Alert natural raise to 3?

Last week, I opened 1H and partner raised to 3H. When asked if this had any special meaning, I said it showed a minimum of four hearts and an eight loser hand but was limited to a (probable) maximum of 10HCP because with the same loser count but 11+ points partner would normally prefer a conventional 2NT response.

The opponent complained that I should have alerted because partner's response didn't show the "standard Acol" range of 11-12. Is that true? Do I have to alert this bid because it doesn't show the allegedly "normal" point range for a raise to that level?


  • Sounds like a normal bid to me - invitational to game. Hardly in the same category as an inverted minor raise! Anyway what is he griping about - was he intending to come in with 3S or 3 of a minor with about an 17-18 count on his side?

  • Of course I meant 4 of a minor-oops!

  • Alerting doesn't depend on someone's idea of what standard Acol is. It depends on what is defined in the Blue Book as being alertable, primarily calls that are not natural; or those that are natural but have a potentially unexpected meaning. The 3H call as described does not fall into either of those groups.

    What would be alertable is a pre-emptive jump raise in an uncontested auction.

  • Given that the description of the 3H raise was ' a minimum of four hearts and an eight loser hand but was limited to a (probable) maximum of 10HCP', this seems to include shapely Yarboroughs. I might be mildly surprised (potentially unexpected?) when a dummy like that went down after raising 1H to 3H.

  • Thanks all.
    PBCchair: perhaps I overstated it to say he complained. It was more a friendly debate. At the the end of the board, knowing I was one of the club directors, he suggested I should have alerted it because of the (to him) unexpected upper limit on the point range. I wasn't sure (although I thought not) and said I would check.
    Colinsimcox: remembering my old maths jargon, 4 hearts and 8 losers is a necessary but not sufficient condition. In other words, all hands that bid 3H should have four card support and 8 losers but that doesn't mean that all hands with 8 loser and heart support have to bid 3H. We don't have a defined minimum point count but with very few points one has to exercise judgement. The low end point count didn't come up in the discussion but I did confirm that 3H was not preemptive.

  • It might be interesting to understand your system. You say with 11 points and eight losers you would bid 2NT. Is that game forcing?

    If yes then you an incurable optimist but that is perfectly legal.

    If no then the distinction becomes a little strange. Most people play that 1H p 3H is eight losers (except people who play it as a pre-empt) without further definition; the 11-12 of Acol is to simplify it for new players but is basically the same thing because it means 11 points including points for shortages. If you really are playing to ways to raise to 3H, one weaker, you are not far off playing 3H as pre-emptive which would be alertable.

  • To what extent is it allowable to describe the 3H response to the 1H opening bid as "invitation to game in hearts"? When asked what this means you would be able to describe all that your imagination allows - after all the "at least 4-card heart support and 11-12 points" is what you learn in lesson one and there is far more to it than that.

  • I describe it as a raise to 3H and would never mention points.

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