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Fourth Suit Forcing

March 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 193

Fourth suit forcing is a convention used in the card game of bridge. It is used to help find the right contract for a partnership where no immediately obvious fit between the partners' cards can be found. It can be used to help find more information about your partner's card, including finding 5-3 major suit fits and seeing if your partner has a stopper for No Trumps.

Fourth suit forcing is used by the responder if he or she holds 11+ points and all the following criteria are relevant:

  • Three suits have already been bid (hence the name), two by the opener and one by the responder
  • You don't already have a major suit fit (8+ cards in a suit) with your partner
  • You want to find out more information about a partner's hand

At this stage (3 suits already bid) a bid of the fourth doesn't mean that you hold good cards in the suit and want to bid it. It is a conventional bid which means " tell me something more about your hand partner because I can't immediately see that we have an 8 card major fit or stoppers in all four suits to bid No Trumps".

The opener's reply aims to tell the responder something more about their hand. So far, the responder knows that partner probably holds at least 5 cards in the first suit they bid and at least 4 four cards.

The extra information that the opener can give could include the following:

1) Bidding the responder's first suit shows a holding of three cards. If responder holds 5+ cards, they have now found an 8 card fit.

2) Re-bidding their own second suit shows that they are holding at least five cards. The original bid of a second showed 4+ cards.

3) Re-bidding their own first suit shows that they are holding at least six cards. The original bid of a second suit, probably showed a holding of five plus cards in the first one.

4) Bidding No Trumps shows that they hold a stopper in the fourth suit. If responder holds stoppers in the other three, then a No trumps contract might be appropriate.

5) If the opener has none of the above, they may need to rebid their first suit with only 5 cards. As the name implies, this conventional bid is a forcing bid and the opener has to bid again.

Now that you have a basic understanding of what Fourth Suit Forcing is you will want the chance to read more about it and practice the technique.

Source: EzineArticles
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