Getting back to face-to-face alerting

May 25, 2022

Now that many players are back to playing face-to-face, some of them have found they are no longer clear about how alerting and announcing work in the live game.

There is a summary of the current alerting rules available on this website, although some of the announcements may be updated later this year, but here are a few tips to simplify things even more for the most common cases.

  • Alerting and announcing are done by the partner of the player making the call (self-alerts only apply in some online games);
  • Doubles of natural suit bids below 3NT are assumed to be for takeout; if they are not then they are alerted (it doesn’t matter how normal you think the situation is, just follow the rule);
  • Doubles of NT bids up to 3NT are assumed to be for penalties; if they are not (such as (1H)-P-(1NT)-X for takeout of hearts) then they are alerted;
  • Calls above 3NT are not usually alerted, except:
    • suit bids on the first round, like splinter bids (the first round is considered to start with the first bid, regardless of the number of passes that might have preceded it) – 4NT is not alerted even on the first round;
    • Lead-directing passes;
    • Doubles or redoubles that are ‘artificially’ lead-directing [lead directing but ask for the lead of a suit other than the suit doubled (or redoubled)], such as a double of a splinter bid asking for a lead of the next lower-ranking suit, or the double of a slam asking for the lead of dummy’s first bid suit;
    • Doubles and redoubles of no trump contracts that call for a specific suit to be led.