S opens 1NT (12-14)
W bids 2D* but not alerted
N doubles for pens but not alerted
All pass
Declarer calls Director and claims would have bid 3C if she had known it was a penalty double. Declarer asked no questions or looked at the card.
Over to TD


  • The failure to alert the penalty double of the (presumably natural) 2!d is misinformation.
    Director can adjust the score if EW have been damaged by this.

    We would need to see the full hand to make a ruling.
    Maybe E would have bid over a penalty double?
    Maybe W would have bid 3!c as claimed?
    Maybe W would have played 3!d differently if they had known the!d s were with LHO rather than RHO?

  • I would want to know if the 2 D was natural? What was on E/W system card? What did North assume it meant?


  • Sorry. I intended the * to indicate that 2D was not natural. It was intended as Astro but not alerted. North had a load of D and doubled for pens. But also not alerted.

  • TagTag
    edited November 2017

    Is it possible that North had already taken a glance at the opponents' system card or otherwise knew that they play Astro and so knew that the 2D bid was artificial? If he's doubling an artificial bid to show values or length in that suit then no alert is required.

  • Apologies I hadn't realised the significance of the asterix.

    So West has made an artificial 2!d bid with (it appears) Spades and Clubs. East failed to alert it.
    North makes a penalty double which is correctly not alerted.
    This goes back to West who decides to leave the double in despite not having Diamonds.
    Before the opening lead is faced West must tell the opps that partner should have alerted the 2!d bid. They didnt do this.
    West then achieved a well deserved score of -1100 and wants the director to adjust the score in their favour?

    If EW are inexperienced I will explain correct use of the alert cards.
    If they are experienced I might give them a procedural penalty as well. Am I being too harsh?

  • This seems an oversimplification.

    2D, alertable, but not alerted.
    Double penalties, not alerted.
    A double of an unalerted suit bid at the 2-level is for takeout if not alerted.
    Ok, you could argue that both the doubler and his partner knew it is was Astro so they both knew that it was a penalty double and should not be alerted. Of course I believe them: I also have a really nice Brooklyn bridge that only cost me $250,000,000.

    Now let us look at the problem of the player who bid 2D. He bids Astro, his partner does not alert and passes over a double, presumably showing diamonds if his partner knew it was Astro. It gets back to the 2D bidder and he fails to bid 2H or 2S as 95% of players would do so, in complete defiance of L16B1A and L73C1, instead of which he passes as the law requires and gets no sympathy from ManchesterRambler and others.

    It is a complicated ruling but unless the doubling side can really convince me that they both knew it was Astro (and I shall ask each one separately how he knew and why he did not ask) so they knew it was an analertable penalty double then I shall consider adjusting. For example, the 2D bidder's partner might have bid if the double had been alerted.

    I think we should not use the term well deserved where both sides have committed dubious practices and the side that got the really bad score correctly failed to use unauthorised information.

  • TagTag
    edited November 2017

    If South had reason to believe that the 2D was artificial then he had no reason to alert North's double of 2D. Further, he's not allowed to ask for his partner's benefit, which it would be if it's something he already knows. Neither North nor South can ask if they already know. In this case, it's not a penalty double, it's a double showing values in the suit and is not alertable. He chose to leave it in.

    EW have their own issues, due to East having failed to alert and then passing, presumably willing to play a 2Dx contract on the strength of his own hand and diamonds suit.

    This is the situation South now finds himself: North has doubled 2D, a bid he knows is artificial, thus North is showing diamonds wealth; East has passed, presumably also showing diamonds. Then again, maybe East has forgotten that they play Astro and passed just trusting West's bid and having nowhere to go to himself. Naturally, South passes, trusting their combined holdings.

    EW created this situation, they can pay the price of having a system-forget. Note that failing to alert the 2D bid doesn't make it into a natural bid, it's simply misinformation and also actual information that EW are in trouble.

  • You are far too trusting about North and South. I have a spare Brooklyn Bridge: would you like to buy it? A snip at $300,000,000?

  • Fatuousness aside, I don't see what you're getting at. East failed to alert and paid the price for a forget.

  • North failed to alert and gained from it.

  • Surely the failure of E to alert the 2!d bid is UI to West.

    Thus when the auction get back to West, they have to assume it has gone:
    1N - 2D! - X - p
    p - ?
    Based on this auction South has shown Diamonds and West knows this. West has all the information they are entitled to and chose to pass.

    The fact that this was not the actual auction is the fault of East, who failed to alert.

  • North can't alert his own double. I think we can agree that we lack information here, such as whether EW had a system card and also whether NS were aware of the methods of EW. It has been stated that EW play Astro, though, so I'm inclined to think that they either had a system card or it was common knowledge that they play Astro. Given this, NS aren't required to alert East to the possibility that he's forgotten their system.

  • I am not saying that E/W were not at fault, just that I believe N/S were as well.

    As for West choosing to pass, surely any other action is illegal?

  • TagTag
    edited November 2017

    Yes, West's responses are restricted by the fact that East's failure to alert is unauthorised information to him. He has to proceed (pass) on the assumption that partner wishes to play in 2Dx.

    I accept that if South was unaware of the Astro bid and was taking it as natural then South also committed an infraction, since his own pass suggests that he took their double as being for penalties and should have alerted it. We lack information on this. The other question is whether EW had anywhere to run to.

    I had a hand last week where partner doubled for takeout and then bid over their redouble, which I had passed with a bust of a hand. They doubled his 2C for penalties but didn't alert and we went for 800. I was planning to appeal but later looked at the hand records and we had nowhere to run to. At that stage, any further action by us nets us -800 or worse. Yes, they committed an infraction but we weren't damaged by it, only by our own actions earlier in the auction. I didn't appeal.

  • I don't understand why Bluejak is suggesting that it's illegal to do anything other than pass out 2Dx.

    The most common partnership agreement when playing As(p)(t)ro is that 1NT (2m) dbl (Pass) wants to play there if the m is opener's second suit. If 4th hand has, say, xxxx x xxxx xxxx then 2Dx will be there best spot if the overcaller has hearts and diamonds. This is a far more likely hand than a weak diamond single-suiter.

    Yes, the overcaller has UI but he is not forced to pass.

    I realise I may not be a peer or E or W here, but I have been playing 2m as an artificial bid over 1NT for well over 20 years. My partners may sometimes forget to alert things, but they have never forgotten it is artificial.

    Also, one of the things I always check at the start of a round is what my opponents' defence to 1NT is. It is certainly possible that the doubler knew 2D was artificial by agreement and chose not to say anything because (i) it is illegal to ask a question solely for partner's benefit and (ii) they perhaps did not want to alert 4th seat that they had forgotten

  • I had missed the fact it was Astro. I tend to reply in threads initially to the opening post and then consider further matters based on other replies. Yes, if it is Astro, then it is normal to bid if the second suit is not diamonds. I was thinking more along the lines of 2D being a single suited major where pass over a double tends to show long diamonds.

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