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Can opener bid Fourth Suit Forcing

#1 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2017-July-09, 12:58

I have only recently started plain FSF and am still learning about it. Last week I opened 1D. I think the bidding went 1D 2C 2D 2S 3H and partner bid 3NT. I meant it as FSF and partner took it as such. Today I read an article by Larry Cohen where he says only responder can bid FSF. I then found on the No Fear Acol site an example of FSF very similar to ours. Is this apparent contradiction anything to do with 4 card vs. 5 card majors.
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#2 User is offline   Kaitlyn S 

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Posted 2017-July-09, 13:23

View PostLiversidge, on 2017-July-09, 12:58, said:

I have only recently started plain FSF and am still learning about it. Last week I opened 1D. I think the bidding went 1D 2C 2D 2S 3H and partner bid 3NT. I meant it as FSF and partner took it as such. Today I read an article by Larry Cohen where he says only responder can bid FSF. I then found on the No Fear Acol site an example of FSF very similar to ours. Is this apparent contradiction anything to do with 4 card vs. 5 card majors.
There was a discussion about either this auction or the auction 1D-1S-2D-3C-3H not that long ago, but long enough ago that's not on the current list, and I don't know how to search for it (you'll see another thread requesting for help in that manner), and there were varying opinions, but I'll toss in my two cents:

It doesn't matter if it's called fourth suit forcing; it doesn't make sense for it to be natural (on the other hand, 1D-2C-2D-2H-2S could be natural because opener could be 4-4-5-0) so it is artificial and forcing.

I only remember seeing one reference to fourth suit forcing by opener. Most of the times it refers to responder's first rebid. However, if the prior bidding has ruled out partner's call being natural (because he has already denied possession of the suit) then logic says it has to be artificial, and therefore forcing.

Of course, there are exceptions to everything. In a recent set of bidding problems, I had the auction: 1C-1H-2C-2H-2S.
Opener can't possibly have spades (so my prior statement would say that it should be artificial and forcing) but logic again comes to the rescue to tell us otherwise. Both partners have minimum hands and there is apparently a misfit, so 2S can't be artificial and forcing; therefore it has to be something like 3-0-4-6 giving partner a chance to bail in 2S if responder has four spades and a club void. Yes, I realize that is not the fourth suit.

On your auction, I can't dream of a time that opener would want to suggest 3H as a final contract, so it has to be forcing. Since 4H isn't really a viable option on this auction, I would think it would also be artificial; as opener can just bid an appropriate number of notrump with real hearts (even four small should be a stopper on length when neither opponent has mentioned hearts.)
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#3 User is offline   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2017-July-09, 13:24

View PostLiversidge, on 2017-July-09, 12:58, said:

I have only recently started plain FSF and am still learning about it. Last week I opened 1D. I think the bidding went 1D 2C 2D 2S 3H and partner bid 3NT. I meant it as FSF and partner took it as such. Today I read an article by Larry Cohen where he says only responder can bid FSF. I then found on the No Fear Acol site an example of FSF very similar to ours. Is this apparent contradiction anything to do with 4 card vs. 5 card majors.

The main question is, what is meant by FSF.
The Acol school, which I prefer, will name any bidding of the 4th suit by either reponder / opener FSF,
in short it is some kind of meta agreement, applicable in lots of scenarios.
The North American style will usually only call it FSF, if the bid showes up in a seq. like

1D - 1S
2C - 2H

If the 4th suit gets bid by responder after a 2/1 response, they will treat it as natural,
and it wont be FSF.
In short, FSF is a convention applicable in a very tightly defined situation.

With kind regards
Marlowe
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Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#4 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2017-July-09, 13:34

When responder bid 2 S, responder reversed and forced you to bid with a minimum hand. It should show longer than and a near opening hand at minimum. So you could try to sign off with minimal bids in your suit, or NT (3 , 2 NT), or bid game 3 NT (with stopped and maximum minimum opener) or 4 (Spade fit). 3 would invite. That leaves 2 other bids available below 3 NT -- 3 and 3 . 3 is a preference and leaves it up to partner to take further action -- so is non forcing. 3 ought to be asking about a stopper as you could bid NT yourself with one. Since it forces to at least 4 of one of the minors if responder has no stopper, it should be forward going.
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#5 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2017-July-09, 13:36

Thanks everyone. That has helped a lot. Bidding the fourth suit as forcing is not always Fourth Suit Forcing. Subtle.
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#6 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2017-July-09, 13:41

Still mulling this over and not quite there yet after all. Under EBU regulations FSF is alertable. I presume 1D 2C 2D 2S 3H is not alertable as it is not FSF, even if it is a bid of the fourth suit and might not be natural?
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#7 User is offline   wank 

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Posted 2017-July-10, 23:41

I haven't read this book you refer to, but I suspect your confusion comes from the following:

If responder has shown values (either with his 2nd bid or with his first if opener's first rebid was forcing, e.g. 1H-2C-2D) opener can have enough to force to game on the 3rd round and 4sf is as normal.
If responder has not shown values and made a simple 1 level response and a simple 2 level preference or suit religion or rebid 1nt, then opener can't have enough to GF (he would have GFed already at his 2nd bid), so now a bid of the 4th suit is (semi-)natural and forward going, e.g. 1D-1H-1S-1NT-2C (responder has shown nothing and opener didn't jump to 2S over 1H so he hasn't got a GF hand).
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#8 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2017-July-11, 05:48

The source is a handout on FSF on the No Fear site. The example (in the 'other uses' section) is 1D 1H 2D 2S 3C. Opener has 14 HCP and three small clubs. Before learning about FSF I would have taken this as just a game forcing bid, a new suit at the 3 level, but the source includes it as an example of FSF, which is alertable.
I wonder if the source has mislabelled the example. That would explain the contradiction with the Larry Cohen article.
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#9 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2017-July-11, 09:59

This is I believe a matter of nomenclature. Fourth Suit Forcing (4SF) is by rights specifically a convention relating to Responder's Rebid. Bidding the fourth suit later in the auction is often used as a stopper ask, in which case it is technically not 4SF but rather a Western Cue Bid. However, the similarities are enough that most UK players are happy to use the term 4SF to cover both cases.

In America, there is a widely held school of thought that the fourth suit later in the auction should be natural, sometimes called an Eastern Cue Bid. This difference makes it more important to differentiate properly between 4SF proper and other fourth suit cases.

In short, you should not worry too much about it and continue bidding the way you and your partner did in the first place. Whether you call it 4SF or not is also irrelevant. However, regardless of whether you call it $SF; a Western Cue Bid, or just a generic stopper ask, you have to alert it in the EBU. it is not the name of the convention that makes it alertable but rather the non-natural nature of the call.
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#10 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2017-July-11, 11:54

This may be a stupid question but Kaitlyn gave as an example the sequence 1D 2C 2D 2H 2S where 2S might be natural or might be forcing. We are novices and new partners and will not have discussed this so how is partner to know whether to alert or not?
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#11 User is offline   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2017-July-11, 12:37

View PostLiversidge, on 2017-July-11, 11:54, said:

This may be a stupid question but Kaitlyn gave as an example the sequence 1D 2C 2D 2H 2S where 2S might be natural or might be forcing. We are novices and new partners and will not have discussed this so how is partner to know whether to alert or not?

2S is forcing.
It is certainly a matter of agreement, if 2H was only forcing upto 2NT / 3D,
but 2S is forcing due to the fact, that 2H created a force upto ...
If it is natural, and responder has a 4 card suit, the partnership should be
able to play 3S or higher.
If responder has no 4 card suit, than for heavens sake, 2NT should have similar
play as 2S in a 4-3 fit.
....
2S natural, ok, I am not repeating my joke about the increased freq. of 5440 hands,
that materialize in N/A., ..., in fact I did, I could not resist, but you can agree
to play 2S as natural.
Given that I have a reasonable alternative with 2NT, I prefer 2S as art., asking for
further description, esp. about a possible stopper, but 2S nat. is ok.

Finally: The promised strength of the 2C bid matters, even in N/A 2C is not GF, but it
is inv.+. If you play a style, that includes the possibility, that you have only half
of the deck, even after the forward going 2H, you need all the brakes you have for stopping
as low as possible.

With kind regards
Marlowe
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#12 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2017-July-11, 13:34

Thank you Marlowe. My query is about alerting or not alerting a bid of the fourth suit, as my last post tried to explain. In the situation I described, how is partner to know whether to alert when she is not expert enough to know for certain from the bidding whether my last bid must be natural or artificial and forcing? If she plumps for artificial does she have to alert before bidding 3NT and when asked say 'I am assuming that is artificial' If she assumes it is natural but bids 3NT anyway does she just say nothing. And if she thinks it might be artificial but would have bid 3NT either way......?
This question would not arise after a bid of the fourth suit by responder on his second bid. Opener would simply alert every time.
Am I dancing on a pin here or is my question valid? Please bear in mind that I am a novice and am now feeling a bit out of my depth following the responses.
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#13 User is offline   Liversidge 

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Posted 2017-July-11, 15:03

Just had the answer to the 'alert' part of the question on the Laws and Rulings board. Under EBU regulations, if you are unsure whether partner's bid might be alertable, you must alert. Thanks for expanding my understanding of Fourth Suit Forcing in general.
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#14 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2017-July-11, 22:32

View PostZelandakh, on 2017-July-11, 09:59, said:

This is I believe a matter of nomenclature. Fourth Suit Forcing (4SF) is by rights specifically a convention relating to Responder's Rebid. Bidding the fourth suit later in the auction is often used as a stopper ask, in which case it is technically not 4SF but rather a Western Cue Bid. However, the similarities are enough that most UK players are happy to use the term 4SF to cover both cases.

In America, there is a widely held school of thought that the fourth suit later in the auction should be natural, sometimes called an Eastern Cue Bid. This difference makes it more important to differentiate properly between 4SF proper and other fourth suit cases.

In short, you should not worry too much about it and continue bidding the way you and your partner did in the first place. Whether you call it 4SF or not is also irrelevant. However, regardless of whether you call it $SF; a Western Cue Bid, or just a generic stopper ask, you have to alert it in the EBU. it is not the name of the convention that makes it alertable but rather the non-natural nature of the call.

I don't think you can have a cue bid, either eastern or western, in an uncontested auction.
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#15 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2017-July-12, 09:50

View Postblackshoe, on 2017-July-11, 22:32, said:

I don't think you can have a cue bid, either eastern or western, in an uncontested auction.

You are right on the proper nomenclature and it illustrates the point perfectly that the name you use is irrelevant when it comes to alerting. For all of these 4th suit cases, the EBU regulation is clear - you alert if the bid is not natural (ie showing length in context) and do not alert if it is. You also alert if the call is natural but has a potentially unexpected meaning in addition.

The case where there is no agreement and you are unsure if the bid is natural or not is also clear in the EBU. You alert if any of the potential meanings are alertable. In practice, this means that you pretty much alert every potentially dual-meaning bid below 3NT.
(-: Zel :-)
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#16 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2017-July-16, 21:33

Where I played in England, a bid in the fourth suit (either by opener or responder) was played as artificial and forcing (and, hence, alerted) in most partnerships.

This is a simple rule. Probably not "standard" and not optimal either, though, as there are some auctions, for example
1-1
1-1NT
2*
where the fourth suit is best played as natural and non-forcing (albeit probably encouraging).

I think the best advice to beginners and intermediates is to play it as always artificial, and then at some stage you can make exceptions for specific situations like the one above.
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