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Wrong Explanation ( 09:41:42 TueDec 3 2002 )

Pairs game in an English club. Game all, dealer West:

9 8 7 5
A 8 6 3
Q 6
A J 6

A Q J T 6
J T 7 5 4 K 9
K J T 9 8 4 A 7 3 2
3 T 7 4

K 4 3 2
Q 2
K Q 9 8 5 2

P P P 1C

The 2NT bid was alerted. North asked the meaning before bidding and was told that it was 2 unspecified suits. After the bidding and before the lead West explained that the 2NT bid, in their system, showed a 2 suiter in Diamonds and Hearts. East/West did not have a completed convention card.

South was the playing director at the club. He said there would be no problem unless there was damage caused. East made 10 tricks.
North claims that if he knows the 2 specified suits their methods are that he would bid 3 Hearts to show values and support for clubs. After this start they would allow East/West to play in a diamond part score undoubled. South, as playing director said he would ask for an independent ruling.

I would appreciate your views on how to rule. If an adjusted score is appropriate, what should it be?

Thanks in anticipation of your help,


James Vickers

Re: Wrong Explanation ( 17:18:28 TueDec 3 2002 )

North is entitled to a correct explanation of the opponent's methods. This he has not received, and so he is entitled to redress if he has been damaged by the misinformation. However, I would not entertain every claim for damage following misinformation.

North's claim for damage seems to be:

(i) As West's suits are not defined, a cue-bid is unavailable, so his choices are restricted to p, X (and possibly 3C).

(ii) If the suits had been defined he could have cue-bid to show values and support, presumably transfering the responsibility for doubling the final contract to partner.

My argument with this is that by taking the option of doubling on the first round, he has surely conveyed the information about his values to partner, so the second double is entirely on his own head and really has nothing to do with the misinformation. And if he tries to make any beef about his "support for partner", well he doesn't really have much more than tolerance for his partner's possible four-card suit, so I'm not too convinced about that line either.

I'm not convinced that the misinformation really made any difference to the final result, North should have taken heed of partner's pass over 3D. My ruling is: score stands, lecture to EW for forgetting / misexplaining their system (procedural penalty if they make a habit of this).


James Vickers

Re: Wrong Explanation ( 18:47:06 TueDec 3 2002 )

When writing the above, I had assumed that the original explanation of "any two-suiter" is legal for a passed hand, but I have just checked the Orange Book and found this is not the case (at least up to level 4 competitions). As this explanation was incorrect (or is assumed to be), I don't think this makes any difference, but I'm not certain. North is claiming to have been damaged by an explanation of an agreement that the opponents are not allowed to play in any case.



427 posts
Forum Host

Re: Wrong Explanation ( 18:53:48 TueDec 3 2002 )

The reason that "any two-suiter" is not allowed [and it is not even allowed at Level 4] is precisely because of this problem. If the pair was playing it that way, the board should be cancelled, and Ave+/Ave- given.

However, it seems more likely that it was misinformation, and this was the primary cause of the bad result. I would certainly adjust for E/W. However, North's final double is so awful as to be considered "wild or gambling" [probably both!] so I might consider a split score: N/S keep their score, adjust to some number of clubs for E/W.

David Stevenson <>
Liverpool, England, UK
James Vickers

Re: Wrong Explanation ( 14:25:20 WedDec 4 2002 )

Hi David. When the phrase "wild and gambling" is used, it is to indicate that the chosen action was so bad that it has "broken the link of causality between the misinformation and the damage". My concern here (and in many other situations) is that there was never any such link to break. This is why I would not adjust for either side.

Do you really believe North is willing to venture to the four level at game all, pairs, on a possible 4-3 fit with barely the balance of the high-card points? This is what his claim implies. It seems to me more as if North is trying to dig himself out of a hole once he has seen he has made a poor decision.

I had to rule on an incident at a recent county teams tournament. I don't remember the exact hand, or the vulnerability, but it was something like:

KQx / Ax / AKQxx / xxx

After: (3C) - p - (3H) - ?

our man came in with 4D, then claimed damage after being left in, making eight tricks, when he discovered that the 3H bid was non-forcing (in which case it should have been alerted).

He tried to claim he would have doubled with the correct information, and that he only bid because he thought 3H was forcing. I was not convinced, as the forcing nature of the auction does not afford him any protection from 4DX-lots when he has made the wrong decision, and bidding 4D is quite likely to be wrong whatever the forcing nature of the opponents' auction. I am not happy that failure to alert in such cases opens the door to all manner of damage claims, especially as plaintiff and I seemed to be the only people in the room who were aware that the bid required an alert. (The ruling was appealed, TD's decision upheld.)

So in short, wild and gambling actions notwithstanding, the claim for damage has to be credible.

Is my line of thinking here reasonable, or totally out-of-line?



427 posts
Forum Host

Re: Wrong Explanation ( 19:23:04 ThuDec 5 2002 )

I believe you are completely right in the example you gave, James. The 4D bid is not based on the misinformation so there is no reason to adjust. :smile:

But in the example that started this thread, I believe that there is at least a reasonable possibility that if 2NT was explained as two specific suits the next player would have cue-bid, thus that side were damaged by the misiniformation. Thus the offenders did gain from the misinformation and thus the result should be adjusted.

As explained earlier, since the later action was so awful, I would not adjust for the other side: not because there was no damage, but because the later action was wild or gambling. :sad:

David Stevenson <>
Liverpool, England, UK

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