My goal will therefore be to relay the work of bridge experts/researchers and give you my version of what I find.
This time, we will examine opener’s “garbage” bid when he finds himself opposite a fourth suit forcing. One of the possible situations.
In this sequence, the fourth suit forcing does not indicate anything in particular, except a minimum of 11H. It asks opener to reply with the most interesting information about his hand. Unfortunately, there are times when you don’t have anything special to show, whether it’s about distribution, extra strength or even a stopper in the fourth suit. In this case, you must use a “garbage” bid.
1. The classic system and its disadvantages
The classic system consists in repeating opener’s first suit as a “garbage” bid. While this can be attractive after a major suit opening, it is not when opener’s first suit is a minor. Some experts have realized that the chances of holding five cards in the second suit are lower after an opening in a minor suit. On the other hand, it could be attractive to describe an unbalanced hand with supplemental length in the first suit. Examples:
In the first example, it is easy to see that bidding 3♣ takes up a lot of space. What is more, in the classic system, you cannot tell if opener has four Clubs without interest or if he has five good cards or even six or seven.
In the second example, it’s less annoying to bid 2♦ because it is the lowest possible bid. However, responder does not know more about opener’s distribution when the latterrebids 2♦.
When we look at the third example, if you bid 3♦ as “garbage”, responder can raise neither Diamonds nor Clubs without going past 3NT.
For the fourth example, it’s different. 2♥ is the cheapest bid, so it is more attractive to use it. However, since responder has no Heart support, he probably wants to know for sure if you have a fifth Club.
2. Presentation of our innovation
In order to avoid all these problems discussed above, many experts have decided to use opener’s second suit as a “garbage” bid
when the opening bid is a minor and responder’s first reply is at the one-level. This way of doing things leaves more bidding space most of the time (except when the fourth suit is 2♣). But above all, as you will discover in the following, it allows responder to have a more precise idea of opener’s distribution and to show a fit the minors before 3NT. Here are the “garbage” bids of the new system of replies to a fourth suit forcing:
This implies of course that one can no longer use a repetition of the second suit to describe five cards. But you will see in the following examples that this is not really a problem.