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Just how forcing is the Fourth Suit Forcing bid?


This is in response to your question:  I've seen Fourth Suit Forcing played two ways. Some play the convention as forcing to game while others play it only as one round force. Which  method is better?

Bridge players are creative types, some mavericks, some following one approach or another, and on a precious few methods everyone actually is in agreement.

Fortunately, the Fourth Suit Forcing question generally breaks down into the two groups you mentioned.   Usually when you see a convention as Fourth Suit Forcing played more than one way, it implies each method has advantages and disadvantages.  That's certainly true with Fourth Suit Forcing.  Here's a rundown of
what several leading teachers feel:

Game forcing: Marty Bergen (Better Bidding With Bergen, Mike Lawrence (Conventions CD Software), Audrey Grant (Commonly Used Conventions), Barbara Seagram/Marc Smith (25 Bridge Conventions You Should Know)

One round forcing: Max Hardy (Standard Bridge Bidding for the 21st Century), Frank Stewart (Becoming a Bridge Expert), Bridge World Standard

Mike Lawrence does a good job summing up the game forcing argument, saying:

My big objection to one round forcing is that they will come with exceptions. You will end up with lots of little rules to remember. I am fully prepared to play either way but when I do, they always seem to require a little extra discussion.

The Bridge World Standard indeed discusses these exceptions - when fourth suit forcing is one round versus when it's game forcing...

In summary, as long as a partnership is willing to delve into the nuances and subtleties of invitational versus game forcing sequences, the more sophisticated one round forcing can work well. But if the extra memory work and pre-game discussions and agreements are a premium, it's often best to stick to fourth suit game forcing.



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