# Sufficient Explanation?

South is first to bid and opens Stop Two ♦️‘S which is Alerted. West Passes and North Bids Two ♥️‘S, this is also Alerted. East asks about the Two ♦️ bid and is told that they are playing The Multi Two ♦️and then East asks what the Two ♥️ response means, “Relay” is the response. East (with a decent hand which includes four ♥️‘S above the nine) passes waiting to see what develops as expecting South to bid, however the hand is Passed Out and North is playing in Two ♥️‘S.

North makes Two ♥️‘S, however East has missed out on a Five or Six ♠️ Contract and is now a little aggrieved because of the Two ♥️ response and explanation.

So, should the explanation of the Two ♥️ bid be something like ‘Non Forcing Relay’ or is ‘Relay’ sufficient?

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• edited February 15

I really don't like either the "Relay" response or the succinct description of "Multi 2D". This pair could use some education on full disclosure.

Firstly, the multi can have various hand types. I play three different versions of the multi-2D with various partners and even more response styles. The partner of the 2D opener should be describing the hand types possible for partner's bid and not just saying "Multi 2D". They certainly shouldn't be saying "The Multi 2D". At best it's "A multi 2D".

The 2H response is very much not a relay. I alert and then sometimes am asked "Is that a relay?". I guess that it could, in some sense, be considered a relay bid but what it really means is that partner is prepared to stop in 2H if my hand is a weak-two in hearts. Not at all the same thing as "relay", which does carry expectations of being forcing.

If the opponents were aware that the multi could be a weak two in hearts then they'd realise that the 2H bid couldn't reasonably be forcing but they weren't given this information. If the opponents were an experienced pair then they should have protected themselves by asking for more information on the 2D bid. If they were an inexperienced pair or, at least, inexperienced with facing a multi 2D in its various guises, I have more sympathy with them. They might even have thought it to be some manner of Benji-like bid, where 2H is viewed as forcing.

• I think that the standard response should be "pass or correct". Some people might expect that "relay" implies that S must bid again, but it is a logical stretch.

How experienced are E/W? How common is the Multi in the club or environment where this occurred? If the Multi is known to be a weak two in either major, with or without strong hands, then the bridge logic screams that opener is going to pass with a weak two in hearts. But I have played a Multi for years and it is common where I play, so perhaps I think it is obvious where others might not.

If the E/W pair are very inexperienced and/or the Multi is uncommon where you play, then I might consider adjusting. But a very inexperienced pair would likely either not know what "relay" meant (although they might be too timid to reveal their ignorance by asking further) or would be incapable of making the connection between "relay" and "forcing" that this E has made.

Whilst I would suggest to N/S that they explain 2 as "pass or correct" or "non-forcing relay", I don't think I would adjust the score. Perhaps I am being harsh. What do others think?

• edited February 15

@Abbeybear said:
What do others think?

• If 2D was explained as "we play the multi two diamonds" and 2H was explained as "relay" then nobody has mentioned a weak two in hearts or playing in hearts. If East did not understand "multi" and understood "relay" as forcing, it is not wrong for East to pass and find out what opener has (by asking about opener's rebid).

But a player with any sort of experience can be expected to recognise that they need to know now what the (unfamiliar) word "multi" means, and to protect themselves by asking.

Some players could be expected to protect themselves by calling the TD when opener passes (before partner calls again) and explaining that they understood "relay" as forcing, and they may have been misinformed - in time to be able to change their Pass.

• Good point in your final paragraph, Robin.

• But a player with any sort of experience can be expected to ......

Some players could be expected to protect themselves by .....

Indeed a significant number of such players do exist, and those of us who play in strong fields or direct for strong fields may well be very familiar with such players.

But I would propose that these players are a bit of a tip of an iceberg and do not represent the rank and file of players prevalent at many club sessions, certainly in my part of the country where the Multi is not at all common at most of my club sessions. While a reasonable number might know or find by asking that a Multi is either weak with either major or some kinds of strong hand, they are far less likely to understand the responses, and an explanation of a 2H response as "relay" is completely inadequate, and most players won't even understand "Pass or Correct". I go to the trouble of explaining the 2H response as "Partner is asking me to pass if I have a weak hand with hearts, but otherwise to describe my hand further", so I would struggle to have sympathy for a player that says "Relay".

There are some who play a Multi 2D with no strong options, and I have been pleased to always see that they are good at describing their opening as a "Weak-only Multi".

There are two other situations where I often find poor disclosure.

1. South opens 1NT, West overcalls 2 of a suit and North bids 2NT alerted. East asks and South says "Asking me to bid 3C", giving East, unfamiliar with Lebensohl, an impression that North has clubs.

2. South opens 1NT, West doubles and North passes, alerted. East asks and South says "Asks me to to redouble", again without any indication of the hand types that North may have

Barrie Partridge - Senior Kibitzer in Bridge Club Live - Pig Trader in IBLF

• edited February 15

And..

1. 1N - X - XX: "asks partner to bid 2c". Again, does it promise clubs?

There is a real knack to giving good descriptions and most bridge players struggle with it. It's about getting a balance between letting the oppos know that something odd is going on without drowning them in detail. I find trying to to explain the Lebensohl 2N to opponents that don't play Lebensohl particularly tricky. It can soon drift into a tutorial on a bid they've never come across.

Playing Walsh transfers in a "normal" club evening can be particularly hazardous, especially after 1c - 1s especially.
I was once too slow to alert the 1c-1h transfer before RHO had bid 1s. Gave the TD a real headache untangling the UI after RHO withdrew his bid and I bid 1s and played there.

Merely "Multi" and "Relay" are at one end of the extreme. At the other there is a pair in our club who play a weird 1c system (not symmetric relays) and their explanations always seem to start "it denies this because be didn't bid that, and it it denies that,...." at the end of which you have no idea what the bid means. Fortunately, judging from the scores, it seems that they don't either.

• We don't know what the East or West hands actually were. If East, over the 2H bid, has a 'decent hand' with 4 good hearts, then unless that's strong NT values or more, most people would be passing 2H. It is West, in the pass-out seat, who I would be expecting to bid over 2D or 2H if EW are making 11 tricks in spades.

I agree with pretty much all the comments made so far. But people still have to look at their hands. If West has, say, KQ10xxx x Axxx xx and hears the auction go 2D P 2H P P ? and passes, and asks nothing more about the meanings of 2D and 2H than 'multi' and 'relay' then I have no sympathy. If East has, say, Axx AKQx xxx Kxx and misunderstood, thinking that 2H was forcing, then I do have sympathy.

• Thank you for your responses.

The incident happened in a Teams of Eight match and East West of mixed ability, one playing their first Teams of Eight Match and the other probably playing their Eightieth.

East’s hand held seventeen high card points. With five ♠️‘S and four ♥️‘S including the Ace and Queen. It was a decent hand, but partner had already Passed.

Had a “Pass or Correct” explanation been made, according to East West and both Conventions Cards they had, East would of bid ‘’Stop Three ♠️‘S”, this isn’t in doubt.

But as Full Disclosure was not given, East Passed to see what would occur.
• edited February 15

In cases like Lebensohl or some conventional XXes over 1NTX where partner is forced to make a particular bid no matter what, the information about the response should be alerted and explained when the response is made, not when the original bid is made.

So for example, 1NT, X, XX!, "explain XX", the answer should be "my partner has a single-suiter", then after pass, 2!, "explain 2", you then say "my partner was forced to bid 2 regardless of what was in their hand". XX has a meaning – a single-suiter – and it's that meaning that you explain. Likewise, 2 is forced and thus defined as meaningless, and you need to explain that when it's alerted.

It's generally incorrect to explain the responses to a call at the time of that call because they may depend on the opponent's system. You can't ask hypothetical about what the opponents would do on future calls in order to choose what to bid because it might depend on the meaning that the opponents attribute to calls in between, and you can't have both of those depending on the other.

• edited February 16

If I am opener with the sequence 1NT - (x) - xx. I alert the redouble and, if asked, explain it as, "Partner has a long suit somewhere of at least five cards in a hand unsuitable for playing in 1NTxx". I do see many players simply explain it as "Asking me to bid 2C", which is an inadequate explanation. These same players get tetchy when I ask, "But what does it show?"

With regard to future calls, after Lebensohl, it might be necessary to explain those on further enquiries when describing what partner's bid shows when asked about the 2NT bid in 1NT - (2x) - 2NT. The hand could be either weak or strong depending on the next response and opponents are entitled to know that responder could be either weak (looking for a part-score) or strong (looking for game or more).

• With the "slow shows"/"fast denies" version of Lebensohl, it's fairly simple to describe: "my partner thinks they know where to play the contract, which might be a partscore or a game, and is asking me not to interfere with the choice they make on their next call unless my hand is very unusual".

The other commonly played version, in which an immediate 3NT shows a stop, is harder to explain, because then 2NT followed by 3 of a suit shows weakness, whereas 2NT followed by 3NT shows doubt, and you effectively need to explain by cases in order to get the possible meanings of the bid across.

• "Asks me to bid 3C, partner will show a suit which is non-forcing, or cue-bid or bid 3NT with a game forcing hand with [with out] a stop"

• edited February 16

@Robin_BarkerTD said:
"Asks me to bid 3C, partner will show a suit which is non-forcing, or cue-bid or bid 3NT with a game forcing hand with [with out] a stop"

...or pass if weak with clubs.

Difficult to get these right. No wonder so many players struggle.

Pragmatically, I just like to say "Lebensohl" and if oppos want to know details the onus should be on them to ask, such as is fast or slow arrival. If we get a blank look suggesting that oppos have never heard of Lebensohl, then the onus is on us to give the details, as required by the laws.
Likewise whenever I play the multi and get asked I usually say "Multi, would you like the details?"

No attempt to device or confuse, just trying to keep the game moving.

Back to the original example. Was East or West the experienced player? If East experienced, who ought to know all about Multis, then I'd have no sympathy. But a less experienced player could readily claim to have been misled by the brevity, and not quite accuracy, of the "relay".

• You have to be careful with an explanation of "Multi"; it's assumed that that specifically shows weak in hearts, or weak in spades, or one or more strong options.

If your multi is missing a strong option, or missing a suit, you have to use different terminology, in case the opponents think they know what it means but it actually means something else.

• I've come across half a dozen different versions of the Multi, one of which I play with one of my regular partners (and was once told by a testy opponent "that's not the Multi at all", when I announced it as such and gave further detail when asked for clarification).
I'd say "multi" is sufficient at first instance as anyone who's ever come across the convention at all knows that one of the meanings is a weak two in a major and 90% of the time this is what opener will have. Opps can ask for further clarification at the time or on the next round as things develop.
"Relay" surely is totally wrong? To my mind a relay bid is one which guarantees a further bid from partner. Someone already acquainted with the convention wouldn't be misled but it's still tantamount to describing the bid as forcing when it isn't.
Everyone I know who plays the Multi says "pass or correct".

• Blue Book 3G1 specifically requires the term "multi", unqualified, to be used only for a weak hearts / weak spades / strong option multi. So there's very little choice in how you use that term when describing your agreement to your opponents.

• @ais523 said:
Blue Book 3G1 specifically requires the term "multi", unqualified, to be used only for a weak hearts / weak spades / strong option multi. So there's very little choice in how you use that term when describing your agreement to your opponents.

Thank you for finding that. So I reckon I am OK to announce all my various multi's, which do include those 3 options as merely "multi - would you like the detail?", is both succinct, accurate and sufficiently helpful.

Sometimes my weak 2 options are 6-10, 5-9 or even 3-7 with one partner (following the 5 point range rule). With one partner the weak 2s can readily be 5 cards (not recommended, but this partner likes it). And the strong NT range varies with partnership, and with one partner it includes strong Roman options. But, when I first asked, I'd hope it not be necessary to recite War and Peace on all the options, point ranges, etc.

Likewise I reckon the response of 2h as "pass or correct" is equally succinct and accurate.

• Another "colleague" in another forum was talking about his Multi. I had read in Blue Book 8C2 that it should have a minimum strength of 4 points. When I pointed this out, I was told that only applied to Level 2.
I would like to see Gordon's or Robin's interpretation of 8C2, is it OK at Level 4 to open 2D (Multi) with a 3-count?

• I may pre-empt G&R here - I think 8C is designed to be a 'half-way house' above level 2 and below level 4. 2-level calls at level 4 are described by the notorious 7C1. You can open a multi on 765432 432 432 2 - provided the opponents are made aware as to your partnership agreement. (Some players open a multi with a 'poor' weak 2 and a 'weak 2' with a good weak 2 - or vice-versa.

• You mean you were told that 8C2 applied only to Level 3. The Multi is not permitted at all at Level 2. (6D2)

7C1 refers to Level 4 and doesn't restrict the minimum for non-strong meanings. I have come across those playing 2D as very weak (0-7 HCP) with either spades or hearts, I think without any Strong options.

Barrie Partridge - Senior Kibitzer in Bridge Club Live - Pig Trader in IBLF

• So, you can see how misleading the Blue Book can be if it takes someone as good as Barrie to explain it to me TWICE before I understand it.

• P.S. thanks (again) Barrie

• The key point is that parts 5,6,7,8 are about permission not disclosure.

8C2 gives a default definition for a regulation of "level 3" permitted agreements. It does not define what should be understood my an explanation of "multi".

What we should take from the Blue Book is that "multi" is a misexplanation of a weak-only multi and is a misexplanation of: weak in one (specified) suit or strong option(s).

• I still don't see why players shouldn't be required to give a full explanation of their version of the multi. I play three different multis:
1) weak two in a major or 18+ three-suiter
2) weak two in a major, strong two in a major or 21-22 semi-balanced
3) weak two in a major, strong two in a minor or 22-23 semi-balanced.

People who've known me play one of them with one partner could reasonably expect me to be playing the same multi when they next encounter me, even though I'm with a different partner and playing a different multi. Simply saying "multi" does not explain enough about the bid to give the opponents what they are entitled to.

• @Tag said:
I still don't see why players shouldn't be required to give a full explanation of their version of the multi.

I've never known anyone have different defences to different versions of Multi. The only thing I think they definitely need to be made aware of is if it's a mini-multi, because of the possibility that it might be passed by a partner with a long diamond suit.

• @Tag said:
I still don't see why players shouldn't be required to give a full explanation of their version of the multi.

I am not saying that "multi" is an adequate explanation. But I do not mind an explanation which is

"multi" (slight pause) "weak two in either major or some strong hands" (pause) fuller explanation

... at each (pause) the asker can indicate that he does not need to hear more.

• @GrahamC said:

@Robin_BarkerTD said:
"Asks me to bid 3C, partner will show a suit which is non-forcing, or cue-bid or bid 3NT with a game forcing hand with [with out] a stop"

...or pass if weak with clubs.

Which is why I (carefully) wrote show not bid.

• @Robin_BarkerTD said:

@GrahamC said:

@Robin_BarkerTD said:
"Asks me to bid 3C, partner will show a suit which is non-forcing, or cue-bid or bid 3NT with a game forcing hand with [with out] a stop"

...or pass if weak with clubs.

Which is why I (carefully) wrote show not bid.

Gosh, that's subtle. Duly castigated.

• @gordonrainsford said:

@Tag said:
I still don't see why players shouldn't be required to give a full explanation of their version of the multi.

I've never known anyone have different defences to different versions of Multi. The only thing I think they definitely need to be made aware of is if it's a mini-multi, because of the possibility that it might be passed by a partner with a long diamond suit.

Back when it was common to play under regulations where multis required a strong option, a common workaround to the regulation was for the strong option to be a strong single-suiter in diamonds. (The idea was that a player with a weak hand and long diamonds could pass 2, because such a hand would effectively guarantee that partner didn't have the strong diamond single-suiter, and thus imply by elimination that they must hold a weak option.)

Such a bid would seem to count as a full multi by the EBU definition, but have the same defensive considerations as the mini-multi (which is the whole reason it was invented in the first place). Does that imply that it should be disclosed differently from a multi in which the possibility of a strong option precludes the responder passing?