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Alert and Explanation Partner's Bid Was A Mistake

#1 User is offline   FM75 

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Posted 2012-July-20, 20:53

You have made an asking bid which was alerted by partner, and explained correctly when asked.

At his turn, he makes a reply - alerted immediately, which from your hand you know to be impossible in your system. For example, his reply show 2 top honors in a suit, but you know he can only hold one.

1) If asked for an explanation, do you simply say that "partner is showing one top honor", knowing, but not mentioning, that he is off by a step? Explaining how you know, would clearly be improper. Saying that the bid shows two top honors would be misleading to opponents, so must be wrong.
2) Suppose you have reason to believe that opponents know that the bid shows 2 top honors and did not ask for an explanation. Opponents now may be misled by the bid, but correcting during the auction has to be impossible if they have not asked, since it would impart information to partner. What is the correct procedure here?
3) Shudder - suppose partner suddenly realizes that he has made the wrong bid - but heard a correct explanation of his holding, from which he can infer either that you misunderstood in line with his error, or that you simply corrected his error in the explanation!

I presume in the event of scenario 1, that after play, opponents and partner should be told the correct meaning of the bid to avoid any further complications?

I explained "partner is showing one top honor". Hope I got it right. On the spot it, seemed the most ethical treatment.
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#2 User is offline   Mbodell 

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Posted 2012-July-20, 21:13

Your assumption is wrong. You are required to explain your agreement, not what is in partner's hand. So you say partner is showing 2 of the top 3 even if he isn't. If partner here's this explanation he'll have UI which may very well constrain his ability to correct the contract later. So if you forget, make a bad bid, and then partner explains it correctly you aren't allowed to wake up, even if you actually did wake up before the explanation.
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#3 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2012-July-20, 21:38

1. As has been said, you are mistaken. You are required to explain your agreements, and only your agreements. If partner cannot have what he claims to have, that does not matter.
2. Proper procedure is to say nothing at all.
3. Your explanation is UI to partner, so he must make every effort to avoid taking advantage of it. He should not "correct" the explanation.
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#4 User is offline   gordontd 

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Posted 2012-July-21, 03:13

View PostFM75, on 2012-July-20, 20:53, said:

I explained "partner is showing one top honor". Hope I got it right.

No. He wasn't.
Gordon Rainsford
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#5 User is offline   bluejak 

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Posted 2012-July-24, 06:54

View PostFM75, on 2012-July-20, 20:53, said:

Saying that the bid shows two top honors would be misleading to opponents, so must be wrong.

Everyone else has already answered correctly so I shall not repeat them.

But it interesting what you say here, because it shows where your thinking has gone astray. You are perfectly permitted at bridge to mislead opponents by playing the wrong card or making the wrong call either intentionally or unintentionally: misleading them in such a way is not wrong, it is normal bridge.

What you are not allowed to do is to mislead them by not telling them your agreements correctly.
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#6 User is offline   iviehoff 

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Posted 2012-July-25, 02:55

The following parable demonstrates that describing what is in the hand, rather than giving the correct explanation of the bid, is a case of "heads you win, tails we lose".

This is loosely based on an actual case, who details I forget. But suppose a player gives an explanation which describes what the hand holds, but does not correctly reflect the actual bidding agreement. This is actually fairly common in events played behind screens, where a player explains his own bids to his screen mate. By chance, to be successful in the play, the opposing side has to do something which, in relation to the actual explanation given, is anti-percentage. Imagine that the hand with the short suit actually holds the missing honour in that suit, and we can deduce from the explanation which hand holds the short suit. However if they had been given the correct explanation, the apparent attractiveness of the two lines swaps, and they will do what is required to be successful. They can ask the director for an adjustment, on the grounds that with the correct explanation they would do the successful thing, and should be given the adjustment. If on the other hand, the "wrong" explanation turns out to be helpful to them, they will make no complaint to the director.

Of course the opposing side may complain when an explanation is inconsistent with the hand held, but provided you can demonstrate it is a correct explanation of the bid made (and a complete set of system notes is helpful in this regard) you are on safe ground.
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#7 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-July-25, 03:54

The intent of the disclosure laws is that there shouldn't be any "secret agreements" in bridge. They aren't meant to let the opponents know when someone has deviated from their agreements, as in a misbid or psyche.

Unfortunately, it's hard to cover all cases. Last week at the NABC, I had an auction where I bid blackwood, and partner's answer was impossible (he showed 2 keys plus the queen, but I held the queen, and it was unlikely that he held extra length). However, the way the auction had gone, it was possible that he thought a different suit was agreed on, so maybe he was showing that queen. When the opponents asked for an explanation of the auction before the opening lead, I suggested that he could have been answering in that suit. I couldn't be sure who was right about the trump suit. When he laid down dummy, he admitted that he just misbid.

#8 User is offline   FM75 

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Posted 2012-July-27, 15:30

Thanks to all who answered my question so clearly.

I also considered calling a director, since I did not know the right explanation at the time. I expected that, even if it were discussed privately with the director before the explanation, partner would likely work out my honor holding - and probably ops as well. After all why would I need a director?.

On the actual hand it was highly probable that we would declare - opponents were passing, so opponents would be benefactors if they worked it out, which would be their right to do.

Had I called the director, and made the required explanation, what would follow from that point with respect to bidding by my partner, and play in the event that we ended up defending?
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#9 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-July-27, 15:51

I believe the director should speak to each of you away from the table, to find out what you each think the agreement is. If you have documentation of the agreement, that version should then be disclosed to the opponents. If not, and he can't determine what your actual agreement is ("he said, she said"), he could ask each of you to explain to the opponents while the other of you has stepped away from the table. And he should warn your partner not to take any inference from the fact that you called the director (either during the bidding, or on defense if you end up there).

#10 User is offline   onoway 

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Posted 2012-July-29, 09:07

Ok I am bewildered here. I realize this is geared toward f2f play and my question refers to an event on BBO but hope you will clarify anyway.

The other day a pair playing an esoteric system were consistently alerting bids in a way unrelated to what was actually in their hands.

For example, bidding goes 12Double. When asked, the double was explained as negative. When the dummy went down, the "negative" double hand had opening values and included the KQJx The doubling player had éxpert' on his profile, so when someone later explained this was "just a bad bid" I got a little hostile.

However, from what I can gather here, the bid was perfectly fine because the partner would also think it was denying ?
Is it really true that it is fine to lie to opps when your system allows you to force your partner to continue bidding so you can eventually decide the contract no matter what your partner thinks you have in your hand?

If this is true, I am beginning to understand why people lose interest in playing the game. What, then, is the point of alerting at all? It simply turns into a tactic to undermine the truth of the bidding. Whatever happened to "bridge is the only game where you tell your opps what you have and challenge them to do something about it?"
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#11 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2012-July-29, 10:01

View Postonoway, on 2012-July-29, 09:07, said:

Ok I am bewildered here. I realize this is geared toward f2f play and my question refers to an event on BBO but hope you will clarify anyway.

The other day a pair playing an esoteric system were consistently alerting bids in a way unrelated to what was actually in their hands.

For example, bidding goes 12Double. When asked, the double was explained as negative. When the dummy went down, the "negative" double hand had opening values and included the KQJx The doubling player had éxpert' on his profile, so when someone later explained this was "just a bad bid" I got a little hostile.

What a person chooses to put as skill level on their bbo profile may not have any relevance to their bridge ability.

View Postonoway, on 2012-July-29, 09:07, said:

However, from what I can gather here, the bid was perfectly fine because the partner would also think it was denying ?

Many players would make a 3 cue raise but I think you are asking about the alert being perfectly fine which is likely true, double here would be negative for most partnerships.


View Postonoway, on 2012-July-29, 09:07, said:

Is it really true that it is fine to lie to opps when your system allows you to force your partner to continue bidding so you can eventually decide the contract no matter what your partner thinks you have in your hand?

Yes, the danger is that you are fooling your partner as well as your opponents which can lead to impossible contracts or damage partnership trust.

View Postonoway, on 2012-July-29, 09:07, said:

If this is true, I am beginning to understand why people lose interest in playing the game. What, then, is the point of alerting at all? It simply turns into a tactic to undermine the truth of the bidding. Whatever happened to "bridge is the only game where you tell your opps what you have and challenge them to do something about it?"

I can understand people loosing interest in playing online against random opponents making random, unusual actions but I don't believe this is true for "serious" or live games. I think it is more likely that people become frutrated because they do not understand the logic of alerting, explanations and psyches.
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And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly. - MikeH

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#12 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2012-July-29, 10:06

View Postonoway, on 2012-July-29, 09:07, said:

However, from what I can gather here, the bid was perfectly fine because the partner would also think it was denying ?
Is it really true that it is fine to lie to opps when your system allows you to force your partner to continue bidding so you can eventually decide the contract no matter what your partner thinks you have in your hand?

Self-alerts are sometimes like this. There is an appearance of intent to deceive the opponents.

But, if the self-alert and explanation are in keeping with the partnership agreements, that is both the legal and ethical thing to do. There is no requirement to tell the opponents what you have in your hand, nor should there be. If the opponents further inquire, the self-alerter might be required to disclose that his bid does not always conform with what partner might expect, even if (another time), it does happen to be typical for the call.

The example Onoway gave is on point. We are allowed to use (abuse) tools to gain information, even if the opponents wouldn't use those tools in the same way. Based on opener's continuations after the (alleged) negative double, responder expects to be better placed to judge where the auction should end.

We don't get to decide on our own (bidding police) whether responder must use some other method of keeping the bidding alive.
"Bidding Spades to show spades can work well." (Kenberg)
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#13 User is offline   onoway 

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Posted 2012-July-29, 10:53

View Postaguahombre, on 2012-July-29, 10:06, said:

Self-alerts are sometimes like this. There is an appearance of intent to deceive the opponents.

But, if the alert and explanation are in keeping with the partnership agreements, that is both the legal and ethical thing to do. There is no requirement to tell the opponents what you have in your hand, nor should there be. If the opponents further inquire, the self-alerter might be required to disclose that his bid does not always conform with what partner might expect (even if this time, it does).

The example Onoway gave is on point. We are allowed to use (abuse) tools to gain information, even if the opponents wouldn't use those tools in the same way. Based on opener's continuations after the (alleged) negative double, responder expects to be better placed to judge where the auction should end.

We don't get to decide on our own (bidding police) whether responder must use some other method of keeping the bidding alive.

well. If I come to play bridge and find out that what is being played is poker masquerading as bridge, I am going to be a) extremely annoyed and b) I am going to stop playing with people who play like that.

No big deal as I am not even a minor player in the scheme of things, but when people bemoan the difficulty of getting people to play the game, this strikes me as a perfect example of why.

Obviously having expert on profile means not a damn thing, except that then I am not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. If he had self identified as novice, then I would not have been annoyed, although a bit sceptical as their system is a unique and extremely complicated version of Precision.

Also obviously, I am not entitled to information the partner doesn't have. Equally obviously (to me) the opps are not supposed to lie about what their bids mean or what is the point of demanding alerts? A mistake is one thing, deliberately doing so quite another, and strikes me as very close to cheating, especially when it appears to be a pattern for the pair.This sort of "oops, just a bad bid, ha ha " happened twice in fewer than 6 hands from this pair. Neither "bad bid" funnilly enough, could possibly have had a negative effect for them.

How in the world can you penalize the opps for ANYTHING misleading that they do? They can always say, "oh well, it was just a bad bid and I rescued it." It's total BS imo.

I have played off and on since I was about 5 whenever I lived somewhere anyone played bridge.I was absolutely delighted that BBO allowed me to find partners and get back into it, as I live in a somewhat remote area. This event and others like it have me seriously starting to look for another game, since it appears that this is acceptable behaviour now at the bridge table. Poker has never been of interest.

If I want random results based on insufficient or misleading information I go to the horse races.
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#14 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2012-July-29, 11:23

Disclosure according to agreements has been thoroughly addressed in these fora.

I am sorry that you believe the rules of Bridge make the game analogous to poker or horseraces; equally sorry my feeble attempt did not clarify for you.
"Bidding Spades to show spades can work well." (Kenberg)
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#15 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2012-July-29, 12:06

Online bridge is somewhat of a free-for-all. If you don't want to play in that kind of environment, and there's no f2f bridge handy, your main choice is to play in the ACBL games. At least there they try to enforce the rules.

In your example auction, Onoway, first "negative" is not an adequate description of the double. Ask for more information. Second, if opener is aware that partner's ostensible negative double sometimes bears no resemblance to a classical negative double, you are entitled to know that too. Failure to disclose it is a violation of the laws. In the ACBL games, you should and likely would get a score adjustment if this concealed partnership understanding damages your side. In other games, well, who knows?
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#16 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2012-July-29, 12:26

Don't give up this wonderful game because of these experiences. Play with friends, bbf'ers or bots, just don't expect sensible games with random opponents or pickup partners. I find myself playing far fewer online games now and when I do play with pickups it is only for a few boards unless I get lucky and find a decent partner.
Searching for your own mistakes is the only way to learn this game. - Fluffy

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#17 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-July-29, 22:46

View Postonoway, on 2012-July-29, 09:07, said:

Is it really true that it is fine to lie to opps when your system allows you to force your partner to continue bidding so you can eventually decide the contract no matter what your partner thinks you have in your hand?

Law 40C1:

Quote

A player may deviate from his side’s announced understandings always provided that his partner has no more reason to be aware of the deviation than have the opponents. Repeated deviations lead to implicit understandings which then form part of the partnership’s methods and must be disclosed

So as long as he doesn't bid like this repeatedly, it's perfectly fine. This is the law that explicitly allows psychic bidding (but 40B2d allows the RA to regulate psychic artificial calls, so an RA could prohibit psychic negative doubles if they wanted to).

#18 User is offline   bluejak 

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Posted 2012-July-30, 16:12

View Postonoway, on 2012-July-29, 09:07, said:

Ok I am bewildered here. I realize this is geared toward f2f play and my question refers to an event on BBO but hope you will clarify anyway.

The other day a pair playing an esoteric system were consistently alerting bids in a way unrelated to what was actually in their hands.

For example, bidding goes 12Double. When asked, the double was explained as negative. When the dummy went down, the "negative" double hand had opening values and included the KQJx The doubling player had éxpert' on his profile, so when someone later explained this was "just a bad bid" I got a little hostile.

However, from what I can gather here, the bid was perfectly fine because the partner would also think it was denying ?
Is it really true that it is fine to lie to opps when your system allows you to force your partner to continue bidding so you can eventually decide the contract no matter what your partner thinks you have in your hand?

If this is true, I am beginning to understand why people lose interest in playing the game. What, then, is the point of alerting at all? It simply turns into a tactic to undermine the truth of the bidding. Whatever happened to "bridge is the only game where you tell your opps what you have and challenge them to do something about it?"

We all have had unfortunate experiences against certain opponents. But why should an experience with one opponent be enough to put us off?

As for the point of alerting, it tells you their agreements, not what they have in their hands. Now, if they do not follow their agreements, you will usually gain, so no reason to lose sleep.

But there is a somewhat unfortunate attitude to a lot of online play, in major part because of the lack of control. If you find online play too random, for goodness sake try face to face play before giving up. Ethics are much better controlled, and you will have far fewer problems of this sort.
David Stevenson

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#19 User is offline   onoway 

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Posted 2012-August-03, 08:08

View Postbarmar, on 2012-July-29, 22:46, said:

Law 40C1:

So as long as he doesn't bid like this repeatedly, it's perfectly fine. This is the law that explicitly allows psychic bidding (but 40B2d allows the RA to regulate psychic artificial calls, so an RA could prohibit psychic negative doubles if they wanted to).


Both hands we objected to happened within the first half dozen hands we played vs this pair.

The very first hand started out with an unalerted 1NT bid in response to his partners 1 opening. They ended up in and when dummy went down it had opening values and 72-2-2 distribution. This was the (unalerted) agreement between the pair, and they offered to redeal when we protested. Which we did.

The next hand (which was given above) was hand 5, if I remember.

This was not just casual play, it was part of a scheduled series of matches but no TD was around. I refused to continue until we could play with a TD available. We had a number of kibs,(including precision players), some of whom told me later that they wondered if the pair were cheating because the bidding was so strange.

When the hand was offered to a TD, we were told that everything was fine, "it was just a bad bid". My p quit playing and now I play only with a few friends.

An occassional psyche is one thing, but to deliberately mislead in one hand and then psyche in another a couple of hands later is not bridge, imo, it's psychological warfare and I want no part of it. Perhaps at the top levels this is fine,or to be expected, but most of us, even if we play competitive bridge as best we can, are here to enjoy the game, win or lose. At any point past the first hand, this was not enjoyable or fun in any way.

I used to pay to play in the Homebase Tourneys and get smeared so regularly that it counted a victory if I didnt come in last. They were highly educational. This was not, except in that now I know pairs can behave badly and it's allowed. I won't ever again suggest that anyone play duplicate bridge, not only because this experience was so intensely unpleasant, but mostly because the opp's behaviour is perfectly fine within duplicate bridge rules.
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#20 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2012-August-03, 08:40

That certainly was a horrible situation, but I don't think it's typical. Even if it's within the letter of the law, it seems unsporting. And the first hand, where they failed to alert their agreement, was not even within the letter of the law.

Since they should mislead partner as well as the opponents, frequent psyches should be a losing strategy in the long run. I think that's why the Laws allow them. That's why they prohibit psychic controls, to make it hard to reduce the risk, and declare that similar psyches become implicit agreements that must be disclosed (or prohibited if they violate system regulations).

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