Weak only Multi

A pair at my local club play 2D as a (very) weak only multi - 0-7 points with 5+ cards in a Major
However, after a Pass by his RHO, responder frequently also passes - particularly when not vulnerable when 8 down undoubled is likely to be a good score.
So my question is - Is there anything untoward about this? Is this pass a systematic "psyche"? What disclosure should there be
eg 2D is not forcing or that responder's Pass may not be showing long Diamonds

Comments

  • The opening bid and the pass by responder are permitted agreements at level 4, and it is the intention of the regulation that they are permitted.

    In a club setting, where either there are not system card or opponents don't look, the pair should be encouraged to draw attention to these agreements at the start of the round.

  • I don't think 2!d as not forcing is alertable as not-forcing (it is of course alertable as not-natural). As defined here, it's a limited bid (very limited, in fact); in the vast majority of systems, a player with a limited hand has no forcing bids (because it's always possible that their partner has enough information to know that playing in the current bid is likely to be the best outcome).

    In the EBU, a Pass is considered natural if it does not show values and does not specify suit holdings (Blue Book 4C1c). As such, the pass over 2!d is natural under the EBU's definition; thus, it's alertable only if it has a potentially unexpected meaning.

    Is pass as "could have a garbage hand and wants to escape undoubled, or could have diamonds" potentially unexpected? It likely depends on the players at your club. I think I'd expect a partnership who regularly passes over 2!d multi to have some agreement about what sort of diamonds were expected; in this case, the agreement is "does not promise diamonds if the hand is weak", which seems like a plausible agreement but not the only plausible agreement. That said, it's possible that this meaning is unexpected enough to people not used to weak-only multis that the call should be alerted under the "natural with an unexpected meaning" requirement. I'd probably phrase the explanation, if asked, as "to play, but might or might not have diamonds".

    I don't consider the call to be a psyche, given that this doesn't seem to be a case of the hand not fitting the partnership agreement. The issue's just about making sure that the opponents don't come to incorrect conclusions about what the partnership agreement actually is (which can be done with an alert, or, as @Robin_BarkerTD says, by mentioning it at the start of the round).

  • Passing on any weak hand is their agreement so is not a psyche. The only question is disclosure.

  • Obviously disclosure should be "Shows 5 or 6 cards in an unspecified major and 0-7 points". if someone want to assume that partner is forced to respond then they are free to do so BUT Law 21A obviously applies.

    The only question about the initial call is: do you add "not forcing" to your explanation. Well - if you open a weak 2 you announce "weak" - you don't add 'not forcing' (you only do that if the call is strong). So I don't think that the alert and explanation of the call is wrong.

    If the players are in the habit of passing with one or both majors (in the hope that RHO has the values and is waiting to find out what the weak major is, then I think that could be alerted as it would seem to be a partnership agreement.

    "To play: Could have values in one or both majors" - as that is a potentially unexpected meaning (since a pass would normally promise diamonds). - so I would agree with ais: I would definitely prefer this pass to be alerted.

  • @weejonnie said:
    Obviously disclosure should be "Shows 5 or 6 cards in an unspecified major and 0-7 points". if someone want to assume that partner is forced to respond then they are free to do so BUT Law 21A obviously applies.

    The only question about the initial call is: do you add "not forcing" to your explanation. Well - if you open a weak 2 you announce "weak" - you don't add 'not forcing' (you only do that if the call is strong). So I don't think that the alert and explanation of the call is wrong.

    I think there is an important distinction between passing a natural weak two and passing a "weak only" Multi. In the former case opener has announced willingness to play in the denomination named; in the latter he has not. So in the former case, a pass will never come as a surprise to opponents; in the latter, it probably will. Opponents who are used to a standard Multi generally know that opener's LHO gets two bites of the cherry, and a lot of defences distinguish between immediate and delayed action.

    Whilst one might expect opponents to think of the possibility that responder will pass a weak-only Multi with a string of diamonds because opener has guaranteed a weak hand, I don't think that many opponents are likely to anticipate a pass, by agreement, without diamond length. I am therefore convinced the principle of full disclosure requires that the explanation should include the fact that the opening is, by agreement, not forcing.

    I like ais523's suggestion of alerting the pass and explaining that it is merely prepared to play in 2!d not doubled, without guaranteeing any particular holding in the suit.

  • I think it's too late to alert the pass as 'may not have diamonds', also I don't think this is necessarily required - the pass says 'if this ends the auction I am happy' which seems to me to be the unalertable meaning of pass.

    The multi will be alerted anyway, and I do agree that when explaining it, the description "5-6 cards in a major and 0-7 points, not forcing" would be clearest.

  • @Frances said:
    I think it's too late to alert the pass as 'may not have diamonds', also I don't think this is necessarily required - the pass says 'if this ends the auction I am happy' which seems to me to be the unalertable meaning of pass.

    Many people would assume, if they thought about it, that "if this ends the auction, I'm happy" afforded some implication that "diamonds has a fair chance of being a better fit than opener's major", whereas the actual agreement is "who cares about diamonds, I'm trying to make it as difficult as possible for opponents by passing on a variety of weak hands so that they have no clue about what I might hold".

    An experienced player in the pass out seat might know to ask about any agreement or experience, but the OP suggests that it is perhaps less experienced players (who might not think to ask) who are having difficulty with this pair's methods. Perhaps they wouldn't have much of a clue what to do with the extra information, but I'd prefer to see them being given a chance by having it.

  • But the person who really needs to know is second hand, which is why Frances said: I think it's too late to alert the pass.

    A pass of natural opening bid does not say I like playing in the denomination opened, just that I can't do anything else.

  • Didn't we have a discussion in another thread which agreed that it's okay just to say "Multi" when asked and then to elaborate when asked for further information?

  • I am sure that explainer should say more than "multi" when there are no strong option. The words "weak only" should be used even if the asker tries to shut down the explanation.

    I think it was suggested that the explainer should embark on a series of more complete explanations with pauses where the asker could say indicate that they had heard enough.

  • @Robin_BarkerTD said:
    But the person who really needs to know is second hand, which is why Frances said: I think it's too late to alert the pass.

    Second hand isn't entitled to know what third hand's calls mean in order to decide on their own call. What if third hand's calls decided on the meaning of second hand's (which is entirely reasonable)? Now you have a loop that can't be resolved.

    Agreements can be based on what opponents' previous calls meant, but can't plausibly be based on what opponents' future calls will mean, as otherwise you have an impasse with everyone needing to know the meaning of their opponents' bids first before they can know the meaning of their own.

    It follows that "forcing" is not a property of a call in of itself; rather, it's a property of the call together with the meaning of LHO's response to it. So "not forcing" doesn't really work as a description for, e.g., a Multi, as you might not have the information you need to be able to describe that yet. It'd be quite reasonable for a partnership to agree "pass opposite Multi shows diamonds if opener's LHO has shown a weak hand with their pass (say, <8 points), but might not have diamonds if the pass could have been made on a stronger hand".

  • I would suggest that Blue Book 2A1 supports the views expressed by Frances and Robin.

    Barrie Partridge - CTD for Bridge Club Live

  • @ais523 said:
    Second hand isn't entitled to know what third hand's calls mean in order to decide on their own call. What if third hand's calls decided on the meaning of second hand's (which is entirely reasonable)? Now you have a loop that can't be resolved.

    Agreements can be based on what opponents' previous calls meant, but can't plausibly be based on what opponents' future calls will mean, as otherwise you have an impasse with everyone needing to know the meaning of their opponents' bids first before they can know the meaning of their own.

    It follows that "forcing" is not a property of a call in of itself; rather, it's a property of the call together with the meaning of LHO's response to it. So "not forcing" doesn't really work as a description for, e.g., a Multi, as you might not have the information you need to be able to describe that yet. It'd be quite reasonable for a partnership to agree "pass opposite Multi shows diamonds if opener's LHO has shown a weak hand with their pass (say, <8 points), but might not have diamonds if the pass could have been made on a stronger hand".

    Or even..."shows diamonds if opener's LHO asked no questions" but "random if opener's LHO expressed an interest in the auction by asking questions" :/ .

    Be all that as it may, it is generally accepted that it is appropriate (I would say fundamentally necessary) that disclosure of the meaning of bids includes whether the partnership has agreed that they are forcing. The bidder's LHO will often need to know whether he rates (systemically) to get another chance, or whether a pass is (systemically) on the cards, which was Frances' point.

    That is at the player's own risk, of course, as a statement that a bid is, by agreement, forcing can never be an undertaking to opponents not to pass it, and if I were ever to consider passing a systemically forcing bid, one of the situations in which I might be seriously tempted to do so would be if RHO had asked a lot of questions and then passed with obvious reluctance.

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