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Alerting (in England) ( 12:21:32 MonNov 11 2002 )

A discussion has uncovered a difference of opinion with a friend over applying the English alerting procedures where calls are natural but their meaning is affected by other calls available.

Example 1: Partner opens 1H, RHO overcalls 1S, you bid 3H pre-emptively and would bid 2S with a limit raise in hearts. Is 3H alertable?

Example 2: You open 1H, LHO overcalls 1S, partner responds 2D, RHO bids 2S. Now you play a 'good-bad' 2NT, with 2N asking partner to bid 3C and a rebid from you of 3D or 3H being purely competitive. So should you alert a direct 3D or 3H as showing more than going via 2NT?

Example 3: You open 1H, partner responds 1S, RHO overcalls 2C. You play a double as showing exactly 3 spades, so should you alert a raise to 2S as guaranteeing 4-card support?


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Re: Alerting (in England) ( 15:03:46 MonNov 11 2002 )

The regulation in question is

Quote: EBU Orange book 1998

5.2 Basic Rules
5.2.1 You must alert a call if
(a) it is not 'natural' (see 5.3).
(b) it is natural, but you have an agreement by which it is forcing or non-forcing in a way that your opponents are unlikely to expect.
(c) it is natural, but its meaning is affected by other agreements which your opponents are unlikely to expect.

The wording of (c) which is what you are querying was designed to suggest that a fairly normal treatment does not need an alert.

Let us look at your examples.
Example 1 seems to be easy since it is quoted in the Orange book - see 5.4.3(f). It is not alertable.

However! :rolleyes:

Several people have been extremely rude about that item, and it has probably got more bad press than anything else in alerting. I suggest alerting it would be a good idea: too many people think the Committee got that one wrong.

Examples 2 and 3 are borderline. Quite frankly there is a case for alerting in each case, probably more so in Example 3 than Example 2, because in Example 2 other bids show strong hands with or without the good-bad approach. Even in Example 3 you could ask "Do they really not expect this?"

To be honest, I think all three examples are fairly borderline! :embarrassed:

David Stevenson <>
Liverpool, England, UK
[James Vickers]

Re: Alerting (in England) ( 16:43:46 ThuNov 14 2002 )

Further to example 2: The Orange Book does specifically require an alert for a natural suit response to a take-out double where this guarantees certain values. Many players use a version of Lebensohl in this situation:

(2S) - X - (p) - ?

2NT shows a weak hand, 3 of a suit natural with ~7-11 pts. All are alertable.

Your example 2 is so similar to this situation (the "good / bad 2NT" is really just a variant of Lebensohl) I think it requires an alert.

To example 3, I was recently asked whether responses to Crowhurst (or Checkback Stayman) are alertable if they deny certain holdings in the major suits. E.g.:

1D - 1S
1NT - 2C*

1NT shows 12-16, 2C is an asking bid. Opener is expected to bid 2/3S with 3-card support and min/max, 2/3H with four hearts and min/max, otherwise 2D/2NT with min/max.

I think that with the possible exception of 2D none of these meanings will come as a surprise to the opponents and so should not be alerted. I was told by a senior EBU TD at the Brighton Congress that 2NT should definately be alerted. I remain unconvinced. It may deny four hearts, but then so does 1D - 1NT, and no-one makes a fuss about alerting that bid.



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