility with strict 4cd suits up-the-line bidding, which are separate issues.
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#20 User is online   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-September-08, 09:30

View PostStephen Tu, on 2020-September-08, 08:48, said:

For most bridge players these days, 1 promises the clubs are real over 1. Non-real club suit would rebid in NT, as would any 4 cd club suit in a balanced hand, or (332)5 bal.

Are they really teaching this 2+ clubs in conjunction with old fashioned strict up-the-line bidding in Italy? 1d response routine on 4342 7 hcp? Opener bids 1c-1d-1h on 4432 12 hcp? And both 1S and 2c are now considered "third-suit forcing"?? Very weird, IMO, if this is the case.

In any case, it's fundamentally not an incompatibility with 2+/4+, it's an incompatibility with strict 4cd suits up-the-line bidding, which are separate issues.

No Italians that I know of play strict up-the-line in combination with 5-card majors, everyone would anticipate spades in your example for instance - but the majority would never or almost skip 5-card .

I see the lack of spades as 4SF as a logical consequence of opener not promising clubs, YMMV.
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