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2 Q's on Alerts

#1 User is offline   epeeist 

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Posted 2004-August-16, 01:53

First:

Is the obligation of the bidder to alert, or for opponents to ask for explanations, or both? I tend to ask for explanations of bids especially when playing with those annoying sorts of opponents who have blank profiles (or list 3 alternative bidding systems which is just as bad) and don't announce what system they're using.

In a recent tournament (fast fun fishy, 7 min. boards), my partner N opened 1, E overcalled 1NT, I passed as S, and W bid 2. N passed, E bid 2.

As I recall, their profiles gave no info. on bidding system, so I asked for explanation of 1NT to which response was "natural". I asked if this meant 15-18 HCP, answer was yes. I also asked for explanation of 2 bid, from other opponent who said "transfer".

After the hand was over, I told opponents that since in most "standard" bidding systems, the only convention used over a 1NT overcall is Stayman, they should have alerted the 2 bid and not left it for us, the opponents, to have to ask (my hand was such that it could have been a natural 2 bid for all I knew, I was just suspicious and so asked for an explanation).

Was I correct in this criticism? By which I mean, let's say I had thought the unalerted 2 bid was natural and this demonstrably affected my opening lead to our detriment, might I have been entitled to an adjustment?

Second:

In my opinion, in a self-alerting system like on BBO (as opposed to the ftf system in which one's partner alerts), one is ethically obligated to alert what the bid means, even if there's a possibility one's partner might not understand (for instance, in an individual tournament I've made alerts like "splinter, but p might not know" or "not sure trump agreed, so not rkcb").

Am I wrong in this, am I being unduly careful/concerned?
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#2 User is offline   vang 

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Posted 2004-August-16, 02:57

Quote

in most "standard" bidding systems, the only convention used over a 1NT overcall is Stayman,


not true imho. transfer in majors after 1NT (overcall or opening) is "standard" in SAYC, polish club, french standard. it _was_ non-standard some (many) years ago, but things are changing. somehow similar with opening 2S which standard was strong, now standard is weak.
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#3 User is offline   hotShot 

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Posted 2004-August-16, 03:18

At higher level in f2f Bridge screens are used, so that you cannot see your partner during play.
I that situation you have to alert your own and your partners bid and explain them to the opponent on your side of the screen. Your partner does the same with the other oponent.

This is the closesed to what is done here at BBO.

You only have to alert partnership agreements! So if in an Indy you have a partner you have never played before and u bid a splinter hoping your partner understands, you don't have to alert. You can of cause do it,if you like.

The alert should prevent that your p gets more information from your bid, than your opps do.

It is not so unusual that it is a partnership agreement that the sequence 1 something - 1NT - pass it treated the same way as pass - 1NT - pass.
So playing Stayman and transfer is not unusual, but both transfer bids have to be alerted!

It is your opps duty to alert their bids.

If you ask about the meaning of a bid, you could create an UI.
UI's are a very complex thing so you better ask your f2f TD about it. I will try to give you a simple example.
If you opponent bids 2 in this sequence and you ask what it means and he says natural and than you pass, you partner could asume you have a lot of cards in your hand, and would have doubled if your opps bid was artifical. TD might have to
adjust against you, if the lead of you p would be sucessful.

Because your asking about the suit could be seen as a hint to partner to lead .
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#4 User is offline   Trpltrbl 

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Posted 2004-August-16, 13:32

epeeist, on Aug 16 2004, 02:53 AM, said:

Was I correct in this criticism? By which I mean, let's say I had thought the unalerted 2 bid was natural and this demonstrably affected my opening lead to our detriment, might I have been entitled to an adjustment?

When not sure about something, better to call TD.
In this case it should have been alerted, and if you were damaged, you should have gotten a adjusted score and opps same and a warning.

Mike ;)
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be ideas, and hard thought, and hard work.”
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#5 User is offline   vang 

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Posted 2004-August-17, 05:33

i was under impression that 'standard' bidding doesn't require alerts. in my prev post, i advanced that transfers in majors after 1NT (opening or overcall) is 'standard'.
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#6 User is offline   Trpltrbl 

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Posted 2004-August-17, 08:33

vang, on Aug 17 2004, 06:33 AM, said:

i was under impression that 'standard' bidding doesn't require alerts. in my prev post, i advanced that transfers in majors after 1NT (opening or overcall) is 'standard'.

Most people I know play it, but I am fairly sure it is not considered standard.

Mike ;)
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so much the better. If there is restlessness, I am pleased. Then let there
be ideas, and hard thought, and hard work.”
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#7 User is offline   hotShot 

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Posted 2004-August-17, 08:39

vang, on Aug 17 2004, 11:33 AM, said:

i was under impression that 'standard' bidding doesn't require alerts. in my prev post, i advanced that transfers in majors after 1NT (opening or overcall) is 'standard'.

Transfer bids over 1NT are very common with strong NT ranges as 16-18 or 15-17.
Some people play weak NT openings eg. 12-14 or 10-13 they usually don't play transfer bids.

There are only a hand full of artifical bids that are so common, that you have to alert if it is not artifical. One case is Stayman.

Any local club or country can define own rules about what should be alerted.

I wonder if "polish " system calls have to be alerted in poland.

Since you meet people from all over the world on BBO you should assume that at their place a bid might have to be alerted.

In f2f brigde unneccesary alerts may create UI, but on BBO they don't because your p does not see your alert. So you better alert when in doubt.
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#8 User is offline   scoob 

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Posted 2004-August-17, 09:38

transfers over a 1NT overcall are not standard in SAYC

http://www.acbl.org/...y/sayc_card.pdf

http://www.acbl.org/...y/sayc_book.pdf
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#9 User is offline   epeeist 

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Posted 2004-August-17, 13:09

hotShot, on Aug 16 2004, 04:18 AM, said:

You only have to alert partnership agreements! So if in an Indy you have a partner you have never played before and u bid a splinter hoping your partner understands, you don't have to alert. You can of cause do it,if you like.
transfer bids have to be alerted!

[Excerpt only quoted]

Don't think I agree with this. Let's say p opens 1, I jump to 4 with good support and a void in , intending it as a splinter (but not sure p will understand it).

If my p "fields" the 4 bid (i.e. understands it shows support and shortness/control in , and after some more control-showing bids we end up in 6 which makes) then he or she understood my artificial bid correctly, and I therefore should have alerted it.

If my p _doesn't_ understand the 4 bid, then maybe it didn't need to be alerted. But while I may risk bids p might not understand, I _intend_ it to be understood, and since it might be, I think I need to alert it. ;)

Of course, I probably needn't give extra info "p may not understand", but I'm trying to protect myself in case bidding takes a weird turn and opponents accuse me of misleading them about what bids meant...

If I'm wrong, then at worst I've given opponents some extra information. Of course, they may not use that information...last time I alerted 4 as a splinter in a tournament, opening lead was still a -- opening leader's p wasnt' too happy, said something after hand like, "He told you he was void why you lead club!!!!!" :D
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#10 User is offline   hotShot 

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Posted 2004-August-17, 14:23

epeeist, on Aug 17 2004, 07:09 PM, said:

Don't think I agree with this. Let's say p opens 1, I jump to 4 with good support and a void in , intending it as a splinter (but not sure p will understand it).

....

No need to agree to this , it's the rules.

Your opponents have no right to know your cards, otherwise you can play with open cards.

It would be unfair if your p knows more about your bids than they do.
Thats why you have to give a full explanation about your agreements.

If you p has to guess what you mean, opps can guess to.

This is why psyches are perfectly legal, as long as your p does not know you psyched!
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#11 User is offline   epeeist 

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Posted 2004-August-17, 14:53

hotShot, on Aug 17 2004, 03:23 PM, said:

It would be unfair if your p knows more about your bids than they do.
Thats why you have to give a full explanation about your agreements.

If you p has to guess what you mean,  opps can guess to.

[Excerpt only quoted]

If p has to guess, that's one thing.

But the way I see it, maybe a matter of semantics, either p is good enough that he/she KNOWS my bid was a splinter (no guessing required) or he/she doesn't know (might guess, but doesn't know).

If p KNOWS my bid was a splinter (this is for purposes of this example, it could be some other artificial bid), then the fact that we didn't discuss, in advance, that we'd be using splinters doesn't mean that we don't have, _in effect_, an agreement to use them. If I'm partnered with, say, a "star" or someone who's given Vugraph commentary, I can be pretty sure they're going to know my bid is a splinter.

Look at it another way. Let's say, as you state, there's no need to alert because the bid has no system meaning. It logically follows from your reasoning that, if opps ask me what my bid means, I answer "no agreement with p what bid means".

If I say "no agreement with p what bid means", but I expect p to know it was a splinter, and p bids as if it were a splinter, and my hand is the perfect hand with which to use a splinter bid, and we get a great result, if the opponents complain is the tournament director likely to agree that I didn't have to explain what the bid meant? Will the director accept my explanation "Sure, I normally use splinters, and expected p to treat it as a splinter, but because I hadn't explicitly agreed in advance with my partner, who is a "star" and thus a genuine expert, to use splinters, I was under no obligation either to alert OR explain the bid to opponents"? ;)
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#12 User is offline   hotShot 

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Posted 2004-August-17, 15:42

epeeist, on Aug 17 2004, 08:53 PM, said:

....

Look at it another way. Let's say, as you state, there's no need to alert because the bid has no system meaning. It logically follows from your reasoning that, if opps ask me what my bid means, I answer "no agreement with p what bid means".

....

That is excactly what the rules tall you to say, if you and your p have no agreement.

It is common knowledge that a double jump into a new color is a splinter, if your p knows that - fine, if opps don't know that perhaps they are beginners :-).
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#13 User is offline   luke warm 

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Posted 2004-August-17, 17:21

hotshot, i'm pretty sure you're wrong in your interpretation of the rules... assume online bridge for a moment... if your partner opens 1S and you bid 3S and an op asks you privately what that bid means, what do you say? this is assuming a pick up partner with whom there was no prior agreement ...

if it was meant as preemptive, do you tell your ops (via alert or private chat) that? if it was meant as a limit raise with 4 trumps, do you tell them that?

if they ask, you must tell.. as a matter of fact, that particular bid has many interpretations, so i think it's alertable... there are many more bids the same as this...

btw, it might or might not be 'common knowledge' as to the meaning of a double jump... some play it as a splinter, some as a fit jump, some as conventional... all should be alerted... it is the ethical thing to do, and that goes doubly if the ops ask
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#14 User is offline   bearmum 

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Posted 2004-August-17, 18:04

scoob, on Aug 18 2004, 04:38 AM, said:

transfers over a 1NT overcall are not standard in SAYC

http://www.acbl.org/...y/sayc_card.pdf


EXACTLY --- players assume SAYC is the same as "Standard American" wnich it clearly is not :D (As I and a few others have been TRYING to point out for a LONG time - to no avail however :rolleyes:
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#15 User is offline   bearmum 

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Posted 2004-August-17, 18:12

Trpltrbl, on Aug 18 2004, 03:33 AM, said:

vang, on Aug 17 2004, 06:33 AM, said:

i was under impression that 'standard' bidding doesn't require alerts. in my prev post, i advanced that transfers in majors after 1NT (opening or overcall) is 'standard'.

Most people I know play it, but I am fairly sure it is not considered standard.

Mike :D

What is "Standard " in one country MAY not be "standard" in another ---- ONE example here in Australia STAYMAN must be alerted :rolleyes:
As for transfers I believe they SHOULD be alerted (In USA they are 'announced' -that is in f2f bridge the partner of the transfer bidder announces [in a low voice] "transfer") -- also the range of the opening NT bid is also announceable(unless ABCL changed mind again since I left the country 2 years ago) :D
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#16 User is offline   twcho 

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Posted 2004-August-17, 20:54

Quote

hotshot, i'm pretty sure you're wrong in your interpretation of the rules... assume online bridge for a moment... if your partner opens 1S and you bid 3S and an op asks you privately what that bid means, what do you say? this is assuming a pick up partner with whom there was no prior agreement ...


As there are different ways to treat the 3S bid, you are using it with your own risk without prior agreement with your pick up pd. So why must you tell your opp what is the meaning of this bid? Your pd is also guessing. So your correct answer should be and definitely should be "no agreement".
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#17 User is offline   irdoz 

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Posted 2004-August-17, 23:06

In an individual it is unlikely that you have agreement on anything except system and maybe carding. When you make a bid there is a reasonable expectation that your partner will understand it - so there is an implied agreement. "No agreement" can be overused.

So I would differentiate like this...

1. Where the bid is a standard part of the agreed system and there are not two commonly agreed ways to play the bid - such as the example given of a splinter - 1s-4c! (splinter) then I would alert and explain. I would do this even if your experience of individual events on BBO was that 30% of partners will not understand the bid. Here you think there is only one possible meaning of the bid, you expect partner to understand it and there is an implied agreement. In this situation I alert and explain my bid - even if there is no actual agreement and I know sometimes my partner will not understand it. I see no difference between this and being asked about a 2d bid in the sequence 1nt-2d(transfer) that you expect 99% of partners (and opponents) to understand.

2. Where you know there are two common ways to play a bid - for example 1s-3s in sayc is often played (incorrectly) as a 3 card limit rise and 1s-3s as a 4(+) card limit rise (the latter being standard) then what I do is tell what I play rather than state 'no agreement' simply because I feel that response is closer to the intent and spirit of the laws - if asked I would say what I play - '4+ spades game invite' - but I would not quibble with a 'no agreement response' - but best may be 'limit rise in spades' and if asked further about number of trumps say 'not sure if partner expects 3+ or 4+'.

3. A situation more akin to 'no agreement' might be a sequence like...

1nt-2d-2h-4nt-5h.

Here in standard bidding 4nt is quantitatve and 5h shows at least 3h and minimum for nt range - yet 90% of people - in my experience - would play this sequence as blackwood and 5h as showing 2 keycards. Yet you play 5h as minumum with 3h knowing full well that most people will expect it to show 2 keycards. When you are asked about the 5h bid here it feels more legitimate to state 'no agreement' because here you have a reasonable expectation that your partner will not understand the bid. If I am asked by a knowledgeable opponent who is aware that there are 2 different ways to play this sequence, with the common way being the non-standard way, then the opponent seems to be asking 'how do you play this bid?' not 'what is your partnership agreeement?'. Under these circumstances you are closer to being asked to disclose your hand rather than your agreement. And here the information can make a material difference - you are the declarer - and knowledge of your number of keycards could make a significant difference to the defense. This is territory where self-alert and self-disclosure seems like it is not adequately covered by the current laws.
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#18 User is offline   jtfanclub 

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Posted 2004-August-17, 23:23

hotShot, on Aug 16 2004, 04:18 AM, said:

You only have to alert partnership agreements! So if in an Indy you have a partner you have never played before and u bid a splinter hoping your partner understands, you don't have to alert.

I don't think that's true. If I know my partner plays 2/1, and I know a bid has a special meaning in 2/1, I believe that I do have to alert that. This is true even if my partner and I don't share a language so we've never spoken to each other.

You aren't hoping that your partner understands Splinters through some sort of bridge logic...bidding a suit to show shortness in that suit contravenes bridge logic. It's a system issue- you're hoping that partner knows your system well enough to interpret a bid as Splinter. If your partner thinks you're playing Splinters but the opponents have no reason to suspect it...I don't see how that can be considered anything but an undisclosed agreement.

I believe that not only are you required to disclose agreements...but you are required to HAVE certain basic agreements. You aren't allowed to walk into an ACBL tourney and declare that since you don't know if you're playing Precision or Polish Club your opponents have to guess too. I would be shocked if it were any different anywhere else in the world. Even if you don't have a filled out convention card, you have to have a basic system agreement, such as Standard American, 2/1, or Precision. That standard agreement will have Splinters or it won't, and you are obligated to share that information with the opponents. Whether an individual bid should be interpreted as Splinter may very well be more info than the opponents are entitled to, but you at least have to let them know that you're playing (or not playing) Splinters.

Unlike in F2F tournaments, if you're making a bid that you're hoping your partner will interpret in a non-standard way, you should alert it. It is, after all, the polite thing to do.
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#19 User is offline   hotShot 

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Posted 2004-August-18, 09:00

luke warm, on Aug 17 2004, 11:21 PM, said:

hotshot, i'm pretty sure you're wrong in your interpretation of the rules... assume online bridge for a moment... if your partner opens 1S and you bid 3S and an op asks you privately what that bid means, what do you say? this is assuming a pick up partner with whom there was no prior agreement ...

if it was meant as preemptive, do you tell your ops (via alert or private chat) that? if it was meant as a limit raise with 4 trumps, do you tell them that?

if they ask, you must tell.. as a matter of fact, that particular bid has many interpretations, so i think it's alertable... there are many more bids the same as this...

btw, it might or might not be 'common knowledge' as to the meaning of a double jump... some play it as a splinter, some as a fit jump, some as conventional... all should be alerted... it is the ethical thing to do, and that goes doubly if the ops ask

please read Law 75.C

Quote

C.  Answering Questions on Partnership Agreements
When explaining the significance of partner’s call or play in reply to an opponent’s inquiry (see Law 20), a player shall disclose all special information conveyed to him through partnership agreement or partnership experience, but he need not disclose inferences drawn from his general knowledge and experience.

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#20 User is offline   epeeist 

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Posted 2004-August-18, 16:02

An excerpt from the BBO tournament rules (i.e. that apply to all tournaments):

"All tournament players should make a strong effort to properly alert and explain the bids that they make. We have people from all over the world playing on this site and language problems are inevitable. Keep in mind that what is 'standard' for you may not be 'standard' in other parts of the world. If you have any doubt as to whether or not you should alert a bid, you should alert it."

Also, here's a link to a post by McBruce on these boards about the principle of coincidence:

http://bridgebase.lunarpages.com/~bridge2/...=15&#entry21987

To the extent there is any conflict between the laws of bridge and the BBO rules, the BBO rules apply (just like if a particular tournament's rules states "no psyches" that is the rule no matter what the laws of bridge say).

And of course, law 75.C as quoted previously, applies to real-life situations where one alerts the bid of one's partner, NOT in the self-alerting situation that applies in BBO.
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