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Subject: ethics question rss

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Rahul Chandra
Canada
St. John's
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East deals. The auction begins:

W - E
-- - 2NT
6D - 6H - (X)
7D

2NT is 20-21, East is known to not like opening 1NT with a 5-card major (tendencies for 2NT unknown). East thinks for a while and says "transfer" before bidding 6H.

West's hand:
K9xx
-
KT98xxx
7x


Do you consider West's 7D bid ethical? Does the answer change if there is no double?

My thoughts:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
While West shouldn't know about the "transfer", I don't consider passing a logical alternative. East's balanced hand will not lead to better than a 5-0 fit, 6-0 if there is an aberration, and the known dislike for 1NT with 5 cards in a major makes that even less likely. The 7-2 diamonds should be better, especially considering West's hand is basically worthless outside of a diamond contract unless some other things work out (diamond support, spade fit etc.) . If West had 3-4 hearts instead of spades then I think the 7D is unethical without the double, unsure with the double.
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Larry Levy
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I agree, although if this happened in Duplicate play, I'd expect the director to be called over to officially rule on it. But no rational player would pass 6H opposite a void following a no trump opener. Even without the declaration of "transfer", I would think it's obvious what has happened and correcting to diamonds can't be dependent on the additional information. The only possible reason to pass would be that players are supposed to bend over backwards not to take advantage of situations like this one, but I think that might be taking things too far.
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Ben Bateson
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What are the rules for announcing? I don't think they include transfers at the six level, do they?

East should have alerted rather than opening his mouth.
 
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Kelly Krieble
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Having been out of duplicate for a while, have the rules changed? Does E have to announce "transfer" without the opponents asking for clarification FIRST??

In other words, E is offering the answer to a question that hasn't been asked.

I'm in the "West must pass" camp.

In any event, it seems like either E or W seem to have forgotten their transfer convention, so they should be punished for being dumb.
 
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Cyrus the Great
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ousgg wrote:
What are the rules for announcing? I don't think they include transfers at the six level, do they?

Actually, they do, at least in ACBL land:
ACBL Alert Chart wrote:
State “Transfer” any time a diamond response to a natural NT bid at any level is a transfer to hearts.

I don't know about the EBU, though.

I personally agree that pass is not a LA, regardless of the double.
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David Goldfarb
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I've never heard of anyone agreeing to play transfers at the 6-level. Regardless, there is just no hand that opens a natural notrump bid that also makes hearts a playable strain when responder is void, so pulling is fine.
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Rahul Chandra
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Larry Levy wrote:
I agree, although if this happened in Duplicate play, I'd expect the director to be called over to officially rule on it.


I was West here. After the auction I explained what had happened and asked if the opponents wanted to call the director, they did not*. Note that I can't call during the auction, only afterwards as declarer or after the hand if I end up on defence.

After the game I did talk to the director as well as some other directors, two said I was fine and the third said I had to pass, but couldn't justify it - just a half-remembered incident from the past.

dr_divot wrote:

I'm in the "West must pass" camp.

In any event, it seems like either E or W seem to have forgotten their transfer convention, so they should be punished for being dumb.


Mistakes are their own punishment! (Playing with a first-time partner in a club game, it's a bonus if we get to discuss bidding over opponent's 1NT, let alone 2NT -> minor slam sequences.)

Thanks for all the replies. The third director's dissenting vote made me want to look more closely at the Laws, and then I thought it might be a fun straw poll.

Results? 7D makes (despite South's "I guess I should have doubled that too" , no other pairs are even in 6. Some 3NT+4 and some 5D +2, one 6C -3 from a bidding mishap. East's hand:

A Q 6
A 8 6
A 5 4 3
A K 8


*Looks like I "should" call but "must" explain (Law 75B) so that was just barely OK, we were following a slow pair so we all wanted to try to catch up.
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Brian Bankler
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Here's how you should think about it.

Pretend that there was no alert or announcement, what would 6H have meant?

Possibility 1) "I don't want to play diamonds, let's play hearts."

Not a logical interpretation. A 1 (or 2) NT opener is not captain unless responder specifically asks a question. (If partner is a novice then yes, this may come into play).

Possibility 2) "I have a super amazeballs hand and your bid has officially strengthened my hand above its original declared range."

This is similar to 1N-2D*(transfer)-3H (instead of 2H). It's odd to do that at the six level, so "Super amazeballs" should mean more controls than as well as points, but this at least seems to be reasonable.

Partner may be looking for a grand slam and deciding between 7D and 7N or maybe 6H or 6N instead of 6D.

Possibility 3) Partner is a loon.

WINNER. But not really helpful.

OK, so we've bid 6D and partner has pulled to 6H either because he's looking for a higher scoring contract (or insane).

So, given that I think 7D is a reasonable (LA). You don't like hearts, you don't like 6N.

However, I think the right bid is 6 SPADES.

1) You didn't bid stayman. Partner should expected 3 good spades (or maybe four OK ones). At matchpoints, this may be the good place to play. If partner shows up with AQxx of spades and Ax of diamonds (and Ax of clubs) 6S is actually a much better contract.

2) 6D was somewhat greedy with only 7 diamonds. I don't like 6N (as compared to 6D) but after I've bid 6D then 6S if partner bids 6N he's going to expect basically no help in the other two suits. Of course, he's going to expect more in the pointed ones, but c'est la vie. There's an argument for pulling 6N to 7D, but I think you need an 8th diamond to do it.

The problem with 6S is that partner may be deciding between 7D and 7N, and then you really dont' want to encourage him, but even allowing "2" I can't imagine that partner is hunting between 7D and 7N. You didn't ask his input. I think he's aiming for 6N, so I warn about clubs.

Of course, I don't think 7D can be ruled against just that 6S is a surprising Lawful Alternative. But since its an impossible auction (alerted or not) nobody has ever discussed it.

As for "Well, two directors said A and one said B," par for the course.
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Brian Bankler
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Bankler wrote:
But since its an impossible auction (alerted or not) nobody has ever discussed it.

In fact, now that I think about this reminds me of a (fictional) auction from "The Principal of Restricted Talent," where a player accidentally passes a 16 count and then partner opens 1N and then has to move forward.
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Ben Bateson
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Bankler wrote:
Bankler wrote:
But since its an impossible auction (alerted or not) nobody has ever discussed it.

In fact, now that I think about this reminds me of a (fictional) auction from "The Principal of Restricted Talent," where a player accidentally passes a 16 count and then partner opens 1N and then has to move forward.



I would pass that West hand in first seat at equal vulnerabilities.
 
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Ben Bateson
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Renaissance Man wrote:
ousgg wrote:
What are the rules for announcing? I don't think they include transfers at the six level, do they?

Actually, they do, at least in ACBL land:
ACBL Alert Chart wrote:
State “Transfer” any time a diamond response to a natural NT bid at any level is a transfer to hearts.

I don't know about the EBU, though.

I personally agree that pass is not a LA, regardless of the double.


OK, that's fine. But if you need to go into the tank before announcing...surely that defeats the whole point of the announce rule?

If East needed to think, then a Transfer announcement was surely wrong on any level?
 
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Hilda Lirsch
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I agree with Brian Bankler. Pass is not a logical alternative. Of the two logical alternatives - 6S and 7D - 6S is the ethical call, the logical alternative contra-suggested by the unauthorized information.
 
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Russell InGA
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Bidder cannot hear his partner's Alert/Announce (right or wrong)

6H over 6D (without transfers at 6 level) is certainly a forward going bid probably showing the AH.

7D is an LA. Pass is really not.
 
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