When is it "obvious" that it's gone wrong?

I remember reading about (but cannot find) a principle that said: after UI, partner is not allowed to use the UI until "it is obvious that something has gone wrong". Having had a few rulings recently that covered this area, I started to wonder if there is any guidance as to "when it becomes obvious". An impossible cue bid or Blackwood response might be such a time, but what about others?

Suppose partner opens a weak 2, pass from opponents and I bid 2NT (we play Ogust). Partner fails to alert and passes. Now next opponent doubles. Can I take it out? Can I redouble (SOS)? Pass is anti-system, but if partner had alerted and passed I would probably leave it in (possibly thinking partner had misbid). When do I get the right to convert back to my partner's major? If opponents now find their suit, can I compete?

Comments

  • TagTag
    edited May 2019

    You have the UI that partner didn't alert, all else is AI (actual/authorised information). You should bid whatever you feel is appropriate given the information you legally possess.

    You have the right to come up with a personal theory of why partner should ever open a weak two and then pass 2NT, given that your hand is currently unlimited and you assumed captaincy of the hand. You have the authorised information that he did go off-piste by passing and it's up to you to work out what you care to do next. It's the TD's job to rule on whether what you choose to do is reasonable.

    If you do buy the contract, before the opening lead is selected/faced you must also notify the opponents that partner should have alerted the 2NT bid. The TD rules on whether the misinformation of the failure to alert has damaged them.

    Is "misbid" here a euphemism for "psyched"?

  • Thanks, Tag.

    I was more after guidance for the director on ruling - not a simple task.

    And by "misbid" I was thinking "pulled wrong card out".

  • I think for the director this is easier than the player. You conduct a poll and if the respondents all say "something has gone wrong, someone has got the system wrong" then for the player to assume that partner is bidding according to the system is not a logical alternative - the player is allowed to "wake up".

  • The difficulty might come to the other side of the table. Partner opened a weak two and took your 2NT as natural and passed. You make another bid and then partner remembers that you play Ogust, and might well have decent hearts, despite that his failure to alert and subsequent pass have, effectively, told the opponents that you have a good hand without heart support. His actions might be constrained by the situation he's created, since it's not clear that he can "wake up".

  • edited May 2019

    @Tag said:
    The difficulty might come to the other side of the table. Partner opened a weak two and took your 2NT as natural and passed. You make another bid and then partner remembers that you play Ogust, and might well have decent hearts, despite that his failure to alert and subsequent pass have, effectively, told the opponents that you have a good hand without heart support. His actions might be constrained by the situation he's created, since it's not clear that he can "wake up".

    Wow! Such a lot happening.

    1) Opponents presumably balance - TD is going to have to find out if they would have, given the correct information - although they should I suppose be checking that the 2NT call should have been alerted (Many pairs play 2NT as a conventional respose to a weak 2 of course, but maybe they didn't want to wake the bidder up - which is a valid reason for not enquiring according to the EBU). Of course that could be considered a 'gambling action'.
    2) You make another bid - well I suppose you can do if it is 100% clear that partner has forgotten the system - but this is a potential UI case.
    3) The weak-two bidder has no UI. If he 'wakes up' then that is no problem. However the wording in Law 20 is not clear.
    .
    4. (a) If a player realizes during the auction that his own explanation was erroneous or
    incomplete, he must summon the Director before the end of the Clarification Period and
    correct the misexplanation. He may elect to call the Director sooner, but he is under no
    obligation to do so. (For a correction during the play period, see Law 75B2.)
    (b) The Director when summoned applies Law 21B or Law 40B3.

    5 (a) A player whose partner has given a mistaken explanation may not correct the error
    during the auction, nor may he indicate in any manner that a mistake has been made.
    ‘Mistaken explanation’ here includes failure to alert or announce as regulations require
    or an alert (or an announcement) that regulations do not require.

    Note that the definition of 'Mistaken explanation' including a failure to alert only applies under subsection 5(a). Does 'incomplete explanation' include 'failure to alert'?

  • @weejonnie said:
    (quoting Law 20)
    4. (a) If a player realizes during the auction that his own explanation was erroneous or
    incomplete, he must summon the Director before the end of the Clarification Period and
    correct the misexplanation. He may elect to call the Director sooner, but he is under no
    obligation to do so. (For a correction during the play period, see Law 75B2.)
    (b) The Director when summoned applies Law 21B or Law 40B3.

    It is somewhat surprising to me that, given the tendency in the last revision of the Laws to move to a position where the players can achieve a result with minimal interference from the Laws and the TD (comparable calls being the prime example), this Law no longer requires the misexplainer to (call the TD and) fess up as soon as he becomes aware of the problem. To be sure such an action provides UI to partner, but the Laws have always put giving correct information to opponents above avoiding giving UI to partner, relying instead on the constraints they impose on partner's actions when he has UI.

    I guess that giving the player the option to call the TD immediately or wait till the clarification period is designed to cater to the situation where the player knows that there is a problem (someone has forgotten the system), but cannot be certain whether he or his partner is at fault. Calling the TD immediately in that instance just muddies the waters, and gives partner copious UI, without being much help to the opposition, who probably still won't have much idea who is right. In that case it is sensible to give the player the option to wait and then at the end of the auction (having called the TD) say something along the lines of "when I gave the explanation I believed it was correct; but now I am sure that something has gone awry, but I cannot be confident which of us has got the system wrong".

    But giving a player the right to continue, saying nothing, when he knows for certain that he has misexplained, allowing his opponents to continue with a live auction in a state of misinformation, seems odd. Of course the TD can award an adjusted score later, but it does seem better to me to maximise the opportunity for the opponents to make their own bridge decisions, for better or worse, in the possession of the correct information, rather than to rely on the TD's intervention.

  • The reason for this change was to remove the possibility of the non-offending side making a call based on the knowledge of a misunderstanding. At the end of the auction they can take back their final call, but only to change it if it was affected by the misinformation, not on the grounds of a misunderstanding being revealed. Under the old laws, this gave an advantage to those who chose not to reveal the correct information at the earliest time, which was virtually impossible to prove.

  • @gordonrainsford said:
    The reason for this change was to remove the possibility of the non-offending side making a call based on the knowledge of a misunderstanding. At the end of the auction they can take back their final call, but only to change it if it was affected by the misinformation, not on the grounds of a misunderstanding being revealed. Under the old laws, this gave an advantage to those who chose not to reveal the correct information at the earliest time, which was virtually impossible to prove.

    In other words, opponents are not entitled to know that the offending side is having a misunderstanding, although if it is revealed or they can deduce it, they are entitled to act on the information, at their own risk. The offending side is now entitled to protect themselves from potential damage from opponents' actions taken in the knowledge of a misunderstanding by delaying revealing the misunderstanding. Opponents get to take their last call back or receive an adjusted score if they would have taken different action with the correct information, but do not (for example) get to double everything in sight which might be to their benefit if they knew of the misunderstanding. Correct?

  • The outcome of what you have said is correct, but I think Gordon's explanation of the motivation is right. It is not so much that you are 'entitled' to protect yourself by delaying, it is that the old Laws gave an advantage to people who didn't call the TD when they should have done, with no way of 'proving' that have deliberately not done so. That put the more ethical players at a disadvantage.

    It's like the fact that you aren't obliged to tell the opponents when you realise you have revoked.

    The game would be better in both instances if you were, but there is no point having an unenforceable Law which is a function of a player's unprovable mental state.

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