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Fourth suit forcing

The only bids that force partner to speak again are bids in new suits. It follows that when the first three bids between the partners are in different suits, the only forcing bid left is a bid of the fourth suit. Such a bid does not show the suit - merely a hand going for game but needing to know more about partner’s hand. 

South Deals
Both Vul
♠ A K 7 5 3
8 7
J 7 6
♣ K Q 6
♠ J 9
Q J 9 4
K Q 5 3 2
♣ 4 2
N
W   E
S
♠ Q 10 8 4
10 6
A 10 8 4
♣ 10 5 3
  ♠ 6 2
A K 5 3 2
9
♣ A J 9 8 7
West North East South
      1
Pass 1 ♠ Pass 2 ♣
Pass 2 Pass 3 ♣
Pass 5 ♣ Pass Pass
Pass

 

 North’s 2♦ bid was “fourth suit forcing” and South’s 3♣ bid revealed the fifth ♣, enabling North to bid 5♣. West led ♦K and continued with a low ♦, South trumping East’s ♦A. With four top tricks in the major suits, he needed to score seven trump tricks to pull off a successful “crossruff”. To avoid the risk of a defender overtrumping with the ten and returning a trump, he took every precaution.

He cashed ♠AK, ♥AK, trumped ♥2 with ♣Q, trumped ♠3 with ♣J, trumped ♥3 with ♣K, trumped ♠5 with ♣A and trumped ♥5 with ♣6. East overtrumped with ♣10 but declarer claimed the last two tricks with ♣98.

ANDREW’S TIP: When the first three bids between a partnership are in different suits, a bid of the fourth suit shows a game going hand and asks partner to describe his hand further.

 

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