Correction of a misbid

West opened 1 heart playing 5 card majors and his partner raised to 2 hearts with 3 hearts. West then looked at his hand and realised he had misbid as he was 4-4-4-1 with only 1 heart. He now bid 3 clubs which his partner passed - they had a 4-4 club fit.
They made 3 clubs, and I was called after the end of the hand by north as they had got a poor score.
I think the 3 clubs should have been alerted by West as a new suit at the 3 level and some sort of trial bid; they told me they played this bid as non forcing.
Should west have bid 3 hearts over 3 clubs?
How should the hand be scored?
Many thanks


  • Well, there is nothing wrong with the opener trying to correct to clubs, as there was no UI for him to discover that they had misbid.

    As for 3C being alertable, this depends on what their agreements are.

    As for the responder passing, it does seem unusual, however, unless there was UI (such as "oops" or some other reaction that indicated that there was a problem) then passing would be okay.

    If there was some UI, then 3H might be the correction, or possibly 4H if responder was non-minimum for their 2H bid.

  • Should west have bid 3 hearts over 3 clubs?

    Do you mean East?

    I suspect that it was a genuine misbid, and there was no particular agreement about 3C, and no infraction - score stands. I would be very surprised if EW had an understanding that 3C denied hearts,

    It is possible that EW have an agreement (that 3C was a trial bid) and East used UI to pass 3C. But unless someone noticed the UI, it is difficult to do anything.

  • I must agree - unless there is any evidence of UI, then we have to accept the result. West, of course, may have intended to call 1 !d and called 1 !h by mistake. Unfortunately he cannot correct the call once partner has responded, and he must not indicate he has misbid.

    The fact that opponents misbid, does not ipso facto give a pair an automatic right to a good score.

  • I think we should at least ask why East passed.

  • This incident actually reminds me of a sort of ongoing problem I have with very new players.

    Almost every experienced partnership plays 1!h, 2!h; 3!c as a trial bid of some sort (thus forcing to at least 3!h). As such, any nonforcing meaning for 3!c is highly unexpected, thus alertable.

    However, with partnerships containing very new players, it's frequently the case that almost all bids are played as natural and nonforcing, so 3!c here would mean "choose between clubs and hearts" (which is what the responder did with their pass). That's surely got to be alertable, under our current rules. (The non-alertable meaning would be a game try that specifically shows length in clubs, as it's the only non-surprising meaning that's also natural.) But how would a poor new player, who plays everything as natural, know to alert that?

    I've discovered when trying to make very simple bidding systems (for the benefit of new players) that the alert system leads to a minimum level of complexity that's required in any bidding system. Players need to know the standard meaning of every common bid, so that they can either a) play the standard meaning, or b) alert their nonstandard meaning. Given that the standard meanings are often fairly complex, that's a large amount of learning that's required to even be able to start playing bridge. (It says something that I've contemplated designing "simple beginner systems" so that every bid is alertable, because it's much easier than designing an easily memorable system where no bid is alertable…)

    That said, I'm not sure if a fix to this is available, other than possibly exempting the sort of bids that new players are likely to make from alerting requirements.

  • edited July 2018

    Playing 5-card majors, playing a new suit as non-forcing I would expect to be EXTREMELY unusual.

    Note this is different than 1C-1H-2H-3C. For partnerships that frequently raise as opener with three trumps, there is what I expect to be a minority, but not a tiny minority, that play this auction as non-forcing (minimum opener, three hearts, 4+ clubs.

  • @weejonnie said:
    The fact that opponents misbid, does not ipso facto give a pair an automatic right to a good score.

    Even when opponents have obviously committed an infraction, a pair does not have an automatic right to a good score. :)

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