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Non-jump to 4 of a minor after game force auction. Definitely Game Forcing ?

#1 User is offline   MinorKid 

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Posted 2021-May-02, 03:00

In the books and internet articles, when one of us proceed to 4 of agreed minor suit after game-forcing sequence (e.g. 2/1, fsf, 1m-2m-new suit), it is agreed as natural, forcing and is slam related.

In reality, we came across hands that will use the 4m bid which
1. that seems no alternative but to escape to 4m (after stopper bid) and
2. that would like to invite partner to 5m with the 4m bid (say 1D-2D-2H-3D-4D-Pass/5D).

It seems to me that these type of hands is bid similarly (or even same) to the articles but from it says such sequences it is slam related (forcing to 5m).

How do you guys distinguish between those possibilities? In 2/1 system and inverted minor systems, is there any difference with the use of non-jump 4m bid in IMP and MP ?

In the local club we played MP before, I reckon many intermediate players sometimes leave 4m in play uncontested!
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#2 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-May-02, 04:11

Good question, and I don't know of a short answer. The example auction you give is in my opinion not GF (responder showed a shapely minimum with 3, if opener was interested in slam they could have made a control bid below 4). In general I think 4m is only NF in the following situations:
  • One of the two hands is limited down to a point or two and partner had other forcing calls available (both conditions have to be met simultaneously)
  • We are running, for example if our 3NT gets doubled or if partner doubled something for takeout on the 3-level/bid a stopper ask and we don't have one.
  • We are on some non-constructive auction (preempting the opponents).


There are probably others I'm missing. It doesn't cost much to make the simple partnership agreement that "4m is always forcing" (and at MP you can add the joke that 5m is also forcing). The expected returns on bidding on versus mistakenly passing 4m are so lopsided that if there is any doubt at all, the bid should be forcing.
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#3 User is offline   MinorKid 

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Posted 2021-May-02, 07:48

I recalled once i have 18hcp 2-3-4-4 and it went uncontestly 1d-1s-2nt-4d, i presumed p was looking for some sort of slam, but turn out we went down one in 5d. All she wanted was to play in 4d (smth like Qxxx xx QJxxxx x). I did ask responder why not to rebid 3d instead, she throught 3d was sort of inv/force to 3N, We hven't discussed what intention was behind 1d-1s-2nt-3d-3nt-4d.
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#4 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-May-02, 09:27

When to stop in 4 is a very difficult part of any set of agreements. So much so that many players play "2/1 is game forcing, 4m isn't game" just so that they don't have to figure it out at the table. Not the best agreement, but strictly better than "one of the pair thinks it's to play".

Having said that, an agreement I'm in favour of (because when it's wrong, oh well. When it's not wrong, you just don't have to worry about partner getting it wrong - and that's more often) is "after an 18-19 2NT rebid, the only non-GF call is pass". Playing that, 3 *is* a game force. Play 2NT (or 3NT, at least at IMPs - if the diamonds come in, you're making it. If they don't, you're not making 2). If it's wrong, you'll have company.
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#5 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-May-02, 11:08

IMO the “stopper show “ bidding of inverted minors is dumb and wasted space. Shape showing is a better idea. Shape-showing should also alleviate the question of 4 level forcing or not.
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#6 User is online   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-May-02, 11:26

In my partnerships, which are imp oriented, our calculus is that stopping in 4m, once the partnership has forced to 3N or beyond, is an exceedingly narrow target, while exploring for slam is far more rewarding when relevant. Accordingly, unless it is obvious that we’re in trouble, 4m (in an uncontested auction or as a jump response to a takeout double (such as (2S) x (p) 4m is forcing)

We don’t worry about inverted auctions since our methods identify game interest/values early.

1D 2D is limit or better.

Opener bids 2H with all game force acceptances, 2S with an unbalanced game try, and 2N/3D with balanced/unbalanced minimums.

Over 2H, responder limits his hand artificially via 2S, and other bids are showing original game values and either balanced or shortness, with artificial rebids

Over 2S, responder can ask by bidding 2N or show a poor limit by bidding 3D

A similar approach exists over 1C 2C, with 2D now being the unbalanced game try.

There’s more to it, but the object is to identify game interest or game force low without telling the opps any more than is needed for us to make a good decision. We generally don’t worry too much about stoppers with two balanced hands.

So it would be extremely unusual for us to reach 4m without the values for at least 5m.
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#7 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-May-02, 14:10

View Postmikeh, on 2021-May-02, 11:26, said:

In my partnerships, which are imp oriented, our calculus is that stopping in 4m, once the partnership has forced to 3N or beyond, is an exceedingly narrow target, while exploring for slam is far more rewarding when relevant. Accordingly, unless it is obvious that we’re in trouble, 4m (in an uncontested auction or as a jump response to a takeout double (such as (2S) x (p) 4m is forcing)


We don’t worry about inverted auctions since our methods identify game interest/values early.

1D 2D is limit or better.

Opener bids 2H with all game force acceptances, 2S with an unbalanced game try, and 2N/3D with balanced/unbalanced minimums.

Over 2H, responder limits his hand artificially via 2S, and other bids are showing original game values and either balanced or shortness, with artificial rebids

Over 2S, responder can ask by bidding 2N or show a poor limit by bidding 3D

A similar approach exists over 1C 2C, with 2D now being the unbalanced game try.

There’s more to it, but the object is to identify game interest or game force low without telling the opps any more than is needed for us to make a good decision. We generally don’t worry too much about stoppers with two balanced hands.

So it would be extremely unusual for us to reach 4m without the values for at least 5m.


I like this take on inverted - no one cares about stoppers at the 1-level when opener rebids 1nt so why doesn’t opener simply bid 2nt with a balanced hand over an inverted raise?
Good for you that you found a better way to use inverted minors than stopper showing.
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#8 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-May-02, 14:42

I'm really happy we don't bid 2NT without extra values after an inverted raise. The stopper-showing part is mostly for simplicity, some bids to distinguish between strength and shape (and a bust) are likely to be more valuable.
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#9 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-May-02, 18:17

View PostDavidKok, on 2021-May-02, 14:42, said:

I'm really happy we don't bid 2NT without extra values after an inverted raise. The stopper-showing part is mostly for simplicity, some bids to distinguish between strength and shape (and a bust) are likely to be more valuable.

2nt and 3 of the minor are both weakish as I play. Regardless, I think stopper bidding is a poor choice. If you want to win a bunch of imps, reach a 24hcp minor-suit game based on fit. It’s not hard to bid 3nt.
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