Insufficient bid when it would be a cue bid

edited May 25 in EBU TDs

South is dealer and opens:

1H - 3C* - 3C

*Weak jump overcall.

Law 27B 1(a) says an insufficient bid may be "corrected by the lowest sufficient bid which specifies the same denomination(s) as that specified by the withdrawn call".

3C was intended as natural but N had not seen the intervening bid. N simply asked for his options and was advised 4C would be OK without further rectification.

This gives me pause for thought. The clubs split 0 - 6- 5 - 2. For N though is it reasonable to substitute 4C (cue bid) for 3C (intended as natural)? Presumably on the basis that no matter what was intended, the insufficient 3C is also a cue bid.

Or should the director consider that since the intention of the insufficient bid was to show clubs, but that 4C in the N/S system must be a cue bid, that partner is silenced? This would make more sense to me.

S has UI but did not take advantage as far as I am aware.

Comments

  • There has been some doubt as to the meaning of the quote above. IMHO the fact that it has an (s) in it means that it is the denominations referred to by the bid, not the denomination part of the bid itself.

    I think that the intent of this law was to allow a player who e.g. had made an (insufficient) transfer bid to then bid the suit shown by the transfer bid at the lowest level. Pre 2017 both calls had to be 'not artificial'.

    IMHO In this case 3C specified clubs Only. 4C (as a cue bid) specified both clubs AND hearts - I have heart support and a club shortage. (And so partner should be silenced)

    It does raise an interesting point though - making the lowest call that only refers to the same denomination, without mentioning the same characteristics of the denomination seems to be acceptable in not silencing partner. Law 16 (UI withdraw calls) does not apply - so you have to rely on Law 27D to adjust.

    Contrast to 'Comparable call' - in this case it is clear that 4C is NOT a comparable call.

  • edited May 25

    @weejonnie said:
    There has been some doubt as to the meaning of the quote above. IMHO the fact that it has an (s) in it means that it is the denominations referred to by the bid, not the denomination part of the bid itself.

    I take it that way too. And from what you say it seems that we need to look at what was intended as well as the system.

    Consider 1H - 1H (overcall).

    In case A, the overcaller says Michaels was intended (let's presume the misbid was loss of concentration rather than mechanical error).

    In case B, the overcaller says they did not see the earlier bid and a natural Heart bid was intended.

    So case A is straightforward, the bid is replaced with 2H (if not accepted by LHO).

    But case B is difficult because there is no comparable call.

    The difference is not the systems but the intention, correct?

    Tim

  • I don't think that you are correct: in case A. In this case

    A call that replaces a withdrawn call is a comparable call, if it:
    1. has the same or similar meaning as that attributable to the withdrawn call, or
    2. defines a subset of the possible meanings attributable to the withdrawn call, or
    3. has the same purpose (e.g. an asking bid or a relay) as that attributable to the withdrawn
    call.

    1 and 2 - do not apply, because the withdrawn call is 1H. Even though the player intended to make a Michael's cue bid, that is not what he in fact did - and thus the denomination referred to by the bid is hearts according to system agreements. If he replaces the call with 2H then the denomination(s) specified are Spades and either Clubs or Diamonds.

    If the other argument (that the denomination(s) shown by a 1H or 2H bid is always hearts) then this would indeed be the case - even though the meaning of the two calls is different.

    In case B, There is probably no comparable call as it is very unlikely players have an agreement that any call would show the same suit as that bid by an opponent. Again, under the alternative interpretation, 2H could be bid without silencing partner.

  • @weejonnie said:

    1 and 2 - do not apply, because the withdrawn call is 1H. Even though the player intended to make a Michael's cue bid, that is not what he in fact did - and thus the denomination referred to by the bid is hearts according to system agreements.

    Well this is the crux of it. The player saw the Heart bid and intended to bid Hearts as a cue bid. He just got the level wrong. I am not sure how you judge what the "system agreement" is since no system accounts for the sequence 1H - 1H.

    I am not saying you are wrong, but I would value more precision in how this law is interpreted. For example, you could argue that the meaning of the IB is always interpreted on the basis that a bid earlier in the auction was not seen (even if it was).

    Tim

  • It's an interesting point - the player says, "I'm cue-bidding hearts, I simply got the level wrong and I'm not showing hearts". Maybe you could persuade the player that he'd actually made a mechanical error, rather than had a loss of concentration. (just kidding)

    One aspect to consider is that the first 1H bid is there on the table, it happened. Thus a bid of hearts, at whatever level, by the next player to call is a cue-bid, no matter what he intended it as. Even if he intended to open 1H himself, he can't, due to the first 1H bid, and, so, the second 1H bid cannot be specifying hearts, even though it was.

    We seem to be reduced to asking the player what he intended by the bid and then determining what the appropriate similar-meaning system call for that pair is, if there is one.

  • We look at what meanings might be attributed to the IB and in this case it seems to me that showing hearts or making a Michaels type bid might be attributable. That being the case, the player would be allowed to do anything that was similar to either of those, without barring partner. In this instance, it's unlikely that the player would have a natural heart overcall available.

  • That approach does simplify things a lot, Gordon. We take the whole cloud of interpretations of the IB and see whether the substitute bid reasonably links up with anything in that cloud.

    If the pair are playing a complex, artificial system, the shape of that cloud might be other than we'd initially surmise and we'd probably need to consult the partner for possible meanings under their system.

  • Very few bidding systems define what insufficient bids mean, for obvious reasons!

    In general I find it hard to apply the rules that require me to work out what insufficient bids could have meant. There are situations where they're obviously natural (e.g. for 1!h over an opponent's 1!s in a fairly natural system there's unlikely to be an artificial meaning), but for something like 1!h over a partner's 1NT, I can't see any clear rule to indicate whether it was meant to show hearts or spades.

    For what it's worth, the most common reasons for insufficient bids appear to be a) attempting to overcall but getting the suit order wrong, b) missing that a call was a bid rather than the expected pass, and c) (among newer players) panicking and pulling out a bidding card at random. These may well end up with very different descriptions of the insufficient bidder's hand. (In the last case here, the insufficient bid doesn't really show anything about the bidder's hand at all!)

  • Hi ais523 - as I understand it, you look at the under bid, in your example, 1NT - pass - 1H

    The 1H might show hearts, or might show spades (for most systems I know anyway), as this might be a missed open by partner or a transfer bid gone wrong. Now they can correct this bid (assuming that the next hand does not accept it) to a legal bid that shows hearts or spades.

    So 2H as a transfer to spades would be fine
    2H as a weak take out, would be fine
    2D as a transfer to hearts would be fine
    3H (not playing transfers) as a game forcing showing 5H would be fine

    2C, stayman would not be fine
    2NT as a natural invite would not be fine
    2S as a transfer to clubs would not be fine

    so, you look at the underbid and think about all the possible connotations of the bid. In order to correct to a sufficient bid that does not silence partner they have to bid something new that means something similar or more accurate than one of those possible meanings. Alternatively, they can make another bid that specified the same suite at the minimum level - hence in this example 2D (showing 5 hearts and telling partner to transfer to them) would be fine as this shows hearts at the lowest legal level.

  • I think Martin's explanation is excellent. Interestingly, we have just been working on the updated TD videos, which should be released in a week or so, and one of the examples in them is 1NT-1H, insufficient response corrected to 2D transfer under L27B1a. Note that while 3H, natural and game-forcing, would be allowed as a replacement, it would be under L27B1b, not L27B1a, since it is not the lowest sufficient bid specifying the same denomination.

  • Just for clarification:
    2H is the lowest sufficient bid but does not specify the same denomination (it specifies spades). 2H is the lowest sufficient bid that names the same denomination so 27B1a does not apply.

    3H is of course comparable under 27B1b. Could we say that it is also the lowest sufficient bid that specifies the same denomination, as 2H was overtaken, as it did not not specify Hearts (but spades), so 27B1a also could apply? Or this reading is wrong?

  • 2D is the lowest sufficient bid that specifies hearts. 3H would be allowable since it defines a subset of of the possible meanings attributable to the insufficient bid.

  • you are assuming that transfers are being played - I know a lot of players (mainly from the clubs classes) that do not play transfers). For those players, 2H is indeed the minimum bid that specifies hearts, however, this should also shut up their partner as it would be a weak take-out (though you might be surprised how often that does not happen) :)

  • @gordonrainsford said:
    2D is the lowest sufficient bid that specifies hearts. 3H would be allowable since it defines a subset of of the possible meanings attributable to the insufficient bid.

    Thanks Gordon, yes I see it clear now.

  • @gordonrainsford said:
    We look at what meanings might be attributed to the IB and in this case it seems to me that showing hearts or making a Michaels type bid might be attributable. That being the case, the player would be allowed to do anything that was similar to either of those, without barring partner.

    I think the point of this are that we are not trying to work out, and certainly trying not to divulge to the table, what the player did mean when he made his IB. We work out what range of things he might mean, and a call that is comparable with any of them is a comparable call within the meaning of the Law.

    So we look at their system card and see what (1!h )-2!h might mean (whether it might be Michaels, Ghestem, Modified Wenble, good old steam Acol GF or whatever), and that is one possibility. Hearts is obviously another possibility because it is always possible that an IB-er just didn't notice the previous bid.

  • It's also always possible that we have a mechanical error.

    Should we ask about that before considering law 27?

  • @Tag said:
    It's also always possible that we have a mechanical error.

    Should we ask about that before considering law 27?

    Sure, although the OP made clear that it was not, so I think the subsequent discussions of other examples have proceeded on the same basis.

  • Should we ask about that before considering law 27?

    Some investigation is appropriate (depending on the auction). You should ask IBer something which gives them the opportunity to say it was a mechanical error; without asking "was this a mechanical error?", which may get an inaccurate answer!

  • @BarkerBridgeTD said:

    Should we ask about that before considering law 27?

    Some investigation is appropriate (depending on the auction). You should ask IBer something which gives them the opportunity to say it was a mechanical error; without asking "was this a mechanical error?", which may get an inaccurate answer!

    I think that in most IB situations players who know that mechanical errors are correctable are likely to be falling over themselves to tell you that it was a mechanical error if they think it was, without the need for you to ask anything (besides which you may never have been called if it was, as similar knowledgeable opponents will just let them get on with it).

    But we have been discussing IBs which duplicate RHO's natural bid, in which case I would want to see a very quick claim that it was a mechanical error, otherwise I would be, shall we say, rather sceptical.

  • @Abbeybear said:

    @BarkerBridgeTD said:

    Should we ask about that before considering law 27?

    Some investigation is appropriate (depending on the auction). You should ask IBer something which gives them the opportunity to say it was a mechanical error; without asking "was this a mechanical error?", which may get an inaccurate answer!

    I think that in most IB situations players who know that mechanical errors are correctable are likely to be falling over themselves to tell you that it was a mechanical error if they think it was, without the need for you to ask anything (besides which you may never have been called if it was, as similar knowledgeable opponents will just let them get on with it).

    But we have been discussing IBs which duplicate RHO's natural bid, in which case I would want to see a very quick claim that it was a mechanical error, otherwise I would be, shall we say, rather sceptical.

    If the IBer claims it was a mechanical error when it wasn’t, only so as not to silence partner, and replaces it with the next higher bid, he may well find his partnership in deeper trouble because partner will then have to bid as if the replacement bid was Michaels (or whatever), not the natural bid that the IB was. Why not let the offender choose between being hanged or shot!!

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