Authorised or not?

I was asked a nice question yesterday.
We are quite clear that the 'stop' card is not a bid, but its use out-of-turn (or its use and immediate retraction) provides UI to partner.

Now try this one.
Partner is dealer and is is mid-opening-the-bidding, having got as far as 'playing' the stop card, when RHO passes out of turn.

Is partner's aborted stop-bid AI to you when (i) deciding whether to accept the POOT, and/or (ii) if you do so, in the subsequent auction?

(for example: if you have a good and/or very defensive hand, you may well want to accept the POOT and open in front of partner to stop him pre-empting; if he had a strong opening you are unlikely to go wrong if you open; if you have a weak hand you want to let him pre-empt and make it very hard for 4th seat)

Argument for: it is your opponent's infraction that led to 'flapping' stop card, and hence you are the NOS
Argument against: if partner had said "I want to pre-empt" before opening the bidding, and then RHO had opened out of turn, I suspect we'd all say that was UI. And you can prevent the UI by not accepting the POOT.

Comments

  • My take is that you have UI, since it is not covered by any of the AIs listed in 16A. (Similar to if your partner pulls out the stop card when it's your turn to call.)

    But...

    16B1a states that "A player may not choose a call or play that is demonstrably suggested over another by unauthorized information if the other call or play is a logical alternative."

    Deciding whether to accept an opponent's POOT is not, to my mind, a call or play, so there is no restriction on you.

    I don't like it though - it seems wrong.

  • edited July 2019

    I think it's clear that it is the first of your two options that should prevail. The use of the stop card is part of the legal procedures of the game; an extraneous comment is not.

    [This comment was in reply to the original post, not in reply to the response to it].

  • I prefer the authorised interpretation. At the point when partner "played" the stop card, it was authorised information that he was about to make a skip bid (subject to the usual considerations if he did not in fact make a skip bid). I don't see how RHO's subsequent infraction can make it unauthorised to the NOS.

    Your enhanced knowledge of what partner is likely to have for the skip bid, and the tactical considerations that arise from this, arise from the contents of your hand which is of course authorised information.

  • Blue Book 3ZB4 gives two examples where a stop card is removed but a bid not made. It states that the use of the stop card is UI to partner. It doesn't cover this case specifically, but by extension I think the same should apply.

  • Gordon - I understand your distinction that comparison to an extraneous comment was irrelevant.

    I am not sure what you think the answer is though - you are saying it is authorised (i.e. agreeing with Abbeybear and disagreeing with JeremyChild's second post)?

  • edited July 2019

    @Frances said:
    Gordon - I understand your distinction that comparison to an extraneous comment was irrelevant.

    I am not sure what you think the answer is though - you are saying it is authorised (i.e. agreeing with Abbeybear and disagreeing with JeremyChild's second post)?

    Yes, I think it's authorised to you (dealer's partner) but not to the other side.

    Thinking a little bit more about it, if Dealer had been in the process of making a bid (as opposed to a pass) but this was interrupted by a COOR, I think it is fine for dealer's partner to take note of that when deciding whether or not to accept the call.

  • ...if it's authorised for partner is it also authorised for fourth seat? By the same argument, they were the offending side, so should they be allowed to know opener was trying to 'stop' ?

    What happened was the following:
    N/S Vulnerable (not sure if E/W were)

    South
    East: Pass, accepted
    North: 1NT
    West: 2H
    South: 2NT (lebensohl)
    East: Pass (I think) / North: 3C / West Pass
    South: 3S : invitational with 5(+) spades

    I was asked if North was allowed to decide whether to accept the invitation knowing the South's hand was likely to look like a decent weak two with 6 spades, rather than (say) an 11-count with 5 spades, so (e.g.) he might accept/bid 4S without 3-card support.

    The answer appears to be yes

    I understand no-one called the TD because it made no practical difference on the hand (the 1NT opener had a decent 13-count with QJx support and in any case the weak-two-er would never pass 3NT looking at a 6142 9-count with honours in the long suits)

  • edited July 2019

    @Frances said:
    ...if it's authorised for partner is it also authorised for fourth seat? By the same argument, they were the offending side, so should they be allowed to know opener was trying to 'stop' ?

    No, I think I said that.

    What happened was the following:
    N/S Vulnerable (not sure if E/W were)

    South [stop]
    East: Pass, accepted
    North: 1NT
    West: 2H
    South: 2NT (lebensohl)
    East: Pass (I think) / North: 3C / West Pass
    South: 3S : invitational with 5(+) spades

    Looks like the COOR was a fairly insignificant matter in the context of the auction as shown :)

  • edited July 2019

    The dealer's side has not committed an irregularity and is non-offending, and the information arises from them following the legal procedures of the game, so is authorised to dealer's partner. I think it is also authorised to offender's partner because it is part of the legal procedures of the game and occurred before the infraction.

  • OK I'm convinced! It still grates slightly though.

  • I see this situation as comparable to the similar situation without bidding boxes (i.e. with players bidding verbally): dealer says "two…", dealer's LHO interrupts dealer by saying "pass", before dealer's call is finished. In that situation, it's pretty clear to apply Law 33: the pass counts as occurring after dealer's call and is not out of rotation.

    With EBU bidding rules, Law 33 doesn't apply, but we reach a very similar result via different route (which I hope should be uncontroversial once it's pointed out): Blue Book 3ZB1 bans making calls between the time at which your RHO has played the Stop card and the time at which your RHO has retracted it (and this has Laws-legal force, being delegated to from White Book 1.6.2, which is in turn delegated to from Law 18F). So dealer's LHO has not actually made a call at all. The LHO in question must thus withdraw their Pass card – despite playing the card, they never actually made a call – and by Law 16C1, all information generated this way is AI to the dealing side, UI to the nondealing side. (The dealer must then make their call, and can if they wish change the call they were going to make based on RHO's Pass card.) Then it's dealer's RHO's turn to call, and we continue from there, with UI but no other issues.

  • Sorry, I have to disagree with this. Law 33 applies when simultaneous calls are made. In your example one of the calls has not yet been made. Furthermore, from the fact that the Blue Book says that you should not make a call when the stop card is displayed, one cannot then argue that if a player does make a call in that period, the player has not actually made a call! The last thing I would call your argument is "uncontroversial"!

  • As a new director at this level, I come to this forum to learn. Sometimes I struggle, and sometimes I have revelations, like I have on this post.

    Whilst I follow and (eventually) agree with the arguments put forward, it still feels "wrong" to me for the knowledge of opener's stop card to be authorised to his partner. The laws of bridge are designed to rectify not unduly punish offenders, nor (generally) give unnecessary advantage to non-offenders. This felt like an unnecessary advantage.

    I then realised why it must be so. There is no "null" position - once there is Information it must either be UI or AI.

    A guiding principle of the laws (albeit not explicitly stated) is that non-offenders shall never be disadvantaged. Making the knowledge of the stop card UI would disadvantage them (as it creates an onus), so it must be AI.

    I realise many of you will say "of course", but for me it was a clarity I had previously lacked.

    Why do I even mention this? To say "thank you" to the many contributors to this forum who respond to my (occasionally odd) posts and who enable me to improve my directing skills.

  • Yes, indeed, the many contributors to this forum make it what is, in my biased opinion, one of the best such forums, because they base discussions on real-life situations even if they also look into the theoretical background to them.

  • Well, I didn't think it was obvious, at least to start with (although I am also now convinced)

  • I see it has also provoked a thread on another forum, but one where I don't see all the posts so I'm not sure how obvious they found it.

  • @gordonrainsford said:
    I see it has also provoked a thread on another forum, but one where I don't see all the posts so I'm not sure how obvious they found it.

    Oooh - which forum?

  • I see that "another forum" is almost equivalent to "another place" in Parliament.

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