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Michael Levy

Alerting (or not) ( 18:31:06 FriMar 28 2003 )

Country: UK

Playing at a local club a partnership picks up the following:

A K Q x x x
A Q 9 8 x x

x x x
x x x
K J x x
K x x

The bidding (including opponents) went 2s, p, 3s, p, 4d, x (no alert given), p, p, 4s (the final contract). The doubler was short in diamonds and claimed it was lead directing. Declarer claimed the thought of the diamonds being offside stopped even a small slam being bid and that the (artificial) double should have been alerted. The doubler's partner claimed he was unsure of the meaning of the double. Both defenders are very strong players.

Should the double have been alerted and, if so, what should the penalty be?

Please reply to

Many thanks


Re: Alerting (or not) ( 19:31:30 FriMar 28 2003 )

Country: US

In the US, such a double would never be alerted to the best of my knowledge.

My question would be, why did responder pass over the double instead of (a) redoubling or (b) bidding 5d to confirm control? Surely with kjxx of diamonds, responder could at least have chanced a 5d rebid over opener's signoff.

Or, why not have the auction 2s-3s; 6d (monster 2 suiter in spades and diamond)-7d; 7s?

From where I sit, NS got confused, and confusion often leads to a bad board (shrug), but I can't see where EW has done anything wrong or improper.


17 posts
bridgetalk member

Re: Alerting (or not) ( 20:00:23 FriMar 28 2003 )

This bid is not alerted here in Canada for the most part either. Most declarers would know that it was "lead - directing". If the doubler's partner did not know what the bid meant - probably a new partnership or beginners! If the spade bidder is going to be playing spades or diamonds the double is silly as the doubler will be leading. It appears ( and far be it from me to say anything untoward about the players) that the doubler was trying to throw a monkey wrench into the auction and succeeded royally as the two bidders did not trust and cherish each other. :smile:


427 posts
Forum Host

Re: Alerting (or not) ( 20:19:16 FriMar 28 2003 )

While it is usually unhelpful to discuss the wrong alerting rules, in this case it does not matter: an unalerted double is lead-directing in both England and Wales, and in North America, so if it means something else then it requires an alert in both jurisdictions.

[Note: the original poster said he was from the UK. Scottish and Irish alerting regs are different. Since he did not specify I am assuming England or Wales.]

I think that Henry's post is somewhat unsympathetic to the side who might have been damaged. As South I am sure at the table that it sounds as though North is void in diamonds, and to proceed to the five-level with his load of junk, most of which seems to be waste paper, would be very optimistic. :sad:

Furthermore, his suggested redouble is normally played as first round control, so KJxx does not seem the right holding to redouble! Given the apparent lead-directing double of 5 I believe a lot of pairs would now go wrong.

Perhaps a better approach, rather than criticising N/S's bidding, is to consider first whether there is MI and second whether there is damage.

If the double was lead-directing then it does not require an alert. It is difficult from here to know whether it was lead-directing. True, the player does not seem to have had the correct hand for the call, but that proves nothing.

The TD had to decide whether East-West had an agreement that the double was something other than lead-directing. To be honest the evidence given here suggests to me that they did not have such an agreement. If that is so then there was no MI, and thus no redress would be offered.

Let us suppose that they did have such an agreement, perhaps that a double of 4 shows the other two suits or something. Now South's hand improves dramatically, and I would adjust, perhaps to

.. 15% of 7=
+ 70% of 6+1
+ 15% of 4+3

David Stevenson <>
Liverpool, England, UK

285 posts
bridgetalk member

Re: Alerting (or not) ( 20:39:25 FriMar 28 2003 )

Hmmm... was the doubler telling himself what to lead ?

Perhaps we should reconsider the claim that "the defenders were strong players".



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