Yet another query regarding insufficient bids and comparable calls !

West opens 4H as dealer. North, who hasn't seen the 4H opening, bids 1NT ( balanced, 12-14 ). The insufficient bid is not accepted by East and the bid is cancelled. North replaces the 1NT bid with 4NT. Is this acceptable ? It looks like it should be since, according to 27-B-1a :

"if the insufficient bid is corrected by the lowest sufficient bid which specifies the same denomination(s) as that specified by the withdrawn call, the auction proceeds without further rectification. "

However, without the 1NT insufficient bid, surely partner would take 4NT to be asking for the minors ? As the initial insufficient bid is not consistent with a 4NT overcall showing the minors, I would be inclined to think North does not have a comparable bid here. Am I right ?

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Comments

  • edited February 17

    I dont think 27B1a applies as the 4NT bid this does not 'specify' NT.
    I would need good evidence to be convinced that anyone plays 4N here as a balanced hand rather than (as you say) both minors.
    So the answer (IMHO) is NO, there is no comparable call.

  • Under 27B1a, 4NT is an acceptable bid, unless it is taken as artificial by the partnership. It's clearly not a comparable call but it doesn't need to be, as it specifies the same denomination at the lowest available level. Of course, if 4NT is artificial by their system, then it's not an acceptable bid.

  • 4NT is acceptable as a bid; the question is whether it bars partner from bidding and like most others here I would expect it to.

  • Okay, so 4NT we're saying is okay according to law 27 B1a. Why is partner now barred from bidding then ? Surely the bidding proceeds without further rectification ?

  • @RSG said:
    Okay, so 4NT we're saying is okay according to law 27 B1a. Why is partner now barred from bidding then ? Surely the bidding proceeds without further rectification ?

    No, I said that 4NT is not comparable,and 27B1a does not apply.

  • But aren't Tag and GR saying it is ?!

  • Assume 4NT over 4H is not a natural notrump bid, normally showing the minors. So Law 21B1(a), cheapest bid showing same denomination(s), does not apply to be able to keep offender's partner from passing for the rest of the auction.

    There is no comparable call available, so Law 21B1(b) also cannot be used.

    Conclusion - offender cannot double, must pass or make a sufficient bid, and his partner will be passing throughout the rest of the auction.

  • edited February 17

    I think the confusion is the use of the word 'acceptable'.

    I think Tag is using 'acceptable' to mean covered by Law 27B1a.

    I think when GR uses the word 'acceptable' (please do correct me if I am wrong) he means 4NT is a legal call, which it clearly is. I do not think he is saying the call is 'comparable' or that 27B1a applies.

  • My understanding is that it isn't specifying the same denomination, and is not comparable either, therefore partner is barred from bidding.

  • @RSG said:
    My understanding is that it isn't specifying the same denomination, and is not comparable either, therefore partner is barred from bidding.

    Yes, I agree.

  • TagTag
    edited February 18

    Likewise. There's slim chance that 4NT would be natural and partner is almost certainly not bidding again on this hand.

    Also, of course, 4NT is an acceptable (legal) bid and he can choose to make that bid.

  • @RSG said:
    But aren't Tag and GR saying it is ?!

    No. I was saying he can make a call that is not comparable, but the consequence is that his partner will have to pass. "Not acceptable" means to me that he can't make the call.

  • As my former boss used to say, I think we are all violently agreeing with each other!

  • Maybe North should have called the director to find out the consequences of bidding 4NT before he did it!

    I suppose he could have known that making the insufficient 1NT bid and thereby silencing his partner if he bids 4NT over a 4!h opening could damage his opponents - in which case if 4NT turns out well we award an adjusted score. (Just joking but there is an article on the Bridgebase Forums about how far do we stretch "could have known".

  • @weejonnie said:
    Just joking but there is an article on the Bridgebase Forums about how far do we stretch "could have known".

    Yes I think 72c is not applying here, except if the player is Mollo's Secretary Bird B)

  • @weejonnie said:
    Maybe North should have called the director to find out the consequences of bidding 4NT before he did it!

    I suppose he could have known that making the insufficient 1NT bid and thereby silencing his partner if he bids 4NT over a 4!h opening could damage his opponents - in which case if 4NT turns out well we award an adjusted score. (Just joking but there is an article on the Bridgebase Forums about how far do we stretch "could have known".

    Re your first comment, didn't we agree in another discussion that the Director should not give advice to the player as to whether a particular bid would be acceptable as a comparable bid or not?

  • What does the system card of E/W say about Unusual No Trump bids? If these are listed as played, then 4NT cannot be considered a comparable bid to 1 NT. No guessing required. However, if the system card is silent on Unusual NT then in order to get round the problem E/W could argue that they don't play Unusual NT (regardless of what 'everybody else' does) and therefore the 4NT overcall cannot be anything other than a natural NT overcall, comparable to 1 NT. Difficult for the TD to refute this, even if he doesn't believe it!

  • Again, as in the other thread, you lot are still living in your ivory towers. It's only serious players (not 'everybody') who would play it as a two-suiter. The fact that nobody has mentioned Blackwood, which is what the more social players would wonder about (and some might be smart enough to reject, because they haven't agreed a suit), just proves my point.

  • edited February 19
    I don’t see that you’ve actually made a point in this thread.
  • @StevenG said:
    Again, as in the other thread, you lot are still living in your ivory towers. It's only serious players (not 'everybody') who would play it as a two-suiter. The fact that nobody has mentioned Blackwood, which is what the more social players would wonder about (and some might be smart enough to reject, because they haven't agreed a suit), just proves my point.

    I was not suggesting that 4NT as an overcall over an opening bid of 4H may be considered a 'normal' NT overcall had there been no insufficient bid. What we are concerned with is whether it can be considered a comparable bid in this particular situation. And my point is that if it has no other artificial meaning IN THEIR SYSTEM then it can legitimately be accepted as a comparable call because it specifies the same denomination as the withdrawn call. That's all.

  • @gordonrainsford said:
    I don’t see that you’ve actually made a point in this thread.

    I was assuming that people had read my points on the other thread. What I'm trying to say is that if you start from the basis that "everybody plays 4NT as unusual", which is clearly untrue, then you will be making a bad ruling.

    I apologise to SDN, who I did not intend to criticise, who is the one poster on this thread who is actually trying to ascertain the facts before ruling.

  • Harsh words, StephenG. I thought my responses had been very level.

    @SDN... The 4NT wouldn't be a comparable call, even if natural. It would simply be a non-barring call as per law 27B1a, what I earlier was referring to as "acceptable".

  • TagTag
    edited February 19

    deleted... I don't know why my comment appeared in this thread.

  • Talking of ivory towers, a player makes a 12-14 HCP natural undercall of an opposing 4!h . When you realise what you have done, wouldn't you just pass and bar partner, mentally shrugging your shoulders if it ultimately proved that partner would have been bidding without the IB, and a better result would have been obtained?

    Bidding 4NT (which, if played as natural, would show a good deal more than 14 HCP) just seems a device calculated to go for a telephone number, whether partner is barred or not. It has a massive downside, and no very likely upside that I can see.

    Or was W one of the significant number of less sophisticated players whom some opponent in the past had authoritatively informed (without calling the director) that when you make an IB you "have to make your bid good"?

  • Hey Abbeybear

    Not that I think that it is a good bid, but whilst 4NT is something of a stretch, I see it as a 2-way gambling bid. Either partner has something and 4NT can make, or he has nothing and 4H or even 6H is a lay down. If doubled for penalties then they can rescue later...?

    In terms of the ruling (rather than whether it is a good bid or not), for me, 27 B 1(a) states that the bidding continues without further rectification. Subsequent bidding (or passing) should be scrutinised however, to ensure that there is no advantage taken from the UI.

  • @StevenG said:

    @gordonrainsford said:
    I don’t see that you’ve actually made a point in this thread.

    I was assuming that people had read my points on the other thread. What I'm trying to say is that if you start from the basis that "everybody plays 4NT as unusual", which is clearly untrue, then you will be making a bad ruling.

    I apologise to SDN, who I did not intend to criticise, who is the one poster on this thread who is actually trying to ascertain the facts before ruling.

    No apology required Steven. We are all trying to get to a better understanding of the problem.

    @Tag said:
    Harsh words, StephenG. I thought my responses had been very level.

    @SDN... The 4NT wouldn't be a comparable call, even if natural. It would simply be a non-barring call as per law 27B1a, what I earlier was referring to as "acceptable".

    Not playing on words, whether 'natural', ''acceptable', 'comparable' or 'non-barring'. What I meant is that it would be a call that allows the auction to continue normally.

    Repeating a point that I made in another discussion, at the table we do not have the luxury of time to give book rulings. We do not have the time to go through the thought processes as in this discussion. We need to follow a process that enables us to give the best ruling possible, not the best possible ruling.

  • @Martin said:

    Not that I think that it is a good bid, but whilst 4NT is something of a stretch, I see it as a 2-way gambling bid. Either partner has something and 4NT can make, or he has nothing and 4H or even 6H is a lay down. If doubled for penalties then they can rescue later...?

    Not sure why the IB side should have anywhere to go when the doubling starts, although of course it may not.

    @Martin said:

    In terms of the ruling (rather than whether it is a good bid or not), for me, 27 B 1(a) states that the bidding continues without further rectification.

    Only if the same denomination is specified, as to which I share the doubts that have been expressed by other posters.

    Most partnerships will be in one of the following positions (other nuances may be available!) in relation to a 4NT overcall of an opposing 4!h :
    (a) they have some definite agreement;
    (b) they have no explicit agreement, but they have something implicit in their partnership style or from agreements in comparable situations which may incline one partner to make the bid with some confidence that the other partner will read it correctly;
    (c) they have no agreement, and nothing to help them, although some recognition of the possible options (most people would recognise, for example, that "minors" was a possible option; some would assume that Blackwood was a possible option, even if they did not have any idea what partner would think the bid actually meant); or
    (d) they have no idea at all.

    I'm afraid I don't buy the proposition that "no agreement" must mean "natural".* "No agreement" is no agreement, and I don't think we should be ruling on the basis of projecting some meaning of our choice (even "natural") onto a pair with no agreement.

    By all means rule that a call does or does not specify the same denomination is a case where the pair is in area (a) or (b) above. But I don't think it's clear to rule that 4NT specifies the same denomination in case (c) or (d).

    *Of course it is sensible for a partnership to have a philosophy that undiscussed bids are natural, that undiscussed doubles are for penalty, or whatever it might be, but those are meta-agreements that bring them into case (b).

  • Well, I am relatively new to bridge having started playing about 6 years ago... but I am a reasonable player and I do play some interesting conventions (though quite a lot is non-standard as made up by me/my partner)

    I also play the unusual 2NT overcall... I have at times tried an unusual 3NT overcall (1H - p - 2H - 3NT), but all have been jump overcalls... I have not tried an unusual NT overcall without a jump - I can see potential benefits but have not come across that ('till now).

    As such, the idea that 4NT here would be conventional would be alien to me. For me it would be similar to a 3H open and 3NT overcall - I think I can make 9 tricks and will be better in game than defending (I did this 3 times in one session last Thursday). If this is the implicit agreement, then why would 4H - 4NT not have the same/similar meaning (ie, I can make 10 tricks on a H lead)? (on the back of another thread, would this make 4NT alertable if it is natural, but unexpected?)

    Clearly if the partnership play 4NT as some sort of conventional bid here, then it does not denote the same denomination and so (whilst allowed to be made) partner is barred from responding. Its only if 4NT is bid to show a NT hand that bidding can continue without barring partner - which was what I was meaning. [if] 4NT shows NT hand, then no barring.

  • @Martin said:
    As such, the idea that 4NT here would be conventional would be alien to me. For me it would be similar to a 3H open and 3NT overcall - I think I can make 9 tricks and will be better in game than defending (I did this 3 times in one session last Thursday). If this is the implicit agreement, then why would 4H - 4NT not have the same/similar meaning (ie, I can make 10 tricks on a H lead)? (on the back of another thread, would this make 4NT alertable if it is natural, but unexpected?)

    I am quite comfortable with the proposition that if called to your table, I would rule that the same denomination had been specified. But for most players I do not think that this would be the case.

    The TD has to investigate. My point was that he should not project specifics in real "no agreement cases", but if he finds an agreement, explicit or implicit, he rules accordingly. As has been said elsewhere, this whole area is one where the TD has to exercise judgement without being able to consult, because he has to make an immediate ruling to allow play to continue. Good luck to him, say I!

  • I think that with the top players and directors of congresses where the standards they are used to is high, it might be correct to say 'most players' would mean something other than natural. In the world of social players I don't think that it is possible to say 'most players' with this level of confidence.

    I know people that don't like Stayman for example and only play Blackwood and Gerber conventions. To them the 4NT overcall would always be natural or Blackwood and would they really ask for aces at that point?

    As for making immediate decisions, I normally find it best to make a decision as best you can (when operating as a player director I don't want to look at a hand I have not yet played)... but leave the proviso that we can revisit at the end. Often, this means giving the standard tricks only for revokes (for example), then check again later.

    For me, a large part of the more social directors role is to keep the members happy and coming back for more. So I try to avoid any definite ruling, off the cuff, as this can make 1 person or pair feel victimised. By handling it in this way, I find that it keeps everyone happy and defuses the situation. When looked at again later I find that everyone has calmed down, got over their embarrassment/defensiveness and a ruling is accepted more dispassionately.

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