Comparable call - was I right?

Opening 1S bid out of turn when his partner was dealer. After I had explained the options, the next player declined to accept the bid. The out of turn bid was cancelled and his partner opened 1C. I was asked whether a 1S response would be a comparable call and I said no because he had shown opening values. He then asked whether 2S would be a comparable call (strong) and I said that it would because although the 1S might have been a minimum opener it could well have been up to, say, 19 HCP. I said that the opener would have to treat the 2S as game forcing and bid accordingly.
The offender then called 2S and the auction continued. I wasn't called back so I don't know the outcome.
Was my ruling correct?


  • edited August 2018

    In most bidding systems, a strong jump shift has a higher upper limit than a one-of-a-suit opening bid. That's probably not enough of a difference to make the bid incomparable here, though (you don't expect your partner to have 20+ points when you have an opening bid yourself). So I think it's reasonable to consider it comparable.

    It's worth noting that "opening bid opposite opening bid" is considered a game force in many bidding systems, so if the bidding system uses strong jump shifts, the meaning of 2S over 1H is pretty similar to the meaning of 1S as an opening bid as it is; not only is it comparable (in the sense of containing a subset of the hands), it's also going to have a pretty similar effect on the final contract. So it's likely the best way to restore equity.

    Of course, bidding system considerations might be involved here. For example, if in the bidding system in use, 1S shows five and 2S only shows four, that would make me begin to consider that the calls might be incomparable.

    One other thing to note is that in bid-out-of-turn situations, the players have the option of trying to guess the final contract rather than trying to find a comparable call. Players often have to rely on the "partner is barred for one round" option (31B2, 31A2b) when none of the comparable calls are suitable, or no comparable call exists. It's worth making sure that the players are aware that this option exists, even if they'd prefer to try to have a normal auction.

  • I am pretty sure that the sentiments by the WBF on the old rules i.e. try and be flexible still apply. There has been a definite move towards trying to get 'sensible' results after infractions.

    I think that one of the definitions of the comparable call " has the same or similar meaning as that attributable to the withdrawn call, or" would cover the 4S - 5S problem since "Opening hand with 4+ spades" is similar to "Opening hand with 5+ spades". if it turns out that the difference proves crucial then there are remedies available. There are no guidelines AFAIK, but a 1-card difference in specified denomination(s) would seem acceptable as would 1 (or maybe even 2) high card points - provided there was significant overlap IMHO i.e. If you play 1NT = 15-17 and a 1NT overcall shows 16-18 then I would allow it (subject to 23C)

    Your last point is well worth noting. Of course directors who actually read the laws and explain them to the players won't fall foul of this, but those going by memory only (maybe even the 2007 or earlier laws) could very well fall into the trap.

  • I am not sure i agree here. Assuming a fairly standardAcol with weak no trump.
    Opening 1spade might basically show... at least 4 spades with 11- 20 points but not 12-14 balanced
    Does 1S response show a sub-set of this - obviously not as the strength can be much less.
    What about 2S. Are there any hands which would reply 2S but wouldn't open 1S? Yes - Very strong hands and particulary those that would open strongly at the 2 level. Not a likely holding I agree but are we measuring the degree of incompatibility or its likelyhood.
    As I play it 1C 2S will be looking, tentatively at least, for a possible slam - knowing that partner could only open at the 1 level might certainly colour my judgement!
    I am not against an interpretation that says that 2S is comparable and sort out any damage later, but in reality I don't thinkit is.

  • I do think this is marginal, for the reasons stated above. Quite a few 2S responses would open some kind of strong bid or 4S, so it isn't describing a subset. It is similar in meaning though, the question is whether it's similar enough.

    I think I'd allow it, at least in a club game.

  • TagTag
    edited August 2018

    With at least one partner, I play that 1C-2S shows 12+ points and no better bid, obviously with long spades.

  • Well, with 1 partner, I play 1C - 2S as 6-9 and 6 spades :)

    Which tells you that partnership agreements are important when thinking about comparable bids

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