Posted 2012-February-28, 10:55
I would have thought this to be a simple situation, but I see some posters suggesting 3N over 1♥, others suggesting that 1♠ can be played as forcing, and others seeming to suggest that 2N is forcing.
As to the OP: I don't think anyone has yet invented a programme that can reliably bid well, even in reasonably simple auctions....the quirks of GIB, as used on BBO are often on display here. So don't ever look at software and expect to learn proper bidding technique.
In NA, at least, the standard treatment would be to rebid 2N, which definitely does not deny a 4 card spade suit and is definitely not forcing. It shows a balanced 18-19. Most good players routinely upgrade some 17 counts into the range and some 19 counts out of the range, but it is still 18-19.
All experienced pairs have methods to find a possible 4-4 spade fit unless responder is so weak that he will pass 2N. Note that most experienced players will stretch to respond to a minor suit opening, so it is entirely possible for responder to be so weak that game is unlikely even opposite 18-19.
1♠ is not forcing. The upper limit for 1♠ is less than 19.....and less than a good 18. With 18+ or more, opener will either rebid 2N (balanced hand) or jumpshift into 2♠ (4+ spades, longer diamonds, gf values). Note that 4=1=4=4 hands are difficult...fortunately the odds of holding specifically 4=1=4=4 18-19 are low...some would chance 2N, others would risk 1♠. While 1♠ is non-forcing, responder will not pass very often.....he'd need at least 3 spades and a weak hand. And if he does pass, the odds are that game won't be good.
I have little idea if this approach is standard in Europe but I am quite sure that it is the mainstream approach in NA. There are variants (such as playing 1♠ as forcing) but I have never seen such variants explained in a plausible manner.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari