Herman De Wael | 18 Feb 09:54 2015


Let me tell you a story about my club tournament yesterday.

The bidding starts 1Cl-pass-1Sp. This is alerted.

My partner asks, and the answer is "we play Walsh, not transfer Walsh".

My partner bids 2Sp. "NOT Transfer Walsh" says the opponent.

"Oh, I understood you did play T-Walsh" (both systems are alertable in 

"In that case, I will pass", says my partner. The opponents don't object.

RHO bids 3NT and I'm on lead.
I wish to not-use the UI I have, so I prepare a diamond lead. But I 
decide to complete the ruling and offer declarer the chance to refuse or 
demand a spade lead. He asks for the spade lead, takes the first trick 
with the Spade Ace and proceeds to make 9 tricks.
On a diamond lead we would have taken the first 5 tricks.

Morale: even if the opponents don't want to punish the change of call, 
it's best to follow the rules (and I did check afterwards, L26 seems 
applicable even after an accepted change of call).

We managed to win the tournament even after than.

And before you comment on us accepting such a blatant change of call, my 
partner is 82 and suffering from terminal cancer (hopefully progressing 
very slowly).

(Continue reading)

David Grabiner | 17 Feb 17:00 2015

How do you determine whether an insufficient bid is conventional?

Under what circumstances is an insufficient bid conventional?  Does it depend on 
the bidder's state of mind (that is, the same insufficient bid may be 
conventional if intended as conventional, and natural if intended as natural?)

For example:

N   E   S
1S  4H  3C

If South thought the overcall was a pass, then 3C was conventional because this 
N-S pair plays Bergen raises (7-9 points with four spades).  If South thought 
the overcall was 2H, then 3C was natural.  If you ask South, or look at South's 
hand, and rule accordingly, you give North UI.

And you need to know whether the bid was conventional even if South chooses not 
to correct to 5C.  What happened at the table is that South bid 4S, and West 
went on to 5H.  Now, if 3C showed clubs, North is subject to a lead penalty in 
clubs; if 3C showed spades, there is no lead penalty since 4S also showed 
spades.  (And without looking at South's hand, you can't tell; South might have 
bid 3C and corrected the insufficient bid to 4S on something like Kxx xx Kxx 
AQTxx on which he intended to bid a natural 3C and then 4S.) 

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Robert Frick | 8 Feb 15:21 2015

predictable system violations

1. An expert house player is playing with a beginner. They agree to play odd-even discards; the house player
knows the beginner doesn't know what those mean. What should the opponents be told about discards when
they ask?

2. Someone (my parter, actually), agrees to play that a weak two bids show 2 of the top 3 honors, even though
this is not good bridge. Then, when she realizes it is not good bridge, she opens a weak two with only one of
the top three honors. Is it okay that the opps are told she has two of the top three?

3. Their card says 10+ for overcalls. He overcalls with 8 HCP, and has no explanation except that he wanted
to. Can he fill out his card this way?

4. They agree to play 5-card majors, an opening 1 Diamond shows 4, and an opening 1 Club shows 3. Then, in the
face of 4-4-3-2, they open 1 Club and the opponents are told this shows 3. Is that fair?

5. Playing opening 15-17 HCP no trumps opens 1 NT with only 14 HCP. If he miscounted points, fine. If he forgot
his agreement, fine. If he has a good hand that really has the strength of 15 HCP (for example, all of the
tens), fine. If he decided to psyche? Fine. But if he did it because he likes to open 1NT with 14 HCP? I have a
problem with that.

There is a common theme here, of course. The current laws require only that players describe their
agreement. It does not require them to follow their agreement or explain what they actually play.
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Richard Hills | 22 Dec 02:45 2014

Silent Psyche, Holy Psyche

Dlr: West
Vul: Nil
The bidding has gone:
1H(1)     Pass     3H(2)   ?
(1) 5-card major
(2) limit raise, 4-card support
You, South, hold:
What call do you make?
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Herman De Wael | 28 Nov 10:17 2014

not being quiet

For those of you missing the regular banter, here's my best story from 
Sanya (World Championships)
All the tournaments are being played with screens.
I get called for an insufficient bid. North 1H - East 1D.
"Just change it" I say.
"But they've seen it" says North. South confirms.
"who pushed the tray?". general wonder.
"I never touch the tray" says East.
"I did not push it" says North.
There is a kibitzer to North's right; "what did you see?"
"I saw nothing, I was talking to North".
So I make my decision.
"In all likelihood, North pushed without noticing that the bid was 
I go to South.
"The bid has been accepted by your partner - you just bid on".
South takes out a 1Sp bid, but says "but wait a minute, it was West who 
opened the screen in order to check the bridgemate!"
West confirms this.
So I change my ruling. The tray was pushed, if such is the word, by 
West, so the insufficient bid has to be ruled upon. I start:
"You have the right to accept this bid ..."
"that's what I'll do then" says South and he puts the 1Sp which he was 
holding already, on the tray.

Morale of the story:
The writers of the regulations need to write "if the tray has been 
_moved_ to the other side by the offending _side_" in order to vover all 


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bmeadows666 | 27 Nov 20:53 2014

All gone quiet

Apologies for the test message, but I've seen no messages on this list
for more than a month. 

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Konrad Ciborowski | 20 Oct 10:24 2014

Does not knowing your system invalidate an agreement?

Hi gang,

Let's say I agree to play a bidding system / a convention / a lead system with my partner.
For the sake of argument let's say my first time French partner offers me to play "Majeure Cinquième"
and I say "OK", and we have our CC filled.

Let's say that I then open 1NT on 12 points. Let's say that the opponents end up with a poor score
because they expect me to hold a stronger hand (for example they misdefend).

You are called to the table and after a few questions you discover that I opened 1NT because
I genuinely, truly believed that the weak NT is an integral part of the French standard
(which is of course not the case). Our CC says "1NT 15-17".

Your ruling? The question that bothers me is:

What is our agreement in the light of L40? I see two options:

1° Our agreement is Majeure Cinquième (and thus strong NT) and I just don't know
the system I have agreed to play but this is purely my problem, no MI
2° De facto we have no agreement at all as to the meaning of the 1NT call (because
one of us is convinced 1NT = 15-17 and the other 1NT = 12-14) 
and thus the opponents were misinformed.

Your thoughts?

Best regards,
Kraków, Poland
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Robert Frick | 20 Oct 02:53 2014

Play (play what?)

It's come up twice in the last month. Declarer said "play". Dummy was  
following suit.

In one case declarer's "play" was accompanied by a wave of the hand, the  
second time it was not. In both cases, it was obvious that declarer should  
want to play the high card.

Of course, this could be treated as equivalent to saying just the suit. Or  
it could be a truly ambiguous call, to which dummy is supposed to answer  
"play what?".

I suppose it depends on whether, in that region, the word "play" is  
typically used to designate a small card.

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Robert Geller | 11 Oct 16:18 2014

Mispull or 36B?

North DLR
-	1H	X	X

The director is called. South claims a mispull of XX.

Should the director approve this claim, or should L36 be applied?
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Steve Willner | 8 Oct 15:51 2014

Re: passing over an unalerted artifical bid

On 2014-10-07 7:34 AM, Herman De Wael wrote:
> Because he DOESN'T FIND out that partner would not have doubled.

This is where we disagree.  In my view, once the MI is corrected, the TD 
explains that the NOS should _assume_ that the auction would be 
unchanged.  If the auction would have changed, of course the NOS are 
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Robert Frick | 8 Oct 03:50 2014

Re: passing over an unalerted artifical bid

On Tue, 07 Oct 2014 02:30:56 -0400, Konrad Ciborowski <Cibor <at> poczta.fm>  

>> It seems to me that once opening leader knows his partner wouldn't have
>> doubled (2H in this case) for the lead, he is in the same position
>> regardless of whether he finds this out during the auction or during the
>> correction period.
> No, he isn't. If the 2H is alerted in time then partner's pass over 2H
> means "I don't have a clear preference for the heart lead".
> For example partner cannot have KQJxx in hearts for instance or else he  
> would have
> doubled the artificial 2H.
> That's why there is a slight preference for selecting a diamond.
> As it went the pass over 2H is meaningless. As the opening leader
> I appreciate the late correction but now my partner _can_ have
> KQJxx in hearts or the like (he couldn't have doubled 2H because he  
> thought
> that 2H was natural). So on the bidding there is no preference for
> leading either suit.

To perhaps paraphrase Steve's position, a pass is a pass. Had the bid been  
alerted the player would have done the same thing -- passed.

You and Herman are arguing that a pass over a natural bid is not the same  
as a pass over an artificial bid. When I take this player who passed aside  
and ask if he would have done something different, does he say, "Yes, I  
would have passed to deny a strong interest in a heart lead"?

Konrad, the practical difficulties with your answer, technically correct  
or not, seem really large. Right now, if someone forgets to alert  
new-minor-forcing (common), I look if the hand behind the artificial bid  
and see if they might have doubled instead of passed. Usually not and I go  
back to all my other tasks.

You are suggesting that I always have to do a lot more work than this. I  
doubt directors do this. I am not fond of the idea.

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