Disclosure by declarer to defenders : required or not?

Dealer N
NS Vul EW Non Vul
MP pairs

N opened 2D which was alerted by S who described it (when asked) as a Multi showing a weak 2 in a Major OR a strong 4441 hand
W overcalled 2S with JT76432
S bid 2N which would be an asking bid in the system without the intervention.
N did not alert this. Although the system is described on the CC there is no mention of whether it is on or off in competition.
E doubled
N bid 3NT which S alerted.
W passed and S bid 5D
All passed
W asked S about the alert and was told that "in our system it shows a strong 4441 hand with a singleton Club.

North knew that his hand didn't fit S's description but considered that having not alerted S's 2N bid it should be clear that he had taken it as natural. S had obviously missed this subtlety as had E and W.

S's had given a correct explanation of the system (without intervention) and he (S) believed it was accurate.

However, N knew that he had bid 3N to play and although his hand didn't fit the explanation he believed that S had been incorrect to alert in the absence of an alert from N of S's 2N bid.

White Book 8.40.5 requires experienced players to protect themselves. So should W have asked S whether the explanation of the alert was still correct considering that N hadn't alerted the 'so called' asking bid (which hadn't been explained by either N or S in the absence of any question from E or W about it).

EW failed to defeat 5D after JS lead to N's singleton Ace and E's singleton 8. N then drew trumps in 3 rounds and ran QH to E's K but E, relying on S's explanation did not follow up his switch to AC with KC but switched again to a H enabling N to dump his losing Club in dummy on QH, ruff a Club in dummy and dispose of his last two Clubs in hand on KS & QS.

NS got a joint bottom for 5D making, with every other pair in the room in 3NT. 3 made 10, 4 made 11 and two made 9.

E was aggrieved that N had not corrected his partner's explanation knowing that is was an inaccurate description of the actual hand he held.

N's reason for not doing so was that he felt that his partner had bid the system correctly as he (S) understood it but should have realised that 3N was to play and was not a response to the 2N enquiry. As such it was not up to N to describe the hand that he felt he had bid correctly just because it didn't match partner's explanation when partner's explanation was technically correct within the context of the system bid which S thought that N had made.

There had been no fielding by either player and NS had, in any case, landed themselves in a vastly inferior contract to the optimum 3NT.

The TD agreed to examine it at the end of the evening at which point she felt unable to know how to rule but, considering that an adjustment to 5D-1 would result in only 2 more MPs for EW she allowed the result to stand. The transfer of the 2MPs would not have affected either pair's position in the results. That however doesn't actually make it correct for the TD to fail to rule.

What are the views on this forum of N's actions?

Should the TD rule that N does not have to disclose anything about his hand to EW in these circumstances or should he declare before W makes an opening lead that whilst his partner's explanation is systemically correct, N's decision not to alert S's asking bid indicates that he may not necessarily have the hand which S has described?

The NS hands are reproduced below.

A
QJ87
AKJ9
Q954

KQ95
A6
Q7542
T7

Comments

  • I'm confused.
    If North opened 2D how did W overcall before S bid 2NT and then E doubled? I thought calls went clockwise.

  • E/W are entitled to an accurate description of N/S's agreed methods, not to an accurate description of the contents of their hands.

    If N/S do not have a secure agreement as to whether their agreed methods for an uncontested auction apply in competition, that is the information to which E/W are entitled. Not a bare "No agreement", which is at best unhelpful and rarely amounts to the sum total of information to which the opponents are entitled. More like "No specific agreement, but...", say something along the lines of "2NT would ask for clarification of my hand if W had passed: we have not agreed whether this still applies given W's overcall" and "In an uncontested auction 3NT would have shown a strong 4-4-4-1 with a singleton club: given that he did not alert my 2NT it is possible that my partner does not believe that this applies in competition".

    Obviously your original post was quite long and I have not sought to deal with every point. I may come back to other issues later.

  • If North had realised at some point during the auction (perhaps when South alerted 3NT) that they were playing "system on" over an overcall, he should have called the director and corrected his own failure to alert 2NT, either immediately or at the end of the auction.

    This won't really help EW as it will tend to reinforce the notion that NS's auction was artificial, although they may draw what conclusions they like from North's initial failure to alert 2NT.

    If the TD is asked for a ruling, they may decide that despite what NS say they don't have an agreement on what they play in competition here, and consider awarding an adjusted score on the grounds that EW may have defended better had they been told "no agreement, it might be natural, or it might be the system we play over a pass".

    The South hand doesn't look to me like one that would make a game invitation opposite a weak two, so why did they bid 2NT and then claim to be playing "system on"?

    In general, North and South should alert and explain their calls according to what methods they believe they are playing. They should not change their alerting or explanations because of anything partner does.

  • We'll assume that East (not West) overcalled 2!s on that powerhouse suit.

    South bids 2NT: (which would be an asking bid absent any intervention - and as such alerted.)

    OK - it would appear that there is no partnership agreement, so from now on there can't be a partnership agreement.

    North knew that his hand didn't fit S's description but considered that having not alerted S's 2N bid it should be clear that he had taken it as natural. S had obviously missed this subtlety as had E and W.

    Well first of all: South may have not missed this subtlety BUT he only knows of it through unauthorised information (failure to alert) and thus must carefully avoid making use of this information.

    Secondly EW (as Abbeybear points out) are entitled to know that NS have no agreement - they are not entitled to know that North has a 1=4=4=4 hand.

    SO the correct procedures are:

    North alerts 2NT: "We have no agreement - if there had been no intervention it would be an enquiry as to hand type".

    East doubles (assuming for penalties after West's bid - whether he would do so after North's statement is problematic)

    North bids 3NT: South Alerts "We have no agreement - if there had been no intervention it would show 4=4=4=1 hand." - North believes of course that his bidding has showed a balanced hand with a spade stop.

    South Bids 5!d: Obviously no alerts.

    At this moment in time I cannot see how North can do other than bid 6!d (or even 7!d) - he has shown a balanced hand and South has jumped to 5!d missing the AK of trumps! His UI is that he thinks his partner is bidding diamonds on a short club suit in North's hand and is thus distributional whereas the AI is that South is doing so facing a hand that is most probably balanced.

    SO I am going to rule 75% 6 !dx -2 and 25% 7 !dx -3. (My surname is not Jeffreys)

  • edited January 25

    That is very helpful weejonnie

    Thanks and apologies for getting EW's bids back to front.

    As you rightly pointed out it must have been E who overcalled their powerhouse S suit.

    The only problem with North believing that his bidding shows a balanced hand with a Spade stop is that he's opened it 2D which was alerted and explained correctly. So now whether there is agreement or not about whether system is on or off when there's an intervention N is virtually certain to have a strong 4441 because after E's overcall only two of the three original possibilities remain.

    Also as N apparently believed that system was off he's therefore taken his partner's bid to show a balanced 10-11 count with a S stop so perhaps 6D isn't so clear for him.

  • @SDN said:
    I'm confused.
    If North opened 2D how did W overcall before S bid 2NT and then E doubled? I thought calls went clockwise.

    Quite right. I must be rotationally challenged.

  • @weejonnie said:

    His UI is that he thinks his partner is bidding diamonds on a short club suit in North's hand and is thus distributional whereas the AI is that South is doing so facing a hand that is most probably balanced.

    OK, so this logic doesn't quite work given that there is no strong balanced option in N/S's Multi.

    Let's focus on S's actions. Given his alert of 3NT, he presumably intended 2NT as the enquiry that it would have been had E passed. Quite why he seems to have wanted to play 3!h had N had the most likely hand, namely a weak two in hearts, when he holds!s KQ95 is unclear, of course.

    N now fails to alert and bids 3NT. What is S to make of this? N cannot have a weak two in either major, so must have a strong 4-4-4-1 with some shortage or other. From his hand and E's overcall he knows that the shortage must very likely be in spades, although it is just possible that E has overcalled on AJ10xx and the spades are 5-4-0-4 round the table.

    S has UI from N's failure to make the expected alert, but we do not need to scrutinise his 5!d bid too closely because of itself it did not damage E/W.

    Turning to N, he has, from his failure to alert 2NT, taken it as natural. At the stage when he bid 3NT, he was not in possession of any UI, so he may bid what he likes at this point. Besides, if S has a spade stop and enough to force the partnership to play in 3!h opposite a weak two in hearts, then the partnership clearly has enough to make 3NT when N has a strong 4-4-4-1.

    Now S alerts and bids 5!d. Now, it seems to me that N does not have any significant UI at that point, if I correctly understand that E/W did not ask about the 3NT bid until after the auction was finished. N knows that his 3NT bid has confirmed a strong 4-4-4-1, but at this stage he does not know that partner thinks he has shown a singleton club. If he thinks that the alert means that S thinks he knows what N's shortage is, whereas N doesn't think he has identified his shortage, that is UI, but I don't believe it suggests anything particular in the absence of N knowing what shortage S thinks he has.

    Given that a (from N's perspective) natural 2NT is very unlikely to have enough diamonds to want to play in 5!d opposite a singleton, the bridge logic is that S has placed the contract having made the assumption that N's shortage is not diamonds. I don't think we know the range of the "strong" 4-4-4-1 option, but it is likely that N's hand is close to a dead minimum. In the circumstances I don't think that there is a case for adjusting for UI.

    The only adjustment we should consider, therefore, is to give E/W some percentage of beating 5!d on the grounds that they would have defended more accurately if they had been given the information to which they were entitled.

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