Mistaken explanation

Advice sought.

At a club game today:
East holds S 4
H KJT8542
D J
C K754

West holds S Q653
H Q7
D AKT95
C AT

West opens 1 NT (15-17), East bids 4H, West bids 4S. No alert but for the sake of this discussion let us assume that 4H was alerted as a transfer to S (West is a bit of a dreamer, although a very good player).
East 'corrects the transfer' to 5H which is passed out. At the end of play East berates partner for forgetting that 4H and 4S are to play, and 4C and 4D are transfers to H and S.

No system cards because it was a club game.

5 H made 6 because of the lead.

I let it go, wanting to avoid an unpleasant controversy, but in a different setting I believe it would be appropriate to adjust the score to 5S by West, down whatever.

Would that be right?

Comments

  • East bids 4H (which is their agreement) and surprisingly hears his partner alert and, when asked, his call is explained as a transfer. Obviously he has UI. However he has AI that partner bid 1NT - which is a pretty limited bid, and thus a) It is obvious that partner cannot hold a long spade suit and b) even if it is assumed that 4 Spades was a cue bid in agreement with hearts (and you can't do that unless this is a partnership agreement), there is no alternative to bidding 5 Hearts on a minimum hand. (polling of course to confirm this but you can't really do that in a club)

    West has no UI (unless any grimace or whatever from East) and can do what he wants. The fact that the 5H call has woken him up is irrelevant.

    So: I think that we can still let the contract be 5H - this is exceptional as in most cases the rebid of 5H is "unauthorised panic" and would be disallowed. (And once you disallow the 5H call, you can't then get to 5S anyway - so the only possible adjustment would be to 4 Spades)

    There are other factors: for instance NS should be informed that the alert of 4H was incorrect (the director having been called) at the end of the auction. That being the case then I suspect that a different lead might have been chosen against 5H at least part of the time, so some weighting might be given to 5H -1. (I am assuming that there would have been no action in the auction given the correct information).

    Finally - it might have been a good idea (if East was vigorous in his berating), in giving a BB@B penalty - although this could just be a warning.

  • edited October 2018

    West has no UI (it's West who failed to alert). So West is entirely allowed to pass out an apparently forcing 5!h (or indeed, to make any other sufficient call).

    East has UI from the alert (in your hypothetical) or lack of alert (at the table) of the 4!h bid. So the bid we need to look at is East's 5!h bid. Is there a logical alternative to that? Well, 1NT, 4!h natural; 4!s is not a consistent bidding sequence, and implies that either the 1NT is a psyche, or the 4!s is artificial. Over a psyche, East has no logical alternative to pulling to the 7-card suit (even if West might have a long suit, East definitely has one). Meanwhile, if 4!s is artificial, it surely has to be forcing; if entirely undiscussed, 5!h seems like the safest response. (If the partnership were playing a 4!s as conventional when hearts were agreed in other circumstances, e.g. if 1!h, 3!h; 4!s were a keycard ask, I'd force East to interpret 4!s as having the same meaning and to reply accordingly.)

    As such, I don't believe East has any logical alternative to the 5!h bid, unless 4!s could plausibly have had a conventional meaning, in which case East must make the correct conventional response to it. 5!s is therefore only a possible result if you force East to answer as though 4!s was some particular conventional call, and assume that West would be confused by the answer and pull to the "known spade fit"; that's a plausible assumption for how West would act following East's irregularity, but the 5!h bid probably wasn't an irregularity and thus we have to live with West's actual action at the table upon seeing it.

    If 4!h were incorrectly alerted, this would also give MI to North/South, which should be corrected before the opening lead (and North/South would get their final pass back, not that they'd be likely to do anything with it). It's unlikely the misinformation would have any impacts earlier on the auction, but if (say) North had doubled the incorrectly alerted 4!h as a lead direct and West had passed the double due to having short hearts, the score would be adjusted to allow for the fact that North wouldn't have doubled if they knew that 4!h were natural.

  • @weejonnie said:
    East bids 4H (which is their agreement) and surprisingly hears his partner alert and, when asked, his call is explained as a transfer. Obviously he has UI. However he has AI that partner bid 1NT - which is a pretty limited bid, and thus a) It is obvious that partner cannot hold a long spade suit and b) even if it is assumed that 4 Spades was a cue bid in agreement with hearts (and you can't do that unless this is a partnership agreement), there is no alternative to bidding 5 Hearts on a minimum hand. (polling of course to confirm this but you can't really do that in a club)

    West has no UI (unless any grimace or whatever from East) and can do what he wants. The fact that the 5H call has woken him up is irrelevant.

    So: I think that we can still let the contract be 5H - this is exceptional as in most cases the rebid of 5H is "unauthorised panic" and would be disallowed. (And once you disallow the 5H call, you can't then get to 5S anyway - so the only possible adjustment would be to 4 Spades)

    There are other factors: for instance NS should be informed that the alert of 4H was incorrect (the director having been called) at the end of the auction. That being the case then I suspect that a different lead might have been chosen against 5H at least part of the time, so some weighting might be given to 5H -1. (I am assuming that there would have been no action in the auction given the correct information).

    Finally - it might have been a good idea (if East was vigorous in his berating), in giving a BB@B penalty - although this could just be a warning.

    Other considerations:
    Shouldn't West's pass of 5H indicate a presumption of UI in the form of a grimace or similar from partner? Otherwise, from his point of view, partner has transferred to spades and is now showing values or control in hearts, indicating interest in going forward. In this case would not an adjustment require at least a 5S bid by West? I fact, looking at West's hand, with controls in D and C, (if you agree with my presumption of West's thought process) why not 6S? In the absence of UI from East as mentioned above, what would justify a pass of 5H by West?

  • @ais523 said:
    West has no UI (it's West who failed to alert). So West is entirely allowed to pass out an apparently forcing 5!h (or indeed, to make any other sufficient call).

    East has UI from the alert (in your hypothetical) or lack of alert (at the table) of the 4!h bid. So the bid we need to look at is East's 5!h bid. Is there a logical alternative to that? Well, 1NT, 4!h natural; 4!s is not a consistent bidding sequence, and implies that either the 1NT is a psyche, or the 4!s is artificial. Over a psyche, East has no logical alternative to pulling to the 7-card suit (even if West might have a long suit, East definitely has one). Meanwhile, if 4!s is artificial, it surely has to be forcing; if entirely undiscussed, 5!h seems like the safest response. (If the partnership were playing a 4!s as conventional when hearts were agreed in other circumstances, e.g. if 1!h, 3!h; 4!s were a keycard ask, I'd force East to interpret 4!s as having the same meaning and to reply accordingly.)

    As such, I don't believe East has any logical alternative to the 5!h bid, unless 4!s could plausibly have had a conventional meaning, in which case East must make the correct conventional response to it. 5!s is therefore only a possible result if you force East to answer as though 4!s was some particular conventional call, and assume that West would be confused by the answer and pull to the "known spade fit"; that's a plausible assumption for how West would act following East's irregularity, but the 5!h bid probably wasn't an irregularity and thus we have to live with West's actual action at the table upon seeing it.

    If 4!h were incorrectly alerted, this would also give MI to North/South, which should be corrected before the opening lead (and North/South would get their final pass back, not that they'd be likely to do anything with it). It's unlikely the misinformation would have any impacts earlier on the auction, but if (say) North had doubled the incorrectly alerted 4!h as a lead direct and West had passed the double due to having short hearts, the score would be adjusted to allow for the fact that North wouldn't have doubled if they knew that 4!h were natural.

    As I said in my OP, let's assume that the 4H bid was alerted as a transfer to S, which was West's understanding. Now East knows that his call has been misinterpreted. Wouldn't Law 75A be applicable?

    Please also see my response to weejonnie.

  • I am trying to learn/understand in what circumstances a correction of a transfer may or may not be accepted. These situations arise quite frequently where I play, largely because of lack of agreement between new partnerships who do not discuss treatments when, for example, 1NT is overcalled by partner over his LHO's 1D opening.
    West opens 1D, North overcalls 1NT, East passes and South bids 2H. Is it natural or a transfer? North treats it as a transfer, alerts and bids 2S. East passes and South 'corrects' to 3H, which is passed out, North sheepishly explaining that he got it wrong, it wasn't a transfer! Should that be accepted? Or should it be treated as South showing at least 5 hearts and at least 4 spades (if they are not playing Smolen), with a consequent bid attributed to North for score adjustment?

    How should I deal with such situations in different environments:
    - club games where system cards are an exception,
    - higher level games where system cards are required so one can tell whether it was a case of mistaken explanation or a mis-bid.

    My OP is an example of such situations and rulings are liable to be controversial. My own view, for what it is worth, is: you cannot 'correct' a transfer.

  • @Vlad said:
    I am trying to learn/understand in what circumstances a correction of a transfer may or may not be accepted. These situations arise quite frequently where I play, largely because of lack of agreement between new partnerships who do not discuss treatments when, for example, 1NT is overcalled by partner over his LHO's 1D opening.
    West opens 1D, North overcalls 1NT, East passes and South bids 2H. Is it natural or a transfer? North treats it as a transfer, alerts and bids 2S. East passes and South 'corrects' to 3H, which is passed out, North sheepishly explaining that he got it wrong, it wasn't a transfer! Should that be accepted? Or should it be treated as South showing at least 5 hearts and at least 4 spades (if they are not playing Smolen), with a consequent bid attributed to North for score adjustment?

    Sorry, 5 spades and 4 hearts

    How should I deal with such situations in different environments:
    - club games where system cards are an exception,
    - higher level games where system cards are required so one can tell whether it was a case of mistaken explanation or a mis-bid.

    My OP is an example of such situations and rulings are liable to be controversial. My own view, for what it is worth, is: you cannot 'correct' a transfer.

  • @Vlad said:
    As I said in my OP, let's assume that the 4H bid was alerted as a transfer to S, which was West's understanding. Now East knows that his call has been misinterpreted. Wouldn't Law 75A be applicable?

    Law 75A is basically just a reference to Law 16, which is what most people apply here. Law 16B prevents you performing an action that was demonstrably suggested over a logical alternative by unauthorised information. In this case, there may well be no logical alternative to 5!h, in which case the 5!h bid is legal. If there is a logical alternative to 5!h, I agree that East should be forced to bid it.

    Transfer corrections are, in this sense, not really different from any other sources of unauthorised information. If the correction is the only plausible bid (e.g. when it happens over a bid that obviously cannot be natural, at the 5 level), then the player is allowed to make it; they don't have to invent some other bid that makes no sense. If there is another reasonable bid other than the correction, that other bid has to be made.

    In cases like (1!d), 1NT, 2!h natural; 2!s, the 2!s is unexpected but likely shows a) a strong hand for the 1NT call, b) a suggestion to play spades, c) a requirement for advancer to bid again. 3!h is a plausible bid after this if you have long hearts and short spades (it's not hugely different from the bidding sequence 1!h, 1!s, 2!h). Note that you can't force the advancer to pass here – their partner just made an apparently forcing bid! What you can do is force them to bid 3!s if they have spade support (but without it, 3!h is reasonable, not as a transfer correction, just as a natural reply to a force). Likewise, if the 2!h bidder has a good secondary suit (say they have five clubs), then 3!c would likely be the enforced continuation.

    So the way to look at it is: you can't repeat a natural call that was misinterpreted as a transfer because it was misinterpreted as a transfer; instead, you have to look at your partner's reply, interpret it as though it were a reply to your own natural bid, and then work out what your reasonable options would be over that. It's quite possible that anything other than returning to your own suit would be unreasonable, even if your partner had interpreted your bid correctly; in that case, you return to your own suit. That's the same bid as the transfer correction, but it's being made for a different reason (you're honestly responding to the presumably forcing bid your partner just made). Now, if you have alternative constructive options (e.g. raising partner's "suit", or showing a second suit of your own), you have to do that instead (because the return to your own suit is what's suggested by the unauthorised information).

    Some examples. After (1!d), 1NT, 2!h natural alerted as transfer; 2!s, the likely enforced bids with the following hands are (I tried to make each of these examples clear-cut, but as usual I may have misjudged some):

    • !s AT97!h K9543!d 8!c 632: bid 4!s
    • !s 87!h QJ456!d 34!c KT84: bid 3!c
    • !s J2!h Q9863!d Q92!c K87: bid 3NT
    • !s 92!h KQT653!d 943!c 82: bid 3!h

    In each case, these are, out of the bids that are logical after an interpretation of 2!s as natural, the ones least suggested by the knowledge of 2!s being a transfer. With the first hand, 4!s is logical because your partner apparently has a stronger hand than expected for 1NT, and four spades; your short diamonds make a suit contract look very good, and you (apparently) have a spade fit and 24-25 points. With the second hand, you probably want to be in a partscore or maybe 3NT (again, under the assumption that partner's showing a strong hand with spades), so you show your second suit to help aid the decision. With the third hand, you have stoppers everywhere (assuming your partner has spades stopped) and a decently high point total, and the Jack becomes more valuable learning that your partner has spades, so 3NT seems likely to make and you may as well just bid it. With the fourth hand, you don't have the strength for game and hearts is your only good suit, so you repeat it.

    So the "transfer correction" isn't automatically banned; it's banned only if there's a logical alternative to it. If the only reasonable thing to do is to repeat the suit, then the only reasonable thing to do is to repeat the suit. You can't ban the bid just because it was suggested; there has to be some other course of action that would be logical to take as an alternative.

    Note that in most cases you'll have to deal with misinformation too (because the opponent's have been told that the agreement is that the bid is a transfer and/or isn't a transfer, and the actual agreement is that the players have no agreement as to whether the bid is a transfer!).

  • TagTag
    edited October 2018

    If the partnership agreement is that partner must accept the transfer then you have the AI that partner has made a bid that is out of system. As such, it's not unreasonable to presume that he's forgotten the system and then bid accordingly.

  • I may be guilty of loose terminology when I referred to transfer corrections not being allowed. Nothing stops the transferor from repeating his suit, it is the interpretation and response from the partner, the transferee, that needs to be examined.

    Allow me to explain by reference to the example hands given by ais523 above.

    Taking the last one first, where it is suggested that, let's call him South, should bid 3H. In the Jacoby transfer system by-the-book, a transfer of 2H to spades followed by a rebid of 3H shows 5-5 in the majors and a game force hand. If the players have a different agreement we would look at that. I would ask them what they would bid with 5-5 in the majors and invitational/game-force hands. But it would take a lot to convince me that a 2H transfer to spades followed by a rebid of 3H can be passed by partner regardless of his holding, particularly if he has 3 cards of spades and only 2 of hearts and a maximum hand.

    In example no. 3 North would normally correct 3NT to 4S if he has at least 3 card support for spades and 2 rags in a side suit. Of course he could have a hand suitable for playing in 3NT even with a 5-3 (expected) fit in spades, in which case he could pass.

    Remember, in both cases North has taken the 2H bid as showing spades; he bids on the basis that his partner has at least five spades.

    North can only pass a rebid of 3H if pass is the only logical action.

    It is with this logic that I maintained in my OP that a pass of 5H by West should not be acceptable GIVEN HIS HOLDING, an appropriate bid should be attributed.

  • edited October 2018

    You seem to be assuming that both players should be using the same system. Well, they should be, but in mistaken explanation cases they typically aren't.

    South, who bid 2!h intending it as natural, needs to interpret North's bids as though they're replies to a natural 2!h; South has unauthorised information, so is forced to act in the way that's counter-suggested (in this case, the UI is that North thinks the 2!h bid is a transfer; so the counter-suggested, mandated, course of action is to play as though North thinks the 2!h bid is natural). So, for example, South will see the reply of 2!s by North as forcing with spades.

    North, who bid 2!s intending it as a transfer acceptance, does not need to interpret South's bids in any particular way: this is because North does not have unauthorised information. All the information North has is the bids that have been made on the auction. North is allowed to inconsistently interpret South's 2!h as a transfer but 2!h…3!h as natural and weak with hearts; there's no rule against bidding inconsistently in the absence of UI. It may be that the authorised information from the auction is sufficient to clue North in that something is going wrong here. (Technically speaking, North should alert the 3!h as "I changed my mind about what 2!h meant, it probably wasn't a transfer after all" or the like if they want to interpret the bid inconsistently with the previous one; this cuts down on potential misinformation. There is, of course, misinformation in the hand already, and the Director needs to be called.)

    A potential exception to this reasoning: if transfer acceptances were alertable, then South would have UI from the fact that North didn't alert the transfer acceptance. However, by Blue Book 4C1a, transfer acceptances are considered to be natural if they show the suit transferred to, and thus South would be expecting no alert from North with either the transfer-based system or the natural system.

  • @Vlad said:

    @Vlad said:
    I am trying to learn/understand in what circumstances a correction of a transfer may or may not be accepted. These situations arise quite frequently where I play, largely because of lack of agreement between new partnerships who do not discuss treatments when, for example, 1NT is overcalled by partner over his LHO's 1D opening.
    West opens 1D, North overcalls 1NT, East passes and South bids 2H. Is it natural or a transfer? North treats it as a transfer, alerts and bids 2S. East passes and South 'corrects' to 3H, which is passed out, North sheepishly explaining that he got it wrong, it wasn't a transfer! Should that be accepted? Or should it be treated as South showing at least 5 hearts and at least 4 spades (if they are not playing Smolen), with a consequent bid attributed to North for score adjustment?

    Sorry, 5 spades and 4 hearts

    How should I deal with such situations in different environments:
    - club games where system cards are an exception,
    - higher level games where system cards are required so one can tell whether it was a case of mistaken explanation or a mis-bid.

    My OP is an example of such situations and rulings are liable to be controversial. My own view, for what it is worth, is: you cannot 'correct' a transfer.

    I don't think that there is any real substitute for looking at the bridge logic of each situation and applying the normal three-stage process of any UI ruling:
    (a) was there UI? (Of course the answer will be "yes" in the situations we are considering).
    (b) did the UI demonstrably suggest a particular call over another? (Again the answer will usually be "yes").
    (c) was the other call (i.e. the one that was not suggested) a logical alternative?

    Transfers over balanced no-trump bids are normally fairly easy to deal with because the constraints for the no-trump bid are usually fairly tight, both in terms of point count and possible distribution. It is also possible that the hand-type for the transfer itself is fairly well-defined (e.g. a 4-level transfer - or a natural 4-level bid not playing 4-level transfers - opposite a 1NT opening will have enough to give the prospect of a reasonable play for game, but may well be defined as specifically lacking any slam ambitions, as hands will slam ambitions are logically taken more slowly). In that event the no-trump bidder "cannot" have a hand that is consistent with both his no-trump call and a subsequent slam try, and is unlikely to have sufficient in the suit to which he thinks his partner has transferred to be arguing seriously about strain with a partner who has shown a long suit and a weakish hand. In those circumstances, pass may not be a logical alternative.

    Transfers over no-trump overcalls are similar, although a lot of people are somewhat more flexible over distribution than they are with no-trump openings.

    It is when you get to transfers in other situations, such as in response to short club openings or suit overcalls, where the opener/overcaller may legitimately be extremely short in the "transferor"'s actual suit, and may have unshown length in the suit to which he erroneously thinks responder/advancer has transferred, that passing the "completion of the transfer" becomes much more likely to be a logical alternative.

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