Alerting versus Announcing

At a session last Friday, I was called over for what I thought was quite a trivial matter but it escalated into UI. Comments are most welcome please.

Player X plays 5 card majors and her system card shows she will open 1D when
-Opening points
-No 5 card major
-Balanced hand.

It's a bit like an Acol weak 12-14 1NT.... Player X will open 1NT with 15-17 points.

Her partner Announced the 1D as Balanced, Denies 5 card major...

Opponent called me over to say that this bid should have been Alerted and that by Announcing it, she was passing UI to her partner.

I come across a lot of players who use 1C as an unnatural bid, and the EBU rules on Alerting and Announcing seem quite clear here. If it's an unnatural bid, 1C is Announced as 'Maybe X where X is 0, 1 or 2.

But what about this 1D. Should it be Alerted or Announced? And what would the correct Announcement be?

Thanks

Comments

  • The 'announcement is patently wrong'. See Blue Book 4D1 (below)

    Prepared or short 1!c and 1!d openings (which are non-forcing but may be made on two cards or fewer) are announced as “may be” followed by the minimum number e.g. "May be two". Where the opening could have a different five-card (or longer) suit in a balanced or semi-balanced hand, the announcement is extended as appropriate, such as ‘May be two, and may have another five card suit’. The detail of the announcement may be altered in line with the partnership understanding. For example, if the only possible five-card side suit in a 1!c opening is diamonds the announcement may be ‘May be two and may have five diamonds’. Both members of the partnership must always make the same announcement. Do not announce the possibility of a five card side suit if it only occurs where the opening bidder has at least five cards in the minor opened.
    .....
    So if the call guaranteed 3 Diamonds then the call is not announceable. If it could be opened with 2 diamonds then it should be announced as "May be 2" If the player regards the call as having a potentially unexpected meaning, then they should alert - IMHO this is probably not the case. In any case adding further explanation to the announcement (unless the 'and may have 5 clubs' possibility exists) is providing UI to partner. If the person knows partner forgets the system on a regular basis then this is potentially a serious problem. (Although the provision of UI is not an infraction of course.). It is very likely that the player is confused about announcing rules and is merely trying to help.
    .....
    It is surprising at a club level how many pairs announce the strength of 1NT overcalls and transfer bids made other than in the correct circumstances.

  • It is announced as "may be two" if it is a prepared minor, otherwise it is not announced or alerted if playing 3 or more and a normal suit. BLUE BOOK section 4D

  • It's not clear from the original description that it should be alerted or announced at all. If it shows a minimum of three cards, it is not. If it is announceable, not only should the announcement state the minimum number of diamonds, but it should also state if there could be an outside five-card suit, such as in certain versions of Precision when a 3325 hand might be opened 1D

    One of my pet peeves is people who say "denies a five-card major" when it is not true: what would they open with five spades and seven diamonds?

    Another is people saying "better minor" when they don't actually open 1D when they are 3-3 in the minors with better diamonds. I prefer to say "three-card minors".

  • Thanks to everyone for their contributions. In answer to Gordon...

    The player's system card stated a 1D open will only have a minimum of TWO diamonds...

    As the partnership is not guaranteeing the three minimum (within a 5-card major system), they could be 'short'. Isn't the opener's partner obliged to 'do something' be that an Alert or an Announce?

    Further comment is very welcome and I hope this TD forum works out well.

  • Yes, they need to say "could be two" and if appropriate add "could have a five-card club suit". Only if the opening bid is forcing or potentially canape should it be alerted.

  • Isn't any suit that "could be two" potentially canape? I don't think I've ever opened a 2-card suit without a longer suit somewhere else in the hand :) . But are you saying that my 1D opening in a Precision-style system still needs to be alerted rather than announced, since although it could (very occasionally) be 2 and could have a 5-card club suit, it could also be a hand with 45 (or 54) or more in the minors that intends to rebid 2C?

  • edited October 2017

    Yes - from the Blue Book:

    __4 D 1 Prepared or short 1C and 1D openings (which are non-forcing but may be made on two cards
    or fewer) are announced as “may be” followed by the minimum number e.g. "May be two".
    Where the opening could have a different five-card (or longer) suit in a balanced or semibalanced
    hand, the announcement is extended as appropriate, such as ‘May be two, and may
    have another five card suit’. The detail of the announcement may be altered in line with the
    partnership understanding. For example, if the only possible five-card side suit in a 1C opening
    is diamonds the announcement may be ‘May be two and may have five diamonds’. Both
    members of the partnership must always make the same announcement. Do not announce
    the possibility of a five card side suit if it only occurs where the opening bidder has at least five
    cards in the minor opened.
    A canapé 1C or 1D opening (where the shorter suit may be opened on a two-suited hand) is
    alerted. __

    The important distinction is that canape relates to two-suited hands, not balanced hands.

  • "Denies a five card major" is in fact played by some people through ignorance and I have known an opening of 1S with five spades and seven diamonds. But I agree that most people who say "Denies a five card major" have just not thought about it. "Better minor" annoys me somewhat as well but that is now a common description of the normal only open 1D with 4=4=3=2. However Barbara Hackett surprised me by actually playing Better Minor! This sort of thing equates to the description of an Acol 2C or a Benjamin 2D as "23 plus" when it is nothing of the sort. Going further back in time the term "Puppet Stayman for the commonly played convention 2NT - 3C is a complete misnomer since it is not a Puppet bid at all: when invented it was a puppet bid and it has since been modified considerably.

    While i think we have to live with the annoyance it is interesting to know what happens when a player claims misinformation because of one of these descriptions. Probably the most common in the past was "23 plus" which players have opened on a distributional 10 count!

  • "Denies a five card major" is also played by a number of American experts (following a guy called Steve Robinson), in a system called "Washington Standard" and they would indeed open 1S with 5 spades and 8 diamonds. But I agree it is rare.

    I commit one of Gordon's pet peeves as a sin of omission. I (and my partners) announce our 1C opening as "may be two and could have a five card red suit". I agree that technically the words "if balanced" should be added on the end of that sentence because it could have five cards in any suit, but it's long enough already and people know what we mean.

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