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Failure to Alert Support Double ACBL

#1 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 00:05



South's support double was not alerted. The table result was 2W-2, 200 for N/S.

At the end of the hand, South explained the failure to alert and East called the director. All four players are experienced tournament players, master points if it matters are 1600 (West), 3500 (North and South), 9700 (East). East told the director that his partner thought the double was penalty, which West confirmed when the director asked. North indicated that she knew N/S play support doubles but "didn't realize they applied in this situation" (yes I know that is very weird, North is getting older and has some offbeat moments at the table). South mentioned that West is an experienced player and could've protected himself by asking or looking at a CC, and that virtually no one plays double as penalty in this auction any more (and a takeout double would not have been alertable either).

What's the right ruling here?
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#2 User is offline   pran 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 02:01

In what way does E/W claim damage?
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#3 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 02:17

 pran, on 2011-May-20, 02:01, said:

In what way does E/W claim damage?

W passes 2 if this is not a penalty double (and 2 is making) rather than bidding 2, even if NS now make a partscore, it's less than 200.

In the UK with no alert, this X is takeout showing hearts (which is how we play it), what's the rule in the states ?
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#4 User is offline   qwery_hi 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 02:36

West should have looked at the CC.

I'm confused if it is allowed/ethical for West to ask North what the double was in the absence of any information on the CC. I remember asking a similar question at a tournament once, and the director was called, and also at the end of the hand and the whole experience was distasteful at the time that I didn't bother to find out what the issue was. Now, however, I just want to know what the proper thing to do is (kinda like knowing which damn spoon to use at a formal dinner), and get on with playing bridge.


 awm, on 2011-May-20, 00:05, said:



South's support double was not alerted. The table result was 2W-2, 200 for N/S.

At the end of the hand, South explained the failure to alert and East called the director. All four players are experienced tournament players, master points if it matters are 1600 (West), 3500 (North and South), 9700 (East). East told the director that his partner thought the double was penalty, which West confirmed when the director asked. North indicated that she knew N/S play support doubles but "didn't realize they applied in this situation" (yes I know that is very weird, North is getting older and has some offbeat moments at the table). South mentioned that West is an experienced player and could've protected himself by asking or looking at a CC, and that virtually no one plays double as penalty in this auction any more (and a takeout double would not have been alertable either).

What's the right ruling here?

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#5 User is offline   bluejak 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 06:19

 qwery_hi, on 2011-May-20, 02:36, said:

I'm confused if it is allowed/ethical for West to ask North what the double was in the absence of any information on the CC.

As a matter of Law you may ask the meaning of any call at your turn to call or play [unless you are dummy].

:ph34r:

As to the hand, I am not sure where West is coming from or what he is on. Certainly if we adjust we do so for N/S only: the whole cause of E/W's bad score was the worst 2 bid I have ever seen which must be SEWoG.

As for MI, I thought "everyone" played support doubles in the ACBL. If West is experienced and knows that North is getting older :) I think the failure to ask very strange. Actually, I don't play support doubles when I play in the ACBL but I don't play penalty doubles either! My experience in the ACBL is that support doubles are usually not alerted, even if they should be.
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#6 User is offline   Jeremy69A 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 06:23

Agree with others. No adjustment for EW as the damage is entirely self-inflicted. If it were a penalty double why is playing in a poor 4 card suit better than a singleton honour in partner's suit. Perhaps partner is in the habit of overcalling 2C on K543! :lol: Gentle warning to North to alert support doubles. I would not adjust their score.
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#7 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 07:03

 bluejak, on 2011-May-20, 06:19, said:

As a matter of Law you may ask the meaning of any call at your turn to call or play [unless you are dummy].

:ph34r:

As to the hand, I am not sure where West is coming from or what he is on. Certainly if we adjust we do so for N/S only: the whole cause of E/W's bad score was the worst 2 bid I have ever seen which must be SEWoG.

As for MI, I thought "everyone" played support doubles in the ACBL. If West is experienced and knows that North is getting older :) I think the failure to ask very strange. Actually, I don't play support doubles when I play in the ACBL but I don't play penalty doubles either! My experience in the ACBL is that support doubles are usually not alerted, even if they should be.


Not everyone plays support doubles. I would say most reasonably good regular partnerships do, but that's a relatively small subset, especially around here.

The whole attitude that "screw the rules, I don't have to follow them if I don't want to" in the ACBL, and with which TDs allow players to get away, sucks IMO. Support doubles require an alert. Failure to alert them is MI. That said, I agree that 2 is SEWoG. I wouldn't adjust either — the 2 bid is so crazy I suspect that West would have made it even if South had passed, so the MI didn't cause any damage.
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#8 User is offline   G_R__E_G 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 07:38

I'm going to disagree with the majority here. While West's 2 bid may have been stupid (aka SEWoG), it is almost a certainty that they wouldn't have made it if the support double had been alerted. I think in cases like this you need to err on the side of caution towards the NOS.
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#9 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 09:58

 Cyberyeti, on 2011-May-20, 02:17, said:

In the UK with no alert, this X is takeout showing hearts (which is how we play it), what's the rule in the states ?


Unfortunately the ACBL alert regulations about doubles are extremely vague. Basically a double should be alerted if its meaning is "highly unexpected."

This auction is strange because the "most expected" meaning of double amongst tournament players is probably a support double... but support doubles are used as an example somewhere in the regulations and definitely require an alert.

"Rules on the ground" seem to be that a double in this position which was any of penalty, takeout, or "general values" would not require an alert. Yes, I know this is sort of nonsensical -- the most common meaning (support) needs an alert and of two entirely opposite and potentially unusual meanings (takeout and penalty) neither requires an alert.
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#10 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 12:37

I think I fall on the evil, evil, but designed for exactly this case "Players who, by experience or expertise, recognize that their opponents have neglected to Alert a special agreement will be expected to protect themselves" line in the Alert chart.

Enough people don't Alert Support doubles that this one should be checked, especially if the opponents aren't novices - and someone with 1900 monsterpoints should know that.

Someone with 3500 monsterpoints should know that it's Alertable, however, and I'm very happy to PP them (after all, it'll be less damage than ruling against them). I'm not sure I'm willing to rule against them, even for their side only, because of the regulation (which is in there for the exact purpose of "expert knows that if this is penalty, he should run (not in this case, but frequently, "because this way at least I play it, and not the client"); if it's support, I'll call the TD later and get the better of the two scores (and the TD will play 2Cx, not the client)." Encouraging this behaviour, isn't welcome here, so.)

As I said, it's a "worst possible (except for all the others)" regulation.
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#11 User is offline   kevperk 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 13:37

If the only unalerted meaning of the double is penalty, then EW are damaged. But this is not the case. A takeout double in this situation is not alertable. Result stands.
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#12 User is offline   alphatango 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 13:43

 mycroft, on 2011-May-20, 12:37, said:

I think I fall on the evil, evil, but designed for exactly this case "Players who, by experience or expertise, recognize that their opponents have neglected to Alert a special agreement will be expected to protect themselves" line in the Alert chart.

Enough people don't Alert Support doubles that this one should be checked(...)


Hiss. :P I would also deny E/W an adjustment, but I strongly disagree with this application of the regulation, except perhaps in the case where the players in question are known to be novices.

I am not completely familiar with the regulations in place, but it seems to be the case that there is at least one non-alertable meaning, and that the support double should be alerted. When there is no alert, the opponents are entitled to assume that it has one of the non-alertable meanings.

I think you can only overcome this presumption if there is evidence that the opponents should have been particularly suspicious. Four cases spring to mind: (1) because of the regulations, the call in question must always be alerted, (2) because the opponents know that the pair in question have a relevant agreement (e.g. there is evidence that they have read the relevant portion of the system card), (3) because a previous explanation implies that the bid should be alertable, (4) because the player in question is known to be inexperienced enough not to know when to alert.

In the present case, I see no reason for the opponents to be particularly suspicious. They have the right to assume that the pair in question, being at least somewhat experienced, knows the alerting regulations and will alert appropriately; the fact that others frequently do not merely means that they should, if damaged, expect an adjustment against those pairs as well. One can sensibly deny them redress on other grounds, but not this one.
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#13 User is offline   Bbradley62 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 14:15

 bluejak, on 2011-May-20, 06:19, said:

 qwery_hi, on 2011-May-20, 02:36, said:

I'm confused if it is allowed/ethical for West to ask North what the double was in the absence of any information on the CC. I remember asking a similar question at a tournament once, and the director was called, and also at the end of the hand and the whole experience was distasteful at the time that I didn't bother to find out what the issue was.

As a matter of Law you may ask the meaning of any call at your turn to call or play [unless you are dummy].

It's not quite that simple. You cannot ask questions for partner's benefit, and you could have trouble by asking questions that convey UI to partner about your hand.
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#14 User is offline   FrancesHinden 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 14:45

 alphatango, on 2011-May-20, 13:43, said:

In the present case, I see no reason for the opponents to be particularly suspicious. They have the right to assume that the pair in question, being at least somewhat experienced, knows the alerting regulations and will alert appropriately; the fact that others frequently do not merely means that they should, if damaged, expect an adjustment against those pairs as well. One can sensibly deny them redress on other grounds, but not this one.


I completely agree with this. With the exception of some _very_ rare cases, if something is not alerted you should assume it is not alertable.
However, if it is true, as stated elsewhere in the post, that a take-out double does not need alerting then no damage, no adjustment.
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#15 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2011-May-20, 17:49

 FrancesHinden, on 2011-May-20, 14:45, said:

I completely agree with this. With the exception of some _very_ rare cases, if something is not alerted you should assume it is not alertable.
However, if it is true, as stated elsewhere in the post, that a take-out double does not need alerting then no damage, no adjustment.

Is that correct ? if your perception is that 70% of people play it as support (which this can't be as it's unalerted) and the other 30% play it as penalties, then you clearly have no recourse if it actually was takeout, but if you thought that even if takeout would be unalerted that nobody in your neck of the woods played it as that, you could still get an adjustment when it turned out to be support rather than penalties.
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