Unauthorized Information from BIT

North, vul vs non-vul, holds:

S - K Q J T 7 2
H - ...
D - 8 7 4 2
C - K J 8

and opens 1S.
E overcalls 2H.
S pause-pause-pause then Pass
W - Pass
N - 2S

TD!

Is Pass a Logical Alternative for North?

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Comments

  • I don't believe passing is likely to be found to be a logical alternative, but if you want to find out you should poll, and if you are polling, here as in person, you should give the hand and the auction without telling us of the Unauthorised Information.

  • Not only must the pass be a logical alternative, it must demonstrably be suggested over the 2 Spade call 16B1(a). Also: North must carefully avoid taking advantage of South's Pause. (Law 73C)

    So part of the poll should be (supposing you get a pass as a LA) "If South paused before passing, what would that suggest?"

  • I think 2!s is demonstrably suggested. Pause then pass in this situation suggests one of short hearts, long spades, or enough HCP to want to respond but with the opponents having pre-empted all the reasonable bids.

    The first two situations suggest that 2!s must be a better contract than 2!h, whereas the third suggests that 2!s is unlikely to backfire. All of those make 2!s more attractive compared to passing.

    As for the logical alternatives issue, I seriously considered passing but don't think I'd actually pass at the table (although the poll's a bit tainted by knowing about the exact nature of the UI); this hand looks like a reasonable 2!s opening (if playing weak twos) so a 2!s reopening is likely to be safe, and it surely can't be right to let opponents play hearts at the two level. That means that passing may be a logical alternative, if other people generally think the same way and some of them actually would pass.

  • Which shows why you poll - I am placing South with some values (pretty sure the auction indicates it), but he didn't make a -ve double (assumng if available) and he didn't raise the opening bid - which suggests that he has long weakish hearts (where are they otherwise) and high card values (but not length) in one or both minor suits. - say 2-5-3-3 with about 8-10 points.

  • I would say that 2S by south needs very little here, in terms of points and support... so a hesitation looks a lot like points but no support, probably having hearts but cannot double for penalties at that low level and doesn't fancy NT due to a void/singleton in spades or perhaps a side-suit?

    So, I think that the suggested re-openning bid would be double... 2S would be counter suggested.

    As North, I think I would consider pass so that the ops only play in a part score, rather than giving them a second chance of finding a fit. In practice without the hesitation, I probably double to give partner a chance to pass for penalties. With the hesitation I bid 2S but consider passing.

  • As others have said, you need a poll. I think finding bridge players who will pass may be tricky, but I could be wrong.

    Slow passes nearly always suggest not passing. I in fact wonder if, since longish hearts and a moderate hand are in play, 2S is demonstrably suggested rather than doubling (since partner might pass a double and we really can't stand that). So I'd consider 2H* as an adjustment too. The North player is really put on the spot in this sequence, I'd probably politely advise South to try to pass smoothly.

  • @gordonrainsford said:
    I don't believe passing is likely to be found to be a logical alternative, but if you want to find out you should poll, and if you are polling, here as in person, you should give the hand and the auction without telling us of the Unauthorised Information.

    The problem is that if you poll on a forum like this, everyone will know that there is UI from something, and on a very simple auction such as this, it's odds on that it's a slow pass. But I guess the same applies when a TD bears down on you, checks you've played a particular board, gives you a hand and a bidding sequence and asks you what you would bid, and what other calls you would consider.

    @weejonnie said:
    Not only must the pass be a logical alternative, it must demonstrably be suggested over the 2 Spade call 16B1(a). Also: North must carefully avoid taking advantage of South's Pause. (Law 73C)

    I'm sure you meant it correctly, but this is the wrong way round. To disallow the 2!s bid and impose a pass, the 2!s bid must have been demonstrably suggested and pass must be a LA.

  • @JamesC said:
    As others have said, you need a poll. I think finding bridge players who will pass may be tricky, but I could be wrong.

    Slow passes nearly always suggest not passing. I in fact wonder if, since longish hearts and a moderate hand are in play, 2S is demonstrably suggested rather than doubling (since partner might pass a double and we really can't stand that). So I'd consider 2H* as an adjustment too. The North player is really put on the spot in this sequence, I'd probably politely advise South to try to pass smoothly.

    Yes, you must certainly consider calls other than 2!s and pass, although for me personally they are the only logical alternatives, because I have a hatred of re-opening doubles with a void, and will only tolerate them if I otherwise have good defence for my previous action(s), which is hardly the case here.

    Without the UI I would bid 2!s , although I would fleetingly consider a pass. With the UI, playing my style, I believe Law 73C suggests that I should pass.

  • @Abbeybear said:
    The problem is that if you poll on a forum like this, everyone will know that there is UI from something, and on a very simple auction such as this, it's odds on that it's a slow pass. But I guess the same applies when a TD bears down on you, checks you've played a particular board, gives you a hand and a bidding sequence and asks you what you would bid, and what other calls you would consider.

    Sometimes the irregularity will not be the one that's expected by those you poll, but in any case I think it's easier to put out of mind a likelihood than a certainty.

  • [Abbeybear] "The problem is that if you poll on a forum like this, everyone will know that there is UI from something, and on a very simple auction such as this, it's odds on that it's a slow pass. But I guess the same applies when a TD bears down on you, checks you've played a particular board, gives you a hand and a bidding sequence and asks you what you would bid, and what other calls you would consider."

    When I'm polled I know I am supposed to tell the director what actions I would consider given the situation described, without regard to any possible break in tempo, misexplanation or other irregularity. It's not something I find hard to do honestly, and I trust the players I poll when I'm directing to do the same.

    Some players say to me "I know the hand, so I can't comment", which I find very strange, as I'm asking them what they would consider doing with that hand in that situation, not which actions they happen to know would work well or badly given the other three hands, but I just have to accept that they don't feel they can answer the question and find someone else.

    There are some players who I suspect would take delight in crucifying people who've tried to rescue themselves from e.g. a Ghestem misunderstanding, even when rescuing oneself is a reasonable, ethical option. I try to avoid polling such players in such a case.

  • The reason why I posted this problem is that it appears to me to be almost a 50:50 case. If this arose on your watch, you conducted a poll and the results came out about even, or a majority of one in favour of Pass or 2S, how would you rule?

    I perceive a bias in favour of 2S in the comments above, but if I were holding the North hand and my partner passed without hesitation I would see myself making 5 tricks in spades, none in clubs if E holds A Q, or maybe 2 if partner has an honour, maybe none or max 1in diamonds, the latter only if partner has the CQ and the well placed DK, maybe too much to ask. Down 2 for -200 is a bottom at matchpoints if opponents are not making game and even down 1 for -100 may also be bad, because with partner's expected holding in hearts, West not having supported his partner, the opponents may not make 2H.

  • @Vlad said:
    The reason why I posted this problem is that it appears to me to be almost a 50:50 case. If this arose on your watch, you conducted a poll and the results came out about even, or a majority of one in favour of Pass or 2S, how would you rule?

    Well that's easy. We aren't trying to decide which is the better call, or the more popular call, but whether or not one of the calls, the one not suggested by the UI, is a Logical Alternative, and this has been defined for us in the laws:

    L16B1(b) A logical alternative is an action that a significant
    proportion of the class of players in question,
    using the methods of the partnership, would
    seriously consider, and some might select.

    So it doesn't need many players to choose to Pass, certainly nowhere near half, before it is deemed to be a Logical Alternative.

  • You have to be careful with a poll because the key part of L16B1b is 'using the methods of the partnership.'

    Alan

  • Sorry I have become anonymous after changing my user I
    I think Signature will fix it.

    Alan

  • Trying again...

    Alan

  • I would certainly consider passing, however, i dont think that the bid is demonstrably suggested over the alternatives of 2S, pass or double
  • @Martin said:
    I would certainly consider passing, however, I dont think that the bid is demonstrably suggested over the alternatives of 2S, pass or double

    (IMO) some sort of action is demonstrably suggested over "Pass". Whether 2S is suggested over double, or vice versa, is less clear, but both of them are suggested over the alternative of passing. So if you determine that Pass is an LA, then you must adjust.

    Personally I wouldn't even consider passing. But this is what polls are for. if you found that enough players chose to pass (& as Gordon observed, the boundary falls a long way short of 50%) then Pass is an LA.

    If you aren't sure, you can also poll players to determine whether or not the UI suggests certain actions over others.

  • @16248 said:
    You have to be careful with a poll because the key part of L16B1b is 'using the methods of the partnership.'

    Yes, as the TD you have to find out if the pair are playing anything relevant that your pollees might not expect, before polling. Things that you might check on in this sequence - all of which I have come across - are:
    (a) not playing negative doubles;
    (b) playing a "point count" 1NT, not guaranteeing a stop;
    (c) playing significantly weaker new suit bids than standard.

    @Mitch said:
    (IMO) some sort of action is demonstrably suggested over "Pass". Whether 2S is suggested over double, or vice versa, is less clear, but both of them are suggested over the alternative of passing. So if you determine that Pass is an LA, then you must adjust.

    Does the change in wording in the 2017 Laws make a difference here? Under the 2007 wording "could demonstrably have been suggested", then if you could demonstrate a plausible argument that Double was suggested over Pass; and a slightly different plausible argument that 2!s was suggested over Pass, then it was routine to disallow either Double or 2!s , as long as you decided that Pass was a LA. You did not have to decide whether Double was suggested over 2!s , or vice versa, unless the one not chosen would have led to a better result for the non-offenders than imposing a Pass.

    Now, however, the wording is "is demonstrably suggested". I think that this, arguably at least, requires you to decide which of Double and 2!s is more demonstrably suggested. So in the relatively common "bid, pass or double" situation, you would frequently conclude that Double was more suggested over Pass than was Bid over Pass, because it caters better for whatever partner had in mind (Double allows partner to do whatever it was that he nearly did on the previous round; Bid doesn't necessarily). Does the new wording require us to evaluate whether Double is suggested over Bid (or vice-versa), and only disallow the one that is more suggested? That would mean that we would be expected to allow a bid more frequently than we would have done under the 2007 Laws.

    If not, what was the intention behind the change in wording?

  • I'm still surprised that no one yet has even considered asking NS what system they use.
    You need full details of their methods before you can begin.

    Alan

  • @16248 said:
    I'm still surprised that no one yet has even considered asking NS what system they use.
    You need full details of their methods before you can begin.

    In principle you are right, but I think it unlikely that they would supply details of methods that would make a significant difference to the outcome here.

  • What is the threshold for 'demonstrably suggests'?
  • @Martin said:
    What is the threshold for 'demonstrably suggests'?

    There isn't an established threshold for this, though there is some useful information in section 8.16 of the White Book.

  • Demonsrable mean clearly apparent or logically provable.
    Suggest means to put forward something for consideration.

    Here pass, double and 2S are the considered options, regardless of the hesitation.

    Can we prove that 2S was not an option till the hesitation? Can we prove that the hesitation suggests that 2S is a better bid than the alternatives? Can we prove that S didnt puase in order to MAKE north pass? What would be the threshold be for that accusation?
  • @Martin said:
    Can we prove that 2S was not an option till the hesitation?

    We aren't being asked to do that. South passed reluctantly, so it demonstrably suggests not passing over passing.

  • edited November 2018
    Unless they really want a pass... then hesitate to stop partners bidding on. Perhaps a Yarborough knowing that the ops are missing game (or whatever). What is the threshold for that?

    If the thresholds are that poorly defin3d and wishy washy, then it would be a problem.

    It seems to me that they are somewhat damned if they do/dont. Bid 2S get a good score, ah hesitation - pass is counter suggested. Pass and get a good score, ah hesitation, 2S was the clear choice wiyhout the hesitaion.

    The threshold for logical alternatives would be met for both possible bids.

    It seems to me to be a matter of ideology that a slow pass shows more values, or that a slow raise to 3Major shows close to bidding 4. Why not shows close to passing or close to a raise to only 2Major?

    Do whatever and get a bad score... thats fine.
  • @Martin said:
    Can we prove that 2S was not an option till the hesitation? Can we prove that the hesitation suggests that 2S is a better bid than the alternatives? Can we prove that S didnt puase in order to MAKE north pass? What would be the threshold be for that accusation?

    I think the number of players who would deliberately pause in order to give partner UI because they have a hand that wants partner to pass, when the pause would naturally suggest "not pass", is vanishingly small. Most players are no more than vaguely conscious (if that) that a break in tempo on their part may constrain partner's actions, and players will just think when they (believe they) have a problem, without taking much account of the UI consequences. I would hope that players who have a more thorough understanding of the Laws would just accept that if they have to give partner UI, partner will just have to take the consequences, rather than trying to manipulate the position in the way suggested.

    Having said that, one of my occasional partners, who has an engagingly cynical outlook on life, is happy to expound her theory of "reverse hesitations".

  • @Martin said:
    Demonsrable mean clearly apparent or logically provable.
    Suggest means to put forward something for consideration.

    Here pass, double and 2S are the considered options, regardless of the hesitation.

    Can we prove that 2S was not an option till the hesitation? Can we prove that the hesitation suggests that 2S is a better bid than the alternatives? Can we prove that S didnt puase in order to MAKE north pass? What would be the threshold be for that accusation?

    My understanding of Law 16 is that it would not matter whether the hesitation suggested Double or 2S. As long as Pass is a logical alternative, both X and 2S should be disallowed. Am I right?

  • @Vlad said:

    My understanding of Law 16 is that it would not matter whether the hesitation suggested Double or 2S. As long as Pass is a logical alternative, both X and 2S should be disallowed. Am I right?

    An option needs to have been demonstrably suggested over another in order for it to be disallowed if the other is a logical alternative.

    In this instance, I think acting is suggested over passing, so I would disallow both Double and 2S unless a poll showed that Pass was not a logical alternative.

  • @Martin said:
    Unless they really want a pass... then hesitate to stop partners bidding on.

    That would make no difference to what is suggested - in fact it lend support to what we think is suggested but would represent a deliberate and illegal attempt to influence partner's actions.

  • The difficulty I have is that V is not specifically mentioned under law 16. If a poll suggests that the person who hesitates either has good hearts but not good enough to double OR has high cards in the other suits but not adequate trump support then NEITHER double, NOR 2S are demonstrably suggested since either may lead to a worse score than 2H. My current opinion is that if partner takes some action then they are not 'carefully avoiding' taking advantage that partner has some values.

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