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difference in alerting regulation between different countries EBU vs ACBL vs others?

#1 User is offline   mikl_plkcc 

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Posted 2021-October-10, 13:05

Some bids which are taken for granted (not alertable) in ACBL land are alerted in EBU land, such as
* Stayman (announced in EBU after an opening or alerted after an overcall, but taken for granted in ABCL)
* Strong 2 opening and the associated 2 response
* Forcing 2NT response over a 2-level preempt (in contrast, in ACBL, a natural 2NT needs to be alerted)
* A natural 2-level opening is always announced in EBU, while the weak meaning is taken for granted in ABCL.

Any more examples of that, and from other country's regulations?
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#2 User is online   sfi 

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Posted 2021-October-10, 15:34

There are two fundamental ways to approach alert regulations. The ACBL assumes a standard system and approach, and requires alerts for actions that differ sufficiently from this approach. The WBF and a number of other jurisdictions start from the concept that natural bids do not need alerting and artificial ones do. This gets modified a bit, so natural calls that are unexpectedly either forcing or non-forcing still require an alert, and some artificial calls are so common that they have special exceptions.

One artificial call that does not require an alert in many jurisdictions is 2C as some sort of major ask. It's alertable in the WBF, not alertable in the ACBL, alertable in the ABF if after a 1NT overcall, but not after a 1NT opening, and announced in other jurisdictions.

Another simple example is a 1C opening which may include 4432. You don't alert this in the ACBL, you announce it in the ABF (2+), you alert it in the WBF, and in Poland you alert it because it's not a Polish 1C opener. Other jurisdictions will have different rules. If you can open 1C on other shapes with a 2-card club suit, such as 4342, then the rules change. You alert in the ACBL and you announce differently in the ABF (2+, unusual). And so on.

Another major point of difference is whether and when to alert doubles and cue bids. The ABF and the WBF never alert doubles (although I notice you are supposed to alert some redoubles in the WBF - never realised that), the EBU has simple rules about when to alert, and they're more complex in the ACBL. Cue bids are complex.

The advantage of the first approach is that if there is a standard approach, alerts work well to highlight differences. The disadvantage is that it helps set the idea of a standard and players have to know it as well as their own system. Another major point of difference is the length of the regulations. The WBF has a one-page alerting policy, while the ACBL's alert procedures are 13 pages.
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#3 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2021-October-11, 00:51

I've always felt that the ACBL alerting regulations are written for tournament players and EBU/SBU regulations more for club players, where there are far fewer conventions used. The WBF regulations are written for elite players playing with screens.
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#4 User is online   sfi 

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Posted 2021-October-11, 07:27

View Postpaulg, on 2021-October-11, 00:51, said:

The WBF regulations are written for elite players playing with screens.

I'm not sure that's fair. You are right that this is when they are primarily used, but the idea of alerting conventional calls and not alerting natural ones is something even beginners can understand fairly quickly.
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#5 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2021-October-11, 11:34

View Postpaulg, on 2021-October-11, 00:51, said:

The WBF regulations are written for elite players playing with screens.

View Postsfi, on 2021-October-11, 07:27, said:

I'm not sure that's fair. You are right that this is when they are primarily used, but the idea of alerting conventional calls and not alerting natural ones is something even beginners can understand fairly quickly.


The WBF does not believe the policy needs any explanation.

The SBU alerting policy is based on the WBF regulations. It adds another six pages of explanation because the basic concept is less easy to implement when you have mixed ability fields.
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#6 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2021-October-12, 06:52

Are you suggesting that some players can’t tell whether a bid is natural or artificial?
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#7 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-October-12, 10:04

Don't know about Paul, but I'm saying that the definition of Natural is "so obvious everyone knows what it means. Of course, different people know different 'so obvious' definitions, and of course, each of them believe they are right."

2M Polish - M+m. Natural, obviously, because it shows the major bid. Not Natural, obviously, because it promises another suit (one of two, sure).

1NT "balanced" but could be 4441 with a small singleton. Natural, because it's "intending to play in NT." Not Natural, because "not balanced".

1950's style "fourth suit forcing". It's Natural, because it "shows the suit". Not Natural, because "well, sometimes we just need a Forcing bid, and this is the only one we have. This time it's Qx, and it's obvious to 'expect' this."

And that's just the experts. The normals have a different idea of what is Natural, and when the experts say something else, and claim "it's obvious that..." or "it's just bridge", the normals are - unhappy. So having the documentation that makes a final decision takes it out of the hands of the expert, the normal, and the director, really helps.

WBF runs almost no events with "normals", so they don't have to care.
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#8 User is offline   mikl_plkcc 

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Posted 2021-October-16, 15:28

View Postblackshoe, on 2021-October-12, 06:52, said:

Are you suggesting that some players can’t tell whether a bid is natural or artificial?

I'll say that a bid is natural is it suggests the denomination to be played. For example, a 3NT bid based on a solid long suit can be said as natural because it is intended to be played.
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#9 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2021-October-17, 01:52

View Postblackshoe, on 2021-October-12, 06:52, said:

Are you suggesting that some players can't tell whether a bid is natural or artificial?

At all levels of the game players struggle with alerting regulations, even when they are as simple as the WBF policy.

The majority of players in WBF tournaments do not alert Stayman. It doesn't make much difference if they cannot tell the difference between natural or artificial or just don't care, the lack of an alert is the same.
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#10 User is offline   nullve 

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Posted 2021-October-17, 07:54

View Postmikl_plkcc, on 2021-October-16, 15:28, said:

I'll say that a bid is natural is it suggests the denomination to be played. played.

1X-7 on a 0-0 fit against 7= is a fantastic result NV vs. V.

So could even a bid like

1 = 0 hcp and 0 spades

be natural?
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#11 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2021-October-17, 08:26

View Postnullve, on 2021-October-17, 07:54, said:

1X-7 on a 0-0 fit against 7= is a fantastic result NV vs. V. So could even a bid like1 = 0 hcp and 0 spades be natural?
That appears to accord with EBU regulations. For example transfer completion and pass/correct.

  • 1N - 2(transfer) - 2 usually denies a fit but is deemed natural because you might play there
  • 2(Multi) - 2 usually denies and shows -- but it is again is deemed natural because you could play there if opener has s.

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#12 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-October-17, 13:41

The situation is different if partner promises length in the suit - exactly in the form of a transfer or by failure to correct a pass/correct bid. I don't think this law extends to "1: 0+ spades, 0+ points, partner will sit come hell and high water/except for certain, low frequency, situations".
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#13 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2021-October-17, 14:31

View Postpaulg, on 2021-October-11, 00:51, said:

I've always felt that the
  • ACBL alerting regulations are written for tournament players and
  • EBU/SBU regulations more for club players, where there are far fewer conventions used.
  • WBF regulations are written for elite players playing with screens.

A fair summary.
IMO, local regulations, especially system-regulations should be scrapped. The main effect of local regulations is to prevent a level playing-field. i.e. to handicap strangers and foreigners.

Thus, ACBL regulations safe-guard the interests of US professionals. e.g.
  • Ban conventions, popular in other jurisdictions, that might disconcert a US client. Multi is the notorious example :)
  • Redefine methods that are blatantly artificial but popular with US clients, as natural. This relieves the client of the need to alert :) but its main purpose is to discourage conventional counters. e.g. Many US clients recently adopted the convention that a 1 opening can show as few as 2-cards. If regulations retained the old classification of this 1 opener as artificial, then opponents would be free to use artificial counters. ACBL regulators alertly stepped in to protect the client :)

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#14 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2021-October-18, 01:59

View Postnige1, on 2021-October-17, 14:31, said:

A fair summary.
IMO, local regulations, especially system-regulations should be scrapped. The main effect of local regulations is to prevent a level playing-field. i.e. to handicap strangers and foreigners.

You have always argued for this but I think you overstate the downside. There are very few strangers and foreigners in local tournaments, essentially a negligible number. Why should all the locals have to learn a completely new set of alerting regulations just to accommodate them? Many countries have traditionally had their own "country system": Polish Club, SEF, Standard American. It seems sensible for the alerting regulations to reflect these.

It is true that online bridge is breaking down these barriers and BBO has helped a lot in this regard. But if people move away from local customs, it seems more important for them to be alerting this.

View Postnige1, on 2021-October-17, 14:31, said:

Thus, ACBL regulations safe-guard the interests of US professionals. e.g.
  • Ban conventions, popular in other jurisdictions, that might disconcert a US client. Multi is the notorious example :)
  • Redefine methods that are blatantly artificial but popular with US clients, as natural. This relieves the client of the need to alert :) but its main purpose is to discourage conventional counters. e.g. Many US clients recently adopted the convention that a 1 opening can show as few as 2-cards. If regulations retained the old classification of this 1 opener as artificial, then opponents would be free to use artificial counters. ACBL regulators alertly stepped in to protect the client :)


I think you are reading your own views into a situation based on a couple of incidents in international events. Having played a lot more than you in the USA, the ACBL regulators are safeguarding the interests of the vast majority of local players. The US pros do not care what you play, but the vast majority of tournament players dislike coming across methods that they are unprepared for. It is far less tolerant that the UK, perhaps because there is no dominant system here.

But things are changing a lot in the ACBL. The latest system regulations are more aligned with EBU/SBU although they dislike Multi in pairs events with short rounds.

I would also say that all the clients that play in the top events have never been protected in team events. Almost everything is permitted in these events but it only tends to be the foreigners who play them.


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#15 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2021-October-18, 03:35

View Postpaulg, on 2021-October-18, 01:59, said:

You have always argued for this but I think you overstate the downside. There are very few strangers and foreigners in local tournaments, essentially a negligible number. Why should all the locals have to learn a completely new set of alerting regulations just to accommodate them? Many countries have traditionally had their own "country system": Polish Club, SEF, Standard American. It seems sensible for the alerting regulations to reflect these.
I argue for the same global alerting rules everywhere :)
I consistently argue against the need for players to be forced to learn different alerting rules depending on local regulations.
IMO, regulations shouldn't deliberately favour one group of players over another.
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#16 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-October-18, 09:18

Oddly enough, you can play any non-Purely Destructive defence against the QN "clubs or balanced" opener in the ACBL, and always have been allowed to(*). It's only in the WBF games where the protection holds.

I, too, assumed that the Shanghai boo-birds were going to go all panic over "but of course opening an 18-high 4342 in my shortest suit is Natural, and must be protected", but I have not seen any sign of it.

Maybe it's true that in the last 13 years it's been shown to not matter. In which case, why not remove the crutch from the WBF?

But this isn't Alerting, of course. My statement on global alert standards still stands.

(*) at least in any game with clients. Basic+, you can't use nasty defences against Quasi-Natural openers. OTOH, you can't play transfers over your QN 1, either, so most of the time people won't be playing a QN 1 (it still protects the "simple" Precision pairs' 1, and the "1NT 10-12, 1 13-15, 1 15-17" crowd).
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#17 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-October-18, 15:44

View Postnige1, on 2021-October-17, 14:31, said:

A fair summary.
IMO, local regulations, especially system-regulations should be scrapped. The main effect of local regulations is to prevent a level playing-field. i.e. to handicap strangers and foreigners.

The same could be said for having different spoken languages in different countris. Do we need to scrap them and get everyone to speak Earthish?

#18 User is offline   mikl_plkcc 

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Posted 2021-October-18, 16:22

View Postpaulg, on 2021-October-18, 01:59, said:

It is far less tolerant that the UK, perhaps because there is no dominant system here.



The dominant system in the UK is Acol.
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#19 User is offline   paulg 

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Posted 2021-October-19, 01:36

View Postpaulg, on 2021-October-18, 01:59, said:

It is far less tolerant that the UK, perhaps because there is no dominant system here.

View Postmikl_plkcc, on 2021-October-18, 16:22, said:

The dominant system in the UK is Acol.



Indeed. Although with 57 varieties in every club, it is not as well defined as most standard systems and I always feel it is a state of mind rather than a system :)



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#20 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-October-19, 03:40

View Postpaulg, on 2021-October-19, 01:36, said:

Indeed. Although with 57 varieties in every club, it is not as well defined as most standard systems and I always feel it is a state of mind rather than a system :)





It would still be nice if the EBU, SBU, WBU, NIBU and ideally CBAI could agree a common approach across the British Isles. At least until the Isle of Man declares independence Posted Image
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