Do you offer Law 25A when the offender says nothing about wanting to change?

edited December 2017 in EBU TDs

1C (P) 1S (P) 1S (P) "TD - partner's 1S was insufficient"
Before ruling that the auction stands should we ask opener about the (second) 1S bid? Should we ask if 1S was intended?

1C (P) 1S (P) "stop" 2S "TD - not a stop bid"
Before ruling that 2S bid stands, and there is unauthorised information from the "stop", should we ask opener about the 2S bid? Should we ask if 2S was intended?


  • For the first one I would say no. But the bidder can say that it was a mistake.
    For the second one I would never point out that it was not a STOP bid. That asks for more unauthorised information.


  • It's an interesting question. We never used to on the basis that if nothing had been said by the time we were called, it was not "without pause for thought". Now that restriction has been removed, we need to be more open to accepting such a claim, but I don't think we should go as far as offering 25A unasked. We might ask some more open-ended question that allows for such an explanation, which would probably need to be away from the table, but I think we would have to take care not to create a loophole that would inevitably be tried in situations where it is not applicable.

  • I think the second example is one of the difficulties of the stop system.
    If you point out an incorrect use of the stop you let the bidder make use of 25A.
    They may say:
    I didn't mean that bid,
    when they mean:
    I worked it out wrongly. I meant to be forcing / not forcing and worked out the wrong bid. Let me think about it now....
    Whatever happens then leads to UI.
    Of course there is UI if you don't point out the mistake.


  • I think you should stop worrying about cheating, Alan, and lying to the TD is cheating if done to get a better result. Of course it may happen but you should base all your decisions on the presumption that people answer direct questions fairly honestly except in tempo sensitive positions. Anyway, the question here is what to do as a TD: You don’t have to worry as a TD when not summoned!

    As to the main question one of the differences between North American TDs and European TDs in the past was that North American TDs used to ask players whether the call was what they meant in Insufficient bid rulings. This never seemed a good idea. I believe that unless you think a pair very inexperienced compared to their opponents (or the rest of the field) it is the TD's job to find out what happened and rule without making suggestions. So I think the player should be expected to tell the TD if it was unintended. Of course this is all subject to normal TD practice, if a player looks as though he wants to say something but is too nervous or too shy or his opponents are berating him or the TD, now you can help the player with more specific questions.

  • If I was called for wrong use.. or failure to use.. STOP I would effectively do nothing and try to prevent anyone saying anything.
    The bid stands. The Stop error is procedural but would not merit a penalty.


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