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4th Suit by Responder

Responder Bidding 4th suit at the 2 level can we used to show a very weak hand. By Mike Savage

Most experts play that if the auction goes without interference:

1C-1H-2D-2S, 1C-1S-2D-2H & for some 1C-1D-1H-1S, bidding 4th suit is weak (usually)

Sometime responder has no “good” bid after a reverse by opener,

For instance: 1C-1H-2D-2S, 1C-1S-2D-2H and responder has no stopper in the 4th suit and partner would expect a stopper for a 2NT rebid and would not know if responder has a bare minimum if he bid 2NT with a stopper. So, bidding 4th suit here warns opener that responder probably has a bare minimum hand with no spade stopper and will probably pass opener’s next bid (usually 2NT or three of opener’s minor)

Occasionally opposite a reverse, responder will have values for game but no stopper in the 4th suit so if he bids 4th suit and opener rebids 2NT, he can raise to 3NT Such a hand might be. xxx KQxx Qxx Jxx after a 1C-1H-2D , over 1C-1S-2D:  KQxx xxx  Jxx  Qxx

With these hands if opener/reverser can bid 2NT, he will raise to 3NT and if he rebids his opening minor, responder will raise, showing he has nice values but just no stopper in the 4th suit. With these understandings, if responder rebids 2NT he will have a stopper in the 4th suit & a bare minimum response (if he has a stopper and game values, he bids 3NT)

As to the sequence: 1C-1D-1H-1S, bidding 1S can also be used as a mark-time bid, almost always with a minimum response (6-8/9), denies 4 spades and has no spade stopper. This follows the Walsh style of bypassing bidding 1D when responder also has 4 spades – unless he has opening values and even then if he is 4-4 in diamonds and spades he would respond 1S. Using 1S to be artificial allows opener to rebid 1NT with a spade stopper or rebid a minor. Playing 1S is artificial, then a jump rebid of 2S (1C-1D-1H-2S) shows opening values with five or more diamonds and four spades. A jump consumes bidding space, but in this case showing 5-4 in two suits and opening or better values gives a jump start as to what game or slam will be bid. (a useful use of a space consuming jump).

Occasionally after a 1S rebid by responder, presumedly showing a weak hand with no spade stopper, if opener bids 1NT, responder might have a hand to invite game but no spade stopper and then raise 1NT to 2NT and if opener rebids his minor for instance, responder might also raise that, showing invitational values but probably with only 3-card support.

Also the failure to bid 4th suit by responder and he bids three of opener’s minor that should mean that opposite a reverse, the responder probably has enough values for game, say 8-9+ HCP as with a really bad hand he would bid 4th suit first to warn partner.