MI - information to which the NOS is entitled

N/S vul, dealer N, who holds:
!s 82
!h K82
!d AQ7653
!c 74

N opens 2!c , which shows a weak two in diamonds or one of a variety of strong hands. E overcalls 3!c and W closes the auction with 3NT.

The conversation should now proceed:

E: before you lead, my partner should have alerted 3!c .

W: I disagree: Director, please.

As director, how do you go about ensuring that N has all the information to which he is entitled in selecting his opening lead, but nothing to which he is not entitled?

I invite you to frame your questions to E/W (and please say if any would take place away from the table), and I will tell you the answers you will get (some of which will be within my knowledge; others I may have to make up in the interests of the exercise). For starters I can tell you that there is nothing about a defence to this opening on the system card.


  • OK, for me, if 3C is conventional by agreement (or by application of agreements in similar circumstances) then the ops are entitled to know that.
    If 3C is a natural overcall (by agreement) then no need for info/alert.

    If there is 'no agreement' then I think that an alert and information is required, even if the information is that we have no agreement in this situation. As has been discussed in other threads, even where there is no specific agreement in place, a regular partnership will have developed an understanding and this experience forms part of their agreements. So, the information may be, we have no agreement in this situation, however, in similar circumstances partner would see this as forcing (or non-forcing), for example. Or perhaps, they may not be as strong as you might imagine for a 3-level overcall.

  • For West's assertion to be correct, under EBU regulations they would need to have the agreement that this overcall is natural. If there is doubt about that (which seems likely) then it is alertable. So I think it might be a good place to start by taking West away from the table to find out why he is so sure it's not alertable. Having done so, I might also want to take East away to find out why he thinks it is alertable.

    Although we want to minimise the amount of information disclosed to that which is actually disclosable, if NS do get any extra information they are entitled to use it.

  • I think that players (TDs too, perhaps) have difficulty with the proposition that "no agreement" is alertable, particularly in circumstances where they feel that it is completely obvious that if they have not discussed a defence to a particular gadget, then an overcall in a suit not shown or even implied by the opening is by all logic natural.

    How is W to alert if it would never have occurred to him (being topical) even once in several blue moons that 3!c was anything other than natural?

    One might think of alerting an undiscussed 2!d overcall on the grounds that partner may have made the sensible assumption that one assumes that this opening is a weak two in diamonds until proved otherwise, and that both partners will reccognise the fact and work it out accordingly, but to expect players to alert an undiscussed overcall in another suit seems to me very problematic.

    Perhaps, to be pedantic, instead of "I disagree" in the OP, W should have said "I did not alert because I do not believe that we have any alertable agreement, but I accept that in fact we do not have any explicit agreement.

  • This regulation arose in response to concerns that some players seemed to hide behind a "no specific agreement" explanation when they did in fact have a much better idea than their opponents of what the call was likely to mean.
    It is true that many players won't alert because they won't realise they are meant to, but it nevertheless is the case that its alertability can be the basis for a ruling and score adjustment.

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