# Stop card 'problem'

2H(announced as weak) - P - P - Stop 3C(after a few seconds thought)
P - 5C - P - 5S
P - P - P
Director called and instructs hand be played.
Making 11 tricks
The 5C bidder had xx A10xxx x AKJ10x
A ruling then requested?
«1

## Comments

• Why was the director called, or, what was the supposed infraction?

It all looks perfectly fine to me (the stop is irrelevant but could give UI, but the 5C bidder looks strong enough to give 5C a go). 5S is/was a gamble but also perfectly fine.

Unless 3C was supposed to be conventional?

• The 5S bidder wss 5053 and over 1H a Stop3C bid would show Spades and Diamonds.
• OK, so the 3C bidder made an error in their bid
The 5C bidder clearly took it as natural (which from the sounds of it 3C would be a natural bid)
So, there are no infractions so far...

So, how should the 5C bidder react after 5S? 6C or pass?

Or, did the stop card give UI and so at this point the 5C bidder thinks again and comes to the conclusion, I bet he meant S and D and missed that it was not a jump at all. You could ask them what they thought and if they say something like the above, then the Stop card probably did give UI and you can judge accordingly.

If they say it looked like a gamble, say 6 clubs and 5 spades, giving choices, but not terribly strong as they did not double 2H, then pass looks reasonable as 6C looks like a stretch opposite a weakish 6-5 hand.

As director you would have to judge what they say (and don't say) and make a judgement call as to whether you think that UI was a contributing factor to the pass. If you judge no UI, then no problems.

If you judge that they have benefitted from UI, then penalties and adjusted scores would be needed

• edited January 11

I think it's a stretch to accept that the 5C bidder decided that he'd prefer to play in a 5-2 fit, rather than a 6-5 fit on something which, on the face of it, looks like a control-showing or asking bid looking for the grand. I'd further struggle to believe that this doesn't warrant penalties and an adjusted score.

The partnership might consider using Leaping Michaels, where a 4D bid shows that minor and the other major.

• Hi Tag

I'm not sure about the possibility of this being some sort of cue bid looking for a grand slam, when the over call was just a straight over call in 4th seat, no double, no cue bid or other forcing overcall?

• The 5 bidder has unauthorized information from the use of the STOP card, which surely suggests that partner may have misbid. From the authorized information they know that partner has a club suit and has made a forward-going spade cue-bid. I don't see how they can pass. Logical alternatives are 6 and (perhaps, for some pairs) a 5NT grand-slam exploration. (I said as much to the director who consulted me on the original problem.)

• And if their system does not include such methods?
• I'd look at this from the point of view of the advancer. His partner has overcalled 3C, which he's agreed in a big way. His partner then introduces a new suit at the five level. How is he to view such a bid, accepting that the partnership has agreed clubs? Absent unauthorised information, it's hard to see how it can be anything but a grand-slam try.

Any consideration that his partner actually has spade and diamonds, based on the earlier stop card, is in violation of Law 73C1 "When a player has available to him unauthorized information from his partner, ..., he must carefully avoid taking any advantage from that unauthorized information". See also Law 16B. In this case, the Stop card is extraneous information. 16B1(a) states: "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.". 6C and 5NT, as suggested by VixTD are logical alternatives to pass.

• Then the calls by definition are not logical alternatives - IMHO too many TDs/ appeals committees try and impose their own favourite conventions or types of bids (splinters/ fit jumps/ GSFs etc) onto players who may never even have heard of them.

This pair do not play grand slam forces - so 5NT is not a logical alternative. Similarly 3C is actually non-forcing since any forcing to game sequence would be introduced by a double. Thus 5S cannot be a slam try. To quote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "When you have removed what is impossible, whatever is left, no matter how unlikely must have occurred".

• Exactly, how can it be a grand slam try or force when it couldn't even find a forcing overcall.

I would think of a couple of possibilities if I raised to 5C and my partner bid 5S:
1) He mixed his C and S suits up in his hand and is trying to correct
2) He has C and S and this is a viable alternative
3) He has an unusual hand and he wants me to bid 6C or pass

So, pass would be a logical bid. Based on the 2 options above, I would be thinking my partner wants me to pass or bid 6C and if he didn't just bid 6C himself then it is most likely to be one of the options above and so I would most likely pass. I just cannot think of a hand where partner genuinely wants to go to a slam based on a non-forcing overcall and a (fairly reckless) jump to 5C

• edited January 12

Yes, I've seen many specious arguments based on "I play this method, so they must be playing it, too". The alternative here, though, to some manner of grand-slam exploration is that having agreed clubs (overcaller's first-bid suit) we have a new suit introduced at the five-level offering a choice of games. Basically, "I have spades as well, partner, if you'd rather play in spades". How can the 5C bidder suggest that he'd prefer spades here, absent the suggested UI?

We've all had instances of a hand soaring in trick-taking potential after partner's reply, so I don't place much value in having failed to make a forcing bid initially.

• Yes, I also know people that have never, not ever, bid a slam or have such basic concepts of bidding that a forcing 5 level bid would not even enter their minds. I also know someone that bid 6NT as asking for Queens!

This is why I think that one of the logical options is 1) He mixed his C and S suits up in his hand and is trying to correct

• Following that logic (ignoring partner's previous bids and imagining why you should do so) can lead to any contract at all, which makes any subsequent bid a logical alternative to pass. :-)

• edited January 12

I don't think that 6D, 6H, 6S, and any 7 bid can be taken as a logical alternatives.
So that leaves, pass, 6S, 5NT and 6C as the possible bids.

Based on that and the partnership having no understanding or interest in forcing GS bids, what are the logical options? For me that is pass or 6C.

If thinking about 6C, ask yourself, do I have anything more than what I have shown already? If partner wanted 6C, what was the 5S for? To me, that looks most like the 5S bidder having mis-sorted their hand and found that the AKC was actually the AK of S (especially considering my hand of AKJ10x of C - what is he wanting 6C missing all of those controls in the slam suit and no discussion of Aces etc?). I could see partner gambling on 6C without asking, but what the hell would 5S be (based on a simple system with not GS systems etc)

• edited January 12

If I were in this auction and I've just gone to 5C and 5S comes back, I'd be thinking that partner trusts me to have the clubs covered and he's telling me that he has spades nicely covered, too, and has some "extras" to play with. I'd take it as asking me whether I have any interest in the grand and showing that he's comfortable in going to 6C. I'd not take as forcing to anywhere but 6C with 6NT, 7C and 7NT as possible final alternative contracts.

As I typed above, if I stop trusting partner's bidding then my imagination need have no limits, so I'll not do that and I'll take his bids at face value. I'd be losing partners at a disappointing rate if I passed such bids as 5S and not only do we miss a nice slam but I put down just two trumps for partner to play with. I'd also expect a director to adjust to 6C if passing 5S was the superior bid, in light of the alternative interpretation of the earlier Stop-3C.

• Hi Tag, that would be you, with your partner and your partnership agreements that include GS tries/forces. We are talking about a partnership that has no such bids/tools. So much so that the 5S bid would not exist in their system.

The rule (as I understand it) is a judgment on logical alternatives by players of similar skill and using that partnerships agreements. Surely the director cannot invent a convention for them and make the partnership play that (as in 'I would play that as asking whether I have any interest in the grand'). Otherwise, inexperienced players could get to a point of (standard) Blackwood and deliberately underbid to get an expert director come along and say, ah I would take 4NT as RKC BW and so bid X, then the other could do the same etc, all the way up to the correct slam...

One should not enforce your system and understandings on them when making your judgement, surely?

• Sorry, Martin, I didn't intend to suggest that I have any such agreement with any partner. I doubt that anyone has any clear agreement on the meaning of 5S in the auction
(2H)-3C-(p)-5C
(p)-5S-(p)-??

I was looking only at the bridge logic behind the 5S bid and we seem to have a choice as to whether to decide between partner looking for more or partner having miscounted or mis-sorted their hand and, so, we now have no confidence at all in their earlier 3C bid. Where does the latter route end? Are we to suggest that any unexpected bid is down to a careless partner who has only now put their cards into the correct suits? Anyway, I think I've said my piece in this conversation for now.

• "IMHO too many TDs/ appeals committees try and impose their own favourite conventions or types of bids (splinters/ fit jumps/ GSFs etc) onto players who may never even have heard of them." [weejonnie]

"Yes, I've seen many specious arguments based on "I play this method, so they must be playing it, too". [Tag]

For heaven's sake, I said it would be an alternative for some pairs, not for everyone. I wouldn't expect most ordinary club players to even think about bidding 5NT, nor committing themselves to a grand slam. But that doesn't mean they can pass, there's still 6 .

I agree it's a little odd that partner wants to play in a slam when they could only muster a minimum overcall last round, but couldn't they have a good hand with controls in spades and diamonds, but be worried about their long weak trump suit? Their hand has been greatly improved by your jump raise, now they want to play in slam, and are making a noise in spades on the way.

That's one possible meaning for 5. Another is that they had their hand missorted, were attempting to show two suits with a Ghestem bid or whatever else you're suggesting. If partner had just bid 3 you could certainly read one of these interpretations into their bids and pass with impunity, but which of these do you think is suggested by the use of the STOP card? And which do you think is thus disallowed?

• So a minimum club overcall as you say now gets greatly improved with partners jump to 5C, what is the 5S supposed to say? 6C would be a guess but how is bidding S supposed to improve things?
So the overcaller is nervous about his club holding so bids a forcing 5S spade where partner has to bid 6C?

Do you still adjust to 6C if both 5S and 6C happen to make?

Surely the pass would only be disallowed if a majority of similar standers players would seriously consider anything other than pass, with some actually bidding something else? Obviously that judgement is made by the director, but it should be based on those assumptions and the bidding system for that pairing

• You don't adjust to 6C (as I assume you know) since the opponents aren't damaged by the partnership only bidding 5S. What you do do is adjust to 5C+1 since 420 is worse than 450. (Unless of course there was no alternative to bidding 5S on the hand.)

I would certainly disagree with your last statement - If pass is demonstrably suggested by the UI it will be disallowed if another call is regarded as a logical alternative - which only needs about 20% of players to choose another specific option. (Unless I am misreading something)

• I, for one, didnt know about adjusting to 5C rather than 6C so correct to mention it.
Whilst 5S was fortunately making 6C should go down, does this alter the adjustment.
I assume that the partner of the 3C bidder isn't expected to mention what 3C over 1H would mean.
If one of the players defending 5S is alert enough to wonder what a hyperthetical 3C over 1H would be presumably asking is ok even though it may assist the other defender.
• 1) You can't change the contract to 6C as it can't be reached in a legal manner. Since the 5S call is going to be cancelled and replaced by a pass there is no way to reach 6C. (This may not be true of course in very exceptional circumstances i.e. if the player thought he was showing Spades and Diamonds turns out to be rich in controls with decent club support e.g. 5-0-5-3 AK764 - AQJ87 - KQ9 then 6C might be a logical alternative.) (it only needs partner to hold A to 7 clubs and KD and 7C is there)

2) It depends on whether it falls within law 20. If someone asks then

"He is entitled to know about calls actually made, about relevant alternative calls available that were not made, and about inferences from the choice of action where these are matters of partnership understanding."

I think it would be hard to require such an explanation - although of course he can look at the convention card

3) I don't think he can ask during the play period - again from law 20

After the final pass and throughout the play period, either defender at his own turn to play
may request an explanation of the opposing auction.

There is of course no requirement for a player to say that he has misbid. So the explanation of the auction is:

3 - Natural
5 - Natural
5 - No partnership agreement. (assuming that is the case)

Asking questions may of course give rise to UI (as you say) and of course a player may not ask a question if the sole reason is to help their partner.

• Have I missed something? He bid 3C showing spades and diamonds, so he believed, and Partner did not alert it. Partner bid 5C so 5S is illegal. So you rule it back to 5C unless he gains from this.

• @bluejak said:
Have I missed something? He bid 3C showing spades and diamonds, so he believed, and Partner did not alert it. Partner bid 5C so 5S is illegal. So you rule it back to 5C unless he gains from this.

Probably not - unless there is no alternative (just about imaginable 7-0-6-0). The comment about asking about the 3 and the explanation of 5 applied before the contract was rolled back.

• "Have I missed something? He bid 3C showing spades and diamonds, so he believed, and Partner did not alert it. Partner bid 5C so 5S is illegal. So you rule it back to 5C unless he gains from this." [Bluejak]

Possibly. I wouldn't have ruled it back to 5 because I think the 5 bid automatically takes them to at least 6, a worse contract for the offenders. If you think that there are no alternatives to passing 5 that aren't suggested by the use of the STOP card, as some people seem to, then you're right.

• edited January 15

The 3C may have been intended to show spades and diamonds, but that is not their system, so partner could not/should not alert this. His 5C jump shows that he took it as natural, so, is the mis-bidder barred from trying to correct because he came to this realisation following the action of his partner (ie not alerting and by jumping to 5C)?
In that case, the infraction is by the overcaller trying to correct his misbid?

Though thinking about it, the 'not alerting' or giving the correct system answer of 'natural' is UI to the overcaller and he cannot correct his bidding from that - LAW 75A, (isn't there a point somewhere about when the bidding or play makes it clear if so wouldn't the 5C bid be AI and thus he can attempt to correct?)
With the 5S bid being out of system, and AI, can they now make (correct or incorrect) assumptions about partners previous bid and pass/bid accordingly? Presumably there would be no need to alert the ops to partner presumed earlier misbid as they are only entitled to know what their system is, not the intent of the bids were?

Arguing the other side, the non-alert was UI for the overcaller, so he needs know that he has shown Diamonds and Spades and partner says, I can make 5C (possibly 6/7 card club suit?), so would he rather play in a 9/10 card fit in 5C, or and unknown 5-? fit in 5S. Hmmm, I think I have convinced myself that the final contract should be 5C

• Alerts and failures to alert, misexplantions and accurate explanations are all unauthorised information.

• @VixTD said:
"Have I missed something? He bid 3C showing spades and diamonds, so he believed, and Partner did not alert it. Partner bid 5C so 5S is illegal. So you rule it back to 5C unless he gains from this." [Bluejak]

Possibly. I wouldn't have ruled it back to 5 because I think the 5 bid automatically takes them to at least 6, a worse contract for the offenders. If you think that there are no alternatives to passing 5 that aren't suggested by the use of the STOP card, as some people seem to, then you're right.

If the 5 call is illegal then we can't get to 6. Law 12C2c

(c) An assigned adjusted score may be weighted to reflect the probabilities of a number of
potential results, but only outcomes that could have been achieved in a legal manner
may be included.

• Under what law is 5S illegal? I have searched through as best I can but cannot find a reference.

• "If the 5 call is illegal then we can't get to 6. Law 12C2c

(c) An assigned adjusted score may be weighted to reflect the probabilities of a number of
potential results, but only outcomes that could have been achieved in a legal manner
may be included." [Weejonnie]

Yes we can. If 5 gives them a worse score than 5, but the pass of 5 was illegal and should have been corrected to (at least) 6 which would have given them an even worse score than either 5 or 5, the 5 bid did not cause them any damage and so was legal.

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