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need to explain bridge rules to my son

#1 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2024-May-09, 05:13

So last night my son and I played real people, instead of robots, for the first time. I opened 1NT and he bid 2NT. I knew he was inviting me to 3NT but had forgotten that our partnership agreement is that his 2NT is a transfer to 3C. I alerted and bid 3C. He realized his mistake and bid 3D (he had 5), and all passed. So, I realized I need to explain some of the bridge table ethics and I am hoping someone can help me out with an explanation perhaps with two examples:

Case I North bids 1NT . South bids 2H intending it to be a transfer to Spades. North does not realize that and bids 3H..What is South's obligations both on his next bid and after the auction is done and before the opponent's opening lead ?

Case 2 North bids 1NT....south bids 2H, forgetting that it is a transfer to Spades; North super accepts and bids 3 Spades. South realizes his mistake. Same question. WHat are the obligations of North and south while the bidding is active and after the auction before the opponents make the opening lead
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#2 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2024-May-09, 13:52

Were you playing on BBO with self alerts, or face to face?

You are perfectly allowed to misbid, and then realise you misbid. If that realization came from UI - like your partner's alert or long hesitation - then you have to continue bidding as if you hadn't realised (though alert according to the actual agreements).

But otherwise you are under no obligations whatsoever. All that needs disclosing is if you had previously provided incorrect alerts to the opponents, which is done either at the end of the auction or end of play, depending on who is declarer (though not sure if this works differently with online play).

If playing on BBO, you can't see your partner's alerts, so unless partner's tempo has made it clear there was a mistake, you're both free to do what you wish.

In your original case, 3 doesn't exist after a 2nt invite, so that guarantees they can wake up to the misbid without issues regardless of where you're playing. In fact, you were the one with potential ethical issues - how did you know to pass 3, which would be forcing to most? If it were undefined in your system (or nonforcing) that's fine. If your son had a long pause after your unexpected 3, not so much.
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#3 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2024-May-09, 14:56

View Postsmerriman, on 2024-May-09, 13:52, said:

Were you playing on BBO with self alerts, or face to face?

You are perfectly allowed to misbid, and then realise you misbid. If that realization came from UI - like your partner's alert or long hesitation - then you have to continue bidding as if you hadn't realised (though alert according to the actual agreements).

But otherwise you are under no obligations whatsoever. All that needs disclosing is if you had previously provided incorrect alerts to the opponents, which is done either at the end of the auction or end of play, depending on who is declarer (though not sure if this works differently with online play).

If playing on BBO, you can't see your partner's alerts, so unless partner's tempo has made it clear there was a mistake, you're both free to do what you wish.

In your original case, 3 doesn't exist after a 2nt invite, so that guarantees they can wake up to the misbid without issues regardless of where you're playing. In fact, you were the one with potential ethical issues - how did you know to pass 3, which would be forcing to most? If it were undefined in your system (or nonforcing) that's fine. If your son had a long pause after your unexpected 3, not so much.


Agree with most of that.
Regulations are a factor also, in Case 1 should North alert/announce a transfer? If so and he does not, then UI is already there.
In case 2 surely a Superaccept requires alert and the UI supercedes the AI from the bid itself.
I would never bid 3 over a natural 2NT invite, but I don't reject it as "doesn't exist"... I would take it as long clubs needing just honour support to make 3NT.
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#4 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2024-May-09, 15:28

Thanks both of you.... As far as the hand we were actually playing, it was just a friendly on-line BBO game where we all knew each other. Our agreement is that his 2NT bid is forcing me to bid 3C and he can correct to 3D if he wants. This sequence is telling me he has a crappy hand and 6 Diamonds and is to play. (He was a passed hand, which I did not mention, but that doesn't affect our agreement)

So in the example : 1NT - 2H (forgetting it was a transfer) and a jump to 3S... that bid is the trigger that caused the 2H bidder to realize his mistake....I get that a hesitation or an alert might be the trigger, but so was the jump to 3S. So is there different treatment /ethics if there was a hesitation vs. the jump? I'm a little confused myself now
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#5 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2024-May-09, 15:53

View PostShugart23, on 2024-May-09, 15:28, said:

Thanks both of you.... As far as the hand we were actually playing, it was just a friendly on-line BBO game where we all knew each other. Our agreement is that his 2NT bid is forcing me to bid 3C and he can correct to 3D if he wants. This sequence is telling me he has a crappy hand and 6 Diamonds and is to play. (He was a passed hand, which I did not mention, but that doesn't affect our agreement)

Then I too am a little confused now :blink:
In OP you said "I opened 1NT and he bid 2NT. I knew he was inviting me to 3NT but had forgotten that our partnership agreement is that his 2NT is a transfer to 3C." Why did you know that he was inviting to 3NT and had forgotten the partnership agreement, if the agreement was that 2NT is a transfer to 3C?

View PostShugart23, on 2024-May-09, 15:28, said:

So in the example : 1NT - 2H (forgetting it was a transfer) and a jump to 3S... that bid is the trigger that caused the 2H bidder to realize his mistake....I get that a hesitation or an alert might be the trigger, but so was the jump to 3S. So is there different treatment /ethics if there was a hesitation vs. the jump? I'm a little confused myself now

As I mentioned, it is very probable that the 3S bid requires an Alert and the lack of this Alert was an (unauthorized) trigger to the 2H bidder. This supercedes the (authorized) trigger from the bid and any hesitation was just icing on the cake :)
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#6 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2024-May-09, 16:11

View Postpescetom, on 2024-May-09, 15:53, said:

As I mentioned, it is very probable that the 3S bid requires an Alert and the lack of this Alert was an (unauthorized) trigger to the 2H bidder. This supercedes the (authorized) trigger from the bid and any hesitation was just icing on the cake :)

This isn't true in their setting of playing on BBO; the 2 bidder has no clue whether 3 was alerted or not. Even if 3 did have a meaning over a natural 2, it is fully AI to realise the most likely situation is that 2 was a mistake, and can continue however they like. However, you're probably out of luck with trying to find a sequence that ends in hearts.
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#7 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2024-May-09, 16:15

View Postpescetom, on 2024-May-09, 15:53, said:

Then I too am a little confused now :blink:
In OP you said "I opened 1NT and he bid 2NT. I knew he was inviting me to 3NT but had forgotten that our partnership agreement is that his 2NT is a transfer to 3C." Why did you know that he was inviting to 3NT and had forgotten the partnership agreement, if the agreement was that 2NT is a transfer to 3C?


As I mentioned, it is very probable that the 3S bid requires an Alert and the lack of this Alert was an (unauthorized) trigger to the 2H bidder. This supercedes the (authorized) trigger from the bid and any hesitation was just icing on the cake :)


Ok, so what is the person who bid 2H to do ?

Re your first quesion
Because my son has only been playing about 6 weeks and has made this mistake before. I should not have said I 'knew' I should have said, "I strongly suspected'. In any event, I bid the partnership agreement and let the chips fall where they may. Did I do something wrong ? Seems to me pass or bid 3NT on my part would have been wrong
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#8 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2024-May-09, 16:17

View PostShugart23, on 2024-May-09, 16:15, said:

Because my son has only been playing about 6 weeks and has made this mistake before. I should not have said I 'knew' I should have said, "I strongly suspected'.

That is a different kettle of fish; this type of implicit partnership knowledge is something you must disclose to your opponents.
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#9 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2024-May-09, 16:55

View Postsmerriman, on 2024-May-09, 16:17, said:

That is a different kettle of fish; this type of implicit partnership knowledge is something you must disclose to your opponents.



"alert" please expalin...." I think my partner made a mistake and forgot our agreement"

tbh, this sounds kind of 'hokey' and really alerts my partner that something is amiss. I think my alert and bid of 3C, as per our agreement, was the 'ethical' thing to do. Had I a good enough hand to accept an invitation, I think bidding 3NT (or even passing) would have been not correct

.and I don't know what my son should have done next...If he really intended to invite me to 3NT, but my alert woke him up, is he barred from bidding 3NT? As it turned out, my alert did remind him of our agreement, and he retreated to a 5 card Diamond suit which I passed as also per our agreement.

So did I do wrong ? did my son do wrong ? When I alerted his 2NT bid, no one asked for an explanation, as an aside
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#10 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-May-10, 11:31

This is Very Hard. Players all the way to Real A level don't understand this (and the higher you go, the more "it's obvious/it's Just Bridge" comes out rather than "I realized and tried to bail out" or "I didn't know what to do, so I just bid my suit again").

Note that the player has to know two things:
  • What they must do in the further auction and, potentially, in the play.
  • What they must tell their opponents and when.

Law 73C: "When a player has available unauthorized information from partner, such as...explanation, ...an unexpected alert or failure to alert, the player must carefully avoid taking any advantage from that unauthorized information" (my emphasis).
Law 73A: "Communication between partners during the auction and play shall be effected only by means of calls and plays, except as specifically authorized by these laws."

Layman's translation for this case: "your partner can't wake you up by their alert or their explanation - you must continue to bid as if they had properly (not) alerted, and when asked, given the explanation you thought your bid meant at the time."

It does not matter if you did realize "before the alert/explanation" that your idea of the meaning was wrong - first, how can you prove it? second, you'll tell *yourself* this, even if it was "simultaneous".

Now, partner's unexpected *bid* might wake you up, but given the "carefully avoid" explanation (and the "another logical alternative" one in L16), you'll have to be in "that bid doesn't exist...oh wait" territory before you meet the threshold, so just don't (or be prepared to justify the action to the director, and accept a ruling against you if it happens).

However, you do need to know about the "actual system" that the UI told you you are playing, because your explanations of your partner's calls - even if you can't use them either - must match your agreed system.

Now, note:
  • If you deliberately misbid, fine. You know what your system is, and chose to violate it, and you can go from there. Be prepared to justify that, too, as the director is not likely to just take you at your word.
  • If you believe that partner misexplained, and you bid correctly, then you *still* follow the auction the way it "should be", but now you must correct the explanation at the proper time (end of auction if you are declaring or dummy, at the end of the hand if you are defending). And again, your explanations are what partner's calls mean *in your actual system* (which in this case is what you believe it is, not what partner does. Even if that wakes partner up (who gets to "see above").
  • If you believe that *you* misexplained, call the director and correct it immediately. Yes, you can legally wait until the end of the auction. Do it immediately anyway. You don't have to call the director. Do it anyway.


If your son understands this and tries his best to follow it, he is being ethical. If he makes a mistake trying, then the lesson after will make his next effort better. If he gets ruled against, it happens - provided he did his best. The only failure is not to try.
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#11 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-May-10, 11:38

re: agreements from partnership experience. It might sound bad, yes, but "Shows clubs [or 'bailout in a minor'], but partner has forgotten more than once with an invitational hand" is in fact your agreement - until the correct patterns are drummed into his head and he stops doing it. There are some people for whom that reminder is the best way to drum it into their head, just so that they don't have to be embarrassed by it next time. There are those who will just take it very badly if you say it.

But whether it's said to the opponents or not, the next time it does happen, that's what the director is going to find out, and how the (MI part of the) ruling will work from. And no, we don't rule that "your correct agreement is 'clubs or natural invitational, and you know it's NAT INV this time".

The best, ethical, solution to this specific issue is to spend time working through your NT system so that you can take that caveat off your card, because it no longer applies. Or if it can't, play a different system partner can remember.
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#12 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-May-10, 11:45

Specifically for your last questions (as opposed to the 2NT one, which frankly happens much more often):
  • 1NT-2 (no announcement); 3. As explained, the "unexpected failure to announce" (a type of alert) is UI. The 2 bidder must bid as if partner happily announced "spades" and bid 3 anyway. If they've heard of superaccepts, they have to bid as if partner has made one. Which could get them to 6 rather than 4 (or 3NT). Oh well. North, if they wake up some time in the auction, calls the director and explains that South showed spades. South, if North doesn't do that, calls at the end of the auction unless they end up defending.
  • 1NT-2 ("spades"); 3. South is in a pickle. What hand, hearing a bailout in hearts and having bid 1NT, could bid not only spades, but 3 spades? No idea. This one I'm likely to believe "there's no other meaning than 'partner thinks we're playing transfers'." (either because they are, or not). OTOH, I've had 1NT-2; 4 propagated on me twice in my life - both times it turns out "my clubs were also spades". So, you know, that. North has no UI unless there was a flinch or whatever on the "spades" announcement, and is allowed to do whatever they think is right. Again, if E-W were misinformed (they aren't playing transfers), that should be explained at the end of the auction in the vast majority of cases where N-S declare.

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#13 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2024-May-10, 18:23

It should be clear from this thread that there is no need to teach Bridge rules to your son because no-one else knows them either.
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#14 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2024-May-10, 19:36

View Postpilowsky, on 2024-May-10, 18:23, said:

It should be clear from this thread that there is no need to teach Bridge rules to your son because no-one else knows them either.

I don't think there is any disagreement about the rules here. They are just different depending on whether you are alerting your own bids (as per BBO or behind screens), or alerting your partner's bids (as in face-to-face). Most of the arguments above are for the latter, so don't apply to the OP, but would if they go out to a club, so are still important to know.
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#15 User is offline   sanst 

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Posted 2024-May-11, 01:54

If your son, or any newby for that matter, forgets about transfers, he has probably still much to learn about the technical side of the game. As a teacher I know that most people find that part quite difficult, although youngsters are much faster picking it up than the elderly. That should be priority #1.
The concept of UI is rather difficult to grasp for most starters - and many of the more experienced ones, too. If you confuse them with the ethics while they're still wrestling with transfers and the like, the most probable result is that they give up the game altogether. Only when they're advanced enough to handle a basic system, introduce them to the laws and duties of the players.
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#16 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2024-May-11, 16:02

View Postsanst, on 2024-May-11, 01:54, said:

If your son, or any newby for that matter, forgets about transfers, he has probably still much to learn about the technical side of the game. As a teacher I know that most people find that part quite difficult, although youngsters are much faster picking it up than the elderly. That should be priority #1.

Sure a newby will forget about transfers, or anything else that is not inherently logical. My priority #1 would be to not push them too hard (as OP seems to be doing, however smart his son may be). Priority #2 would be to teach them the real basics, in particular the scoring system, hand evaluation and the requirements for game/slam. Systems come later and conventions a lot later. The first system should be simple and the first conventions should be few and essential. Few if any beginners can handle a fast track approach, let alone benefit from it.

View Postsanst, on 2024-May-11, 01:54, said:

The concept of UI is rather difficult to grasp for most starters - and many of the more experienced ones, too. If you confuse them with the ethics while they're still wrestling with transfers and the like, the most probable result is that they give up the game altogether. Only when they're advanced enough to handle a basic system, introduce them to the laws and duties of the players.

This looks to me like a short road to disaster. Beginners deserve a full explanation of the logic and spirit of this game, which includes the (wholly unexpected) notion that agreements are fully disclosed and the (less unexpected, but still curious what we/they can get away with) notion that any information partner may transmit in ways other than calls or plays is not authorized. In my experience they rarely have a problem in understanding all this, if duly explained, nor do they tend to get it wrong later. It's the "more experienced ones" that find it (conveniently) difficult to grasp and repeatedly perpretrate infractions.
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#17 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2024-May-12, 01:31

Transfers are not inherently logical? Interesting viewpoint.
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#18 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2024-May-12, 05:56

View Postblackshoe, on 2024-May-12, 01:31, said:

Transfers are not inherently logical? Interesting viewpoint.

Inherent as in natural, with a meaning which is apparent by simple reasoning based upon knowledge of the rules and scoring system and openings - explain those to Einstein and ask him to rebid after 1NT 2H, he will pass :)
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#19 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2024-May-12, 06:20

View Postpescetom, on 2024-May-11, 16:02, said:

. The first system should be simple and the first conventions should be few and essential. Few if any beginners can handle a fast track approach, let alone benefit from it.





I think the best bridge systems are strong club systems, so we have begun with a precision system. There's no avoiding the complexities and he isn't having too much difficulty. He forgot a bid, so I asked the original question for my benefit as well. As an aside, I am also heaping onto my son the task of having him learn opening leads and then piling on further by teaching him upside down count and attitude signals. (We covered scoring fairly early on)
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#20 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2024-May-12, 10:22

Understanding the Laws is no more complicated than, say, understanding how to use the python requests module to retrieve and interact with web sites. And like the Laws, there's a "quickstart" which will get 90% of people 90% of the way there; "advanced knowledge" that will give you the answer (or the method to handle) specific issues; and the "API reference" level understanding.

For new players, knowing "you're only allowed to use calls and plays of your partner; anything else you can get is unauthorized and can't be used. Because bridge players are pattern matching machines, 'just ignoring' will unconsciously use it, so you have to deliberately avoid use to counteract that tendency." and "the opponents are entitled to your agreements, not the contents of your hand or what you thought you were doing. If they got that, fine. If they didn't get it, you must correct, but at the time partner is either out of the play or you are." (with maybe a sidebar on "your agreements don't have to be written down or otherwise explicitly agreed, if you've been able to work it out or 'come to the same conclusion'." Remember, "pattern-matching machines".)

If you want to become a lawyer Director, sure, you need more knowledge and a more nuanced understanding. But again, I compare to golf - where even at the lowest level of non-casual play, you will be disqualified if you fail to assess your own penalties (and correctly!). Okay, *you* will be disqualified. I have it on rumour that some players aren't required to...
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