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ACBL has it wrong? Alert Reg

#1 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 09:58



Not playing Flannery, so 2 might be on 4-5-2-2.

The ACBL Alert Procedure states:

"Opener's rebid of two of a minor over partner's forcing or semi-forcing notrump response to a major does not require an Alert if it shows three or more of the suit bid (4-5-2-2 does not require an Alert as long as responder expects three or more cards in the minor)."

Partner and I so strongly object to this reading that we continue to alert 2 anyway. Nail us if you will.

The premise that responder expects 3 or more cards in clubs is false to begin with. She expects either 3+ or 4-5-2-2 ---a not-rare possibility. The possibility that Opener might have 4-5-2-2 is not trivial to an opponent considering later balancing action over a dead 2H.

IM(not so)HO, the parenthetic portion of the quoted regulation should be dumped and announced to all that it has been dumped.
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#2 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 10:10

I think it would be smarter for ACBL to write that in the auction ([n x Pass]-)1-Pass-1NT-Pass; 2, the last bid does not require an alert if it promises 3+ clubs, or specifically 4-5-2-2. Then responder would be allowed to expect 3+ clubs, or precisely 4-5-2-2.

Rik
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#3 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 10:46

Badly written, as Rik says, but the concept should be there.

If you won't raise on 5 clubs and a 10-count because partner "could have 2", then you're playing something Alertable, even if 4=5=2=2 is the only non-3 club hand. If you would because the chance of a Flannery hand, never mind a Flannery hand with the least common residue, is tiny enough not to worry about, then it's not Alertable.

The danger of Alerting this (as opposed to the "it isn't clear, it's arguably not Alertable, but I would anyway" types) is that players who know their Alert chart will assume you're doing something other than "3+, or the dreaded Flannery hand" and either ask unnecessarily, or not ask and be misinformed.

The ACBL do a lot of describing of hands as "this. But this occasionally, if there's no other safe call, and if responder won't play for it." It may not be the best way to describe it. But we all should know what the construction means.

But I don't disagree that there's an issue here.
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#4 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 10:52

View PostTrinidad, on 2014-July-29, 10:10, said:

I think it would be smarter for ACBL to write that in the auction ([n x Pass]-)1-Pass-1NT-Pass; 2, the last bid does not require an alert if it promises 3+ clubs, or specifically 4-5-2-2. Then responder would be allowed to expect 3+ clubs, or precisely 4-5-2-2.

Rik

So your position is that the ACBL should just alter the "expectation" wording and keep it a non-alert; o.k., tally up one "disagree" with my OP.
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#5 User is offline   billw55 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 11:50

From the title, I thought this thread would have only one word.
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#6 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 13:34

View Postaguahombre, on 2014-July-29, 09:58, said:

The ACBL Alert Procedure states:
"Opener's rebid of two of a minor over partner's forcing or semi-forcing notrump response to a major does not require an Alert if it shows three or more of the suit bid (4-5-2-2 does not require an Alert as long as responder expects three or more cards in the minor)."
Not playing Flannery, so 2 might be on 4-5-2-2. Partner and I so strongly object to this reading that we continue to alert 2 anyway. Nail us if you will. The premise that responder expects 3 or more cards in clubs is false to begin with. She expects either 3+ or 4-5-2-2 ---a not-rare possibility. The possibility that Opener might have 4-5-2-2 is not trivial to an opponent considering later balancing action over a dead 2H. IM(not so)HO, the parenthetic portion of the quoted regulation should be dumped and announced to all that it has been dumped.
Agree with aquahombre. IMO:
  • The ACBL regulation assumes mind-blinkering abilities beyond any sane player. You know that partner can legally bid 2 with a 4522 shape but you mustn't expect her to have that holding. Perhaps the ACBL means "as long as responder doesn't cater for such a possibility -- i.e. she rebids as if opener has at least 3 ".
  • Alert regulations should cater for players unfamiliar with your methods (e.g. strangers and foreigners). Suppressing a 4-card suit to show a 2-card suit seems artificial to me.

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#7 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 17:21

View Postnige1, on 2014-July-29, 13:34, said:

Agree with aquahombre. IMO:
  • The ACBL regulation assumes mind-blinkering abilities beyond any sane player. You know that partner can legally bid 2 with 4522 shape but you mustn't expect her to have that holding. Perhaps the ACBL means "as long as responder doesn't cater for such a possibility -- i.e. she rebids as if opener has at least 3 ".
  • Alert regulations should cater for players unfamiliar with your methods (e.g. strangers and foreigners). Suppressing a 4-card suit to show a 2-card suit seems artificial to me.


Not when bidding the four card is a reverse showing extra strength, and you don't have the strength.
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#8 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 18:48

View Postblackshoe, on 2014-July-29, 17:21, said:

Not when bidding the four card is a reverse showing extra strength, and you don't have the strength.

Nige1 pointed out the artificial nature of 2C. Your point about reverses doesn't make 2C any less artificial; nor does it change my contention that an artificial bid, whether necessary because of our other agreements or not, should be alertable to the opponents for their protection against blindly chiming in with a balancing Spade bid.

Currently, the ACBL wording does not require the alert. We don't need to re-establish that the ACBL doesn't require it in a thread about changing said regulations. You either agree that it should be alerted or you believe the opponents don't deserve the alert.

I welcome arguments against what I believe should be changed; but not, "It shouldn't be changed because the ACBL has decided it is natural and a necessary exception to 3+-cd minors being natural." We already can read that.
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#9 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 19:30

View Postaguahombre, on 2014-July-29, 18:48, said:

You either agree that it should be alerted or you believe the opponents don't deserve the alert.

Please don't try to tell me what I think.
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#10 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 19:39

View Postblackshoe, on 2014-July-29, 19:30, said:

Please don't try to tell me what I think.

I am asking what you think. You either agree it should be changed or you don't. Is it possible to answer that in a thread about possible changing of current regulations? Mycroft, Nige1, and Rik seem to have no problem answering...two of those three being against what I recommend. Those descents, and the reason for them interest me.

If I somehow conveyed the idea that "Either you agree or you don't" is telling you what to think, then one of us is failing the only language I thought I knew.
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#11 User is offline   Siegmund 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 22:06

First time ever that the ACBL includes what the English call an "infelicity" in the Alert regs.

I would prefer to see it simply say you alert unless you promise 3, if we were voting on it. Generally I dislike picky little exceptions in the rules. If 3+ is natural, and we don't alert natural bids but do alert conventions, we just delete the offending sentence entirely, and people start alerting their 2C bids more often.

Obligatory nitpick:

Quote

a Flannery hand with the least common residue


4=5=2=2 is the *most* common Flannery shape, if suit order counts, ahead of 4=5=1=3 or 4=5=3=1 by a ratio of 18:11 on my abacus, and more extreme oddities by much more. Not that that has any bearing on the rest of the argument, really.
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#12 User is offline   biggerclub 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 22:22

View Postaguahombre, on 2014-July-29, 09:58, said:



Not playing Flannery, so 2 might be on 4-5-2-2.

The ACBL Alert Procedure states:

"Opener's rebid of two of a minor over partner's forcing or semi-forcing notrump response to a major does not require an Alert if it shows three or more of the suit bid (4-5-2-2 does not require an Alert as long as responder expects three or more cards in the minor)."

Partner and I so strongly object to this reading that we continue to alert 2 anyway. Nail us if you will.

The premise that responder expects 3 or more cards in clubs is false to begin with. She expects either 3+ or 4-5-2-2 ---a not-rare possibility. The possibility that Opener might have 4-5-2-2 is not trivial to an opponent considering later balancing action over a dead 2H.

IM(not so)HO, the parenthetic portion of the quoted regulation should be dumped and announced to all that it has been dumped.


This came up at my table once against a strong pair. 1, 1N, 2, something that resulted in Opener being dummy. The suit was reasonably strong, but not super strong AJxxx(?). The were A8 (I believe, Ax for sure). Opener claimed he would have preferred 2 with stronger or (much) weaker (xx).

I don't believe that the bid was alerted.

It should be alerted if it can be 2 or less. IMO. Should be 3 but might be 2 with no alert is not satisfying. Much like my partners who insist (playing 2/1) on checking 4+ for expected length. No . . . we regularly and systematically open 1 on 4-4-3-2.
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#13 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 23:08

View Postaguahombre, on 2014-July-29, 19:39, said:

I am asking what you think. You either agree it should be changed or you don't. Is it possible to answer that in a thread about possible changing of current regulations? Mycroft, Nige1, and Rik seem to have no problem answering...two of those three being against what I recommend. Those descents, and the reason for them interest me.

If I somehow conveyed the idea that "Either you agree or you don't" is telling you what to think, then one of us is failing the only language I thought I knew.

Well, here's what I do think: of all the things I'd like to see changed in ACBL regulations, this is very low on the list. The reason for that is that I think too much emphasis is being placed on the possibility of a doubleton club. I haven't worked out the probability, but my guess is it's pretty small. If we have to alert every bid that might have been made on fewer than the number of cards designated for a natural bid, then we're going to have to spend a lot of time going over our systems to find all the possible hands that don't quite fit the system, and where the "least bad bid" is "artificial". And then we're going to have to alert all those times.

I think everyone who's beyond beginner is aware that every system has its holes, and when you pick up a hand that falls into a hole, you just do the best you can with it. I don't think we should be alerting those bids, unless the frequency is pretty high - and if it's that high we should probably be looking for a new system.
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#14 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2014-July-29, 23:54

View Postaguahombre, on 2014-July-29, 10:52, said:

So your position is that the ACBL should just alter the "expectation" wording and keep it a non-alert;

No. My position is that 2 should be alertable when it can be bid on a doubleton.

However, it seems to be the ACBL's position that this should be an exception (probably motivated by the fact that it is a system hole in a very natural and very common system). And my position is that if the ACBL wants to make an exception (e.g. in this case for a 4-5-2-2 distribution) then they should go all the way and be specific about the exception, rather than saying that it is "not alertable as long as partner doesn't expect it".

The way they wrote the regulation is that you and I would have to alert 2, because we know that a 4-5-2-2 hand doesn't have much of a choice, other than to bid 2, whereas someone who plays the exact same system, but is dumb enough to be genuinely surprised every time partner shows up with a 4-5-2-2 does not need to alert it, even though it would be easy to teach them to alert with the explanation: "could be 4-5-2-2". I genuinely dislike the idea that there are different alert rules for two people who play in the same tournament playing the same system.

Rik
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#15 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2014-July-30, 11:36

I'm sorry, I didn't realize this is in "changing regulations." I should read more carefully.

Well, as far as changing the regulation, I didn't really say anything. I did say that it wasn't the best construction in the world, but it is a construction the ACBL commonly uses, and the meaning is obvious from context. As far as whether it should be Alertable, I didn't say anything at all - frankly, I have much bigger fish to fry (the web site tells me that 1M-4M playing Precision, so "5-and-a-singleton or balanced 13-15 or so", even though we don't have to Alert/pre-Alert, or even have our card on the table (okay, so we do have to have our card on the table by regulation. In practise?) is not Alertable because the fact that we could have that hand is a 'negative inference'. There's a lot more than that, frankly, too).

Whether it's artificial or not, it's not considered unexpected enough, common enough, or difficult-to-defend enough to be considered Alertable under normal circumstances. There's a lot of that, and the Alert Chart is confusing enough as it is.
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#16 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2014-July-30, 12:39

View Postmycroft, on 2014-July-30, 11:36, said:

- frankly, I have much bigger fish to fry (the web site tells me that 1M-4M playing Precision, so "5-and-a-singleton or balanced 13-15 or so", even though we don't have to Alert/pre-Alert, or even have our card on the table (okay, so we do have to have our card on the table by regulation. In practise?) is not Alertable because the fact that we could have that hand is a 'negative inference'. There's a lot more than that, frankly, too).

Whether it's artificial or not, it's not considered unexpected enough, common enough, or difficult-to-defend enough to be considered Alertable under normal circumstances. There's a lot of that, and the Alert Chart is confusing enough as it is.

I see a parallel between your concern and mine.

A natural 1M-4M should be alerted as a warning to the opponents that Responder could be strong and competition is fraught with danger.

An artificial 2C rebid should be alerted as a warning to the opponents that competition in Spades might be dangerous.

The size of the fish which needs to be fried doesn't seem to matter; they both require attention.
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#17 User is offline   jeffford76 

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Posted 2014-July-30, 14:43

I wouldn't change this. It is already required to announce a Forcing 1NT, so presumably players are expected to be familiar with what Forcing NT is. Possibly bidding a 2-card club suit is part and parcel of playing the convention.
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#18 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2014-July-30, 18:15

View Postjeffford76, on 2014-July-30, 14:43, said:

I wouldn't change this. It is already required to announce a Forcing 1NT, so presumably players are expected to be familiar with what Forcing NT is. Possibly bidding a 2-card club suit is part and parcel of playing the convention.

That's how I feel, as well.

Back when forcing NT was alerted rather than announced, ACBL also required alerts for opener's followon. In fact, at that time you had to alert his 2minor rebid, so you could explain that it might be only 3, because standard bidders would simply pass the 1NT response if they were 5332. But as the 2/1 system, and the attendant Forcing NT, grew in popularity, ACBL decided that this sequence is so common and so well understood by most players that it's not necessary to alert all the nuances. We alert the forcing NT; most players know from experience how the followons work, or they can figure things out from bridge logic (and novices can ask if they're unsure).

In general, regulators don't like to make the rules reference specific conventions, they prefer to describe things in general terms. So rather than just say "After a 1-1NT(forcing), you don't have to alert 2 if you were forced to bid it with a 4=5=2=2 hand", they tried to come up with a construction that describes the situation more generally. I agree that the way they worded it is poor, but people generally understand that when they say "expect", they mean "bids as if". As one of the early reponses said, if you generally raise with 5 clubs and some values, you're acting as if you expect 3 clubs in opener's hand. If partner shows up with the 4522, you're disappointed -- while he didn't exactly lie, he didn't have the kind of hand you were assuming when you raised.

A similar thing comes up with preemptive bids. Everyone knows that weak 2's can sometimes be bid with only 5 card suit. But partner generally expects 6, and bids accordingly: 3-card support is considered sufficient to increase the prempt, and they'll sometimes do it with even honor doubleton. Few players say to themselves "I have 3-card support, that makes it more likely that partner opened with only 5, so I should be careful"; in fact, their thinking is usually the exact opposite: "Hooray! I have 3-card support, so we probably have a 9-card fit, and the LOTT says it should be safe to go to the 3 level!" If partner shows up with a shorter suit, they're disappointed, but not totally surprised.

It's all these kinds of general understandings about bridge logic and bidding strategy that ACBL has summarized in that one word "expects".

#19 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2014-July-30, 18:26

I understand focussing on what the bidding side expects, and how important/frequent it might be compared to other alert issues.

The peril to the opponents is my concern. That seems to be low priority for others.
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#20 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2014-July-30, 19:14

View Postaguahombre, on 2014-July-30, 18:26, said:

The peril to the opponents is my concern. That seems to be low priority for others.

I see it as a balancing act. We don't want constant alerting in common, everyday bidding sequences.


ACBL decided that this situation is so common and well known that the opponents are unlikely to be damaged by the non-alert. Why do you think the opponents are in any peril?

About the only players who are likely to be confused would be foreign visitors, if 2/1 isn't common in their neck of the woods, and perhaps total newbies. Should the alert system really be designed to cater to the fraction of a percent of times when we're playing against people who are totally unfamiliar with common systems? Then we probably should alert 5-card majors, for the benefit of visitors from Acol-land.

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