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Legally withdrawn call follow-ups Australia, IMPs, no screens

#1 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-February-20, 03:36

A few weeks ago I had an interesting situation with a delayed alert where there was an option to withdraw a bid such that the withdrawn bid was AI to the NOS but UI to the OS. The hand was as follows:


When East enquired about the 2 bid as he was thinking of pulling 4 out of the box, it was revealed that 2 was artificial and had not been alerted. West called the TD who explained that West could withdraw his 2 bid and change it to any legal call in which case the information conveyed by the initial 2 bid would be AI to East-West but UI to North-South. West perceived some potential advantage in changing his 2 to pass and did so. TD then further clarified the UI situation for North-South along the lines of they are not allowed to take account of the 2 overcall in the way they bid the rest of the hand and in the play can't play West to have length in until same is demonstrably suggested by other AI in the remaining auction and/or play. South bid a fairly meek 4 after East's pass and duly lost 11 imps against the slam bid in the other room and they moved on to the next board.

The hypothetical ruling on the hand is in the situation where East instead of passing over 2 bids 4 and then North-South go on to bid their slam. With the fact that West had a overcall over a non-alerted 2 bid, this delayed 4 bid out of the blue by East after passing twice already looks like it has -1100/1400 written all over it so it may be reasonable to conclude that penalising 4 is a viable option for North-South absent the UI that West also holds a suit.

As the TD, would you entertain an adjustment to 4xE-3 for NS +500?

A similar situation came up last week with the following auction:

West alerted 1 (which, btw, had been correctly pre-alerted at the start of the 5-board round) after South had bid 1 and South elected to muddy the waters with a change of 1 to pass creating a UI situation for East-West, but North would have the AI that South holds a suit. When South changed his 1 bid to pass (and West chose to still pass) a few interesting issues arose.

Because South has already promised 4+, in the North-South methods a 1 bid by North would show 2-3 and 2 by North would show 4, but for East-West should they be alerted to the adjusted meanings of 1 or 2 which are affected by the UI of South holding 4; or do East-West need to proceed as if North has an unbalanced hand which is what 1 and 2 would mean if South had passed after an alerted 1 overcall?
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#2 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2012-February-20, 04:25

View Postmrdct, on 2012-February-20, 03:36, said:

As the TD, would you entertain an adjustment to 4xE-3 for NS +500?


No, I can't imagine either North or South doubling 4 when they've already found their spade fit. If anything, I think the 4 would be more likely to spur them on towards slam.

View Postmrdct, on 2012-February-20, 03:36, said:

West alerted 1 (which, btw, had been correctly pre-alerted at the start of the 5-board round) after South had bid 1 and South elected to muddy the waters with a change of 1 to pass creating a UI situation for East-West, but North would have the AI that South holds a suit.

Presumably the TD was satisfied that the 1 bid was influenced by the failure to alert, pre-alert notwithstanding?
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#3 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-February-20, 04:57

View Postgordontd, on 2012-February-20, 04:25, said:

Presumably the TD was satisfied that the 1 bid was influenced by the failure to alert, pre-alert notwithstanding?

In the North-South methods, 1 over a natural 1 overcall is unambiguously showing 4+ but over an artificial 1 overcall it moves into "undiscussed" territory as North-South had never encountered this defence to a nebulous club before and when it was prealerted amongst a range of other things at the start of the round they didn't agree on what impact it would have on their general structure of t#$%*fers after one-level intervention.

South new very well that 1 was 13-18 balanced when it hit the table and wanted to show his suit but was a little bit reluctant to bid as he wasn't sure if partner would take his next bid as a t#$%*fer or not. With the non-alert, he felt he had a safe 1 bid as over a non-alerted (and presumedly natural) 1 there could no confusion and if he gets the chance to withdraw it so things will be even more clear for partner.
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#4 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2012-February-20, 05:03

View Postmrdct, on 2012-February-20, 04:57, said:

In the North-South methods, 1 over a natural 1 overcall is unambiguously showing 4+ but over an artificial 1 overcall it moves into "undiscussed" territory as North-South had never encountered this defence to a nebulous club before and when it was prealerted amongst a range of other things at the start of the round they didn't agree on what impact it would have on their general structure of transfers after one-level intervention.

Fair enough.

View Postmrdct, on 2012-February-20, 04:57, said:

South new very well that 1 was 13-18 balanced when it hit the table and wanted to show his suit but was a little bit reluctant to bid as he wasn't sure if partner would take his next bid as a transfer or not. With the non-alert, he felt he had a safe 1 bid as over a non-alerted (and presumedly natural) 1 there could no confusion and if he gets the chance to withdraw it so things will be even more clear for partner.

That doesn't sound at all as though the 1 bid was influenced by misinformation due to the failure to alert.
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#5 User is offline   WellSpyder 

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Posted 2012-February-20, 05:24

View Postmrdct, on 2012-February-20, 03:36, said:

... West perceived some potential advantage in changing his 2 to pass and did so...
...South elected to muddy the waters with a change of 1 to pass ....

Gordontd has already raised this issue in the second case, but there seems to be a possible general misunderstanding here. The situation is not like an insufficient bid, for example, where NOS has pure discretion over whether or not to accept the bid. In the case of MI, it is only possible to change the bid if the decision to make the withdrawn bid could have been influenced by the MI. So you certainly can't just decide to change your call because you perceive some potential advantage or some scope to muddy the waters.
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#6 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-February-20, 05:50

The test in Law 21B is "a player may change a call without other rectification for his side when the Director judges that the decision to make the call could well have been influenced by misinformation". I would tend to take the view that "could well have been" is a pretty low threshold and certainly a lot lower than "likely", "was", etc. In the second case, South had an automatic 1 bid over a natural 1 overcall but taking the same action over an artificial 1 carried some risk of having a misunderstanding so I think it's fair to say that the non-alert may well have influenced the decision to bid 1 rather than pass.
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#7 User is offline   c_corgi 

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Posted 2012-February-20, 06:08

Is there a distinction between the following:
a) It is AI to N that S has 4+S from the withdrawn 1H call.
b) S may withdraw the 1H call but N/S may still play 'system on' as if the 1H call had been made.

I would think that a) does not necessarily imply b), in fact that b) seems inappropriate. Although it may be that situations could be constructed whereby not playing system on in the light of the AI would be ridiculous. Is there a precedent here?
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#8 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2012-February-20, 06:17

View Postmrdct, on 2012-February-20, 05:50, said:

The test in Law 21B is "a player may change a call without other rectification for his side when the Director judges that the decision to make the call could well have been influenced by misinformation". I would tend to take the view that "could well have been" is a pretty low threshold and certainly a lot lower than "likely", "was", etc. In the second case, South had an automatic 1 bid over a natural 1 overcall but taking the same action over an artificial 1 carried some risk of having a misunderstanding so I think it's fair to say that the non-alert may well have influenced the decision to bid 1 rather than pass.

No, he would have been in exactly the same position over an alerted artificial 1, so I think it's clear the it wasn't the lack of alert that was the problem.
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#9 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-February-20, 15:28

View Postgordontd, on 2012-February-20, 06:17, said:

No, he would have been in exactly the same position over an alerted artificial 1, so I think it's clear the it wasn't the lack of alert that was the problem.

I guess the issue is, if a player know very well what a bid means can he still claim misinformation due to a failure to alert? In this scenario, South probably would not bid 1 over an artificial 1 bid, but because he had the misinformation he decided to intoduce his suit knowing he had some upside in being able to withdraw it.

The issue of the legality of playing "system-on" after a withdrawn call is one I'm really keen to get some thoughts on. Another example:

In this scenario, North-South have agreed to bid naturally over a TWERB overcall but when the bidding come's around to North he has look at the East-West convention card which says "TWERB over strong club only" and asks West for some clarification and West says, "oh sorry - I thought the alert of 1 was because it was strong - 1 here is just natural". Over a natural 1, South's 1 shows a hand with no 4 card major so his systemically correct bid is 1 showing 4+ but he perceives a potential advantage in concealing his suit from his opponents but still showing it to partner so changes his call to pass. West now raises to 2 and North has a problem - he has a good hand with support which absent the withdrawn call would be shown by bidding 2 so he bids 2 which South alerts. The question here is, can South describe 2 as a good raise of an unspecified suit?
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#10 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2012-February-20, 18:22

View Postmrdct, on 2012-February-20, 15:28, said:

I guess the issue is, if a player know very well what a bid means can he still claim misinformation due to a failure to alert? In this scenario, South probably would not bid 1 over an artificial 1 bid, but because he had the misinformation he decided to intoduce his suit knowing he had some upside in being able to withdraw it.


A player may claim MI (and he will be correct if there was a failure to alert), but if he knows what the bid means, he is not entitled to redress, because the MI will not have caused damage. If the TD determines that the recipient of MI due to failure to alert knew anyway what the bid meant, he should not allow the player to change his call.
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#11 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-February-20, 20:07

View Postblackshoe, on 2012-February-20, 18:22, said:

A player may claim MI (and he will be correct if there was a failure to alert), but if he knows what the bid means, he is not entitled to redress, because the MI will not have caused damage. If the TD determines that the recipient of MI due to failure to alert knew anyway what the bid meant, he should not allow the player to change his call.

That sounds quite sensible, however, Law 21B doesn't talk about "damage" arising from the MI, only whether or not the potentially replaceable call "could well have been influenced" by the MI. In a situation where you bid 1 to show over a natural 1 overcall but 1 to show over an artificial 1 overcall, when there has been no alert wouldn't you be taking pot luck if you bid 1 (no 4-card major if 1 is natural) hoping that partner was listening to the pre-alerts as closely as you were?
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#12 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2012-February-20, 20:51

The bit about "influence" is intended to cover "I thought it was natural, so I used our defense to natural calls", not "it wasn't alerted, but I know it's artificial, so I'm going to game the system".
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I have come to realise it is futile to expect or hope a regular club game will be run in accordance with the laws. -- Jillybean
Factor in Alzheimers, and I can not recall a bad result from aggessive action in this situation. -- Aguahombre
When I look through the hand records after a club evening, the boards I didn't play are always the ones where I would have done great. -- Cherdano
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#13 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-February-21, 01:07

View Postblackshoe, on 2012-February-20, 20:51, said:

The bit about "influence" is intended to cover "I thought it was natural, so I used our defense to natural calls", not "it wasn't alerted, but I know it's artificial, so I'm going to game the system".

Fair enough, but what about the misalerted TWERB scenario where South's mode of showing was entirely dictated by the apparent artificiality of 1 so there was no initial intent to "game the system" but once the opportunity presents itself, where at the very least he'd want to change his 1 bid to 1, is it acceptable to take advantage of the situation and conceal your suit from East-West by passing and play system-on for North-South as if had been shown? Another thing not mentioned thus far is the further opportunity to "game the system" when your opponents fail to alert where if the TD allows you to substitute your earlier bid (that was influence by the MI) and you change it to pass, there will be lead penalties on the offender's partner so you have an auction like:


Under Law 26B, North can now forbid the offender's partner from leading any suit so there is quite an advantage in these situation to get the offender's partner on opening lead; although if South declares you can still get lead penalties but not until it is East's first turn to lead.
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#14 User is offline   bluejak 

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Posted 2012-February-21, 10:01

View Postmrdct, on 2012-February-20, 03:36, said:

A few weeks ago I had an interesting situation with a delayed alert where there was an option to withdraw a bid such that the withdrawn bid was AI to the NOS but UI to the OS. The hand was as follows:


When East enquired about the 2 bid as he was thinking of pulling 4 out of the box, it was revealed that 2 was artificial and had not been alerted. West called the TD who explained that West could withdraw his 2 bid and change it to any legal call in which case the information conveyed by the initial 2 bid would be AI to East-West but UI to North-South. West perceived some potential advantage in changing his 2 to pass and did so. TD then further clarified the UI situation for North-South along the lines of they are not allowed to take account of the 2 overcall in the way they bid the rest of the hand and in the play can't play West to have length in until same is demonstrably suggested by other AI in the remaining auction and/or play. South bid a fairly meek 4 after East's pass and duly lost 11 imps against the slam bid in the other room and they moved on to the next board.

The hypothetical ruling on the hand is in the situation where East instead of passing over 2 bids 4 and then North-South go on to bid their slam. With the fact that West had a overcall over a non-alerted 2 bid, this delayed 4 bid out of the blue by East after passing twice already looks like it has -1100/1400 written all over it so it may be reasonable to conclude that penalising 4 is a viable option for North-South absent the UI that West also holds a suit.

As the TD, would you entertain an adjustment to 4xE-3 for NS +500?

A similar situation came up last week with the following auction:

West alerted 1 (which, btw, had been correctly pre-alerted at the start of the 5-board round) after South had bid 1 and South elected to muddy the waters with a change of 1 to pass creating a UI situation for East-West, but North would have the AI that South holds a suit. When South changed his 1 bid to pass (and West chose to still pass) a few interesting issues arose.

Because South has already promised 4+, in the North-South methods a 1 bid by North would show 2-3 and 2 by North would show 4, but for East-West should they be alerted to the adjusted meanings of 1 or 2 which are affected by the UI of South holding 4; or do East-West need to proceed as if North has an unbalanced hand which is what 1 and 2 would mean if South had passed after an alerted 1 overcall?

It sounds to me as though both changes were illegal. The idea is to get a normal auction uninfluenced by MI. Setting traps via the Laws is not the idea.
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#15 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-February-21, 14:57

View Postbluejak, on 2012-February-21, 10:01, said:

It sounds to me as though both changes were illegal. The idea is to get a normal auction uninfluenced by MI. Setting traps via the Laws is not the idea.

In the 1st hand in the OP, the choice of 2 was most definately influenced by the MI as the bid (which is kind of marginal already) has a lot more going for it over a natural 2 than a check-back 2. In the 2nd hand in the OP, it's less clear but South would probably argue that his 1 bid was auto over a natural 1 overcall not necessarily so over this artificial 13-18 balanced bid where if he's marginal and perhaps only 4 pass could well be a better option - perhaps give south something like J109x xx xxxx QJx.

I'm not sure how we are meant to arrive at what the intent behind Law 21B is, but I certainly don't see anything written in the Laws suggesting that the desired outcome is to restore the situation to a normal auction unifluenced by MI. Quite specifically, the Laws do not say that when you withdraw a call influenced by MI you need to replace it with the call you would've made absent the MI.

Law 12C3 states "When these Laws provide the innocent side with an option after an irregularity committed by an opponent, it is appropriate to select the most advantageous action". When the most advantageous option is to withdraw your call (provided it was a call which could well have been influenced by the MI) and replace it with a pass to create an AI/UI situation for the offending side (i.e. setting a trap via the Laws) a player is perfectly entitled to do it.

If was to try to devine the intent behind Law 21B I'd suggest the law makers wanted to strongly discourage giving MI by making the penalty for doing so reasonably severe. Also, the law makers chose to use the test of "could well have been" which is a lot weaker than "was" and to my mind can be read as "if there was a possibility". I pretty much never make any bid, unless I'm in first seat, which is not influenced by what my RHO has just done.
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#16 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2012-February-21, 19:25

One question - in the "not 4" case, if East had bid 4, and then N-S rightly play East for a J-eighth one count, and go down in slam because they "misguessed" the distribution, do they have a case? Obviously not in this hand, but what if?
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#17 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-February-21, 20:23

View Postmycroft, on 2012-February-21, 19:25, said:

One question - in the "not 4" case, if East had bid 4, and then N-S rightly play East for a J-eighth one count, and go down in slam because they "misguessed" the distribution, do they have a case? Obviously not in this hand, but what if?

At the table, the TD gave clear directions to South prior to the opening lead that in the play of the hand she cannot choose from amongst LAs any line suggested by the UI that West has length. I've got no idea why South chose to bail-out in 4 but she might have been worried about being constrained into take a losing line in a potential 6 contract and just wanted to take a safe plus. As mycroft observed, there aren't really any issues to the play here that were informed by the UI, but it would've been really interesting if there were.

If East had bid 4, South still has to disregard the UI about West holding and would probably need to assume that East is playing funny-buggers with a hand full of hoping to get doubled. In this particular case, I would've though that South would've been giving some consideration to doubling 4, particularly given that she didn't make a slam try.

Not that this situation arises all that often, but as a general strategy I'm fairly sure that if the TD gives you an option to change your call after a delayed alert the winning strategy is to change your call to pass unless there a very good reason not to due to the upside of getting lead penalties if our side declares and placing UI constraints on the opponents for the rest of the hand.
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#18 User is offline   c_corgi 

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Posted 2012-February-21, 20:57

View Postmycroft, on 2012-February-21, 19:25, said:

One question - in the "not 4" case, if East had bid 4, and then N-S rightly play East for a J-eighth one count, and go down in slam because they "misguessed" the distribution, do they have a case? Obviously not in this hand, but what if?


If declarer asked about East's bid and was told it shows something like a J-eighth one count, wouldn't that be MI? It seems sensible that the obligation to give proper disclosure would trump the desire to ensure the opponents suffer as a result of having recieved UI.
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#19 User is offline   mrdct 

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Posted 2012-February-21, 21:59

View Postc_corgi, on 2012-February-21, 20:57, said:

If declarer asked about East's bid and was told it shows something like a J-eighth one count, wouldn't that be MI? It seems sensible that the obligation to give proper disclosure would trump the desire to ensure the opponents suffer as a result of having recieved UI.

This is at the heart of why I raised this thread in the first place with my fundamental question being when a suit holding by a player is AI to one side and UI to the other, should subsequent actions by the non-offending side be described based on the additional information they alone are privy to or be expressed more vaguely around what the meaning would be absent the UI that the offending side has. In this particular scenario, if I was West I would describe the hypothetical 4 bid as "we haven't discussed this particular auction but we generally play jumps to the 4-level in a new suit when neither of us have previously bid as a suggestion to play there" but I wouldn't make any comment about East's likely length and if pressed on the issue say something like "East would expect to have enough between us for 4 to be either profitable save or a viable contract". When it comes to the rest of the auction and the play, I believe North-South would have an obligation to play East for 8 or 9 until such time it becomes obvious that he doesn't. West would probably lead the 10 to help maintain the illusion.
Disclaimer: The above post may be a half-baked sarcastic rant intended to stimulate discussion and it does not necessarily coincide with my own views on this topic.
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#20 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2012-February-22, 04:15

View Postmrdct, on 2012-February-21, 14:57, said:

In the 1st hand in the OP, the choice of 2 was most definately influenced by the MI as the bid (which is kind of marginal already) has a lot more going for it over a natural 2 than a check-back 2.

You keep repeating this sort of thing, but it seems to me to be based on a misapprehension. The question is not whether it is more attractive over a natural bid than over an artificial one (since you already know the meaning of the bid).
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