It'll be, better than before, yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone.
-- Fleetwood Mac
There's an interesting thread at Judy Kay-Wolff's blog, titled "ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR (but not BRIDGE)":
I've disagreed with Judy, who has argued that you have to alert if the opponents might otherwise assume something. Here is my latest comment on the subject:
Here are some examples of style not having to be alerted in today's ACBL:
1) Your opponent opens 1H in first seat with 5432 of hearts - they play four card majors, suit quality not important - 1H here is not alertable
2) Your opponent opens 1C which promises 5 or longer clubs - 1C here is not alertable
3) Your opponent opens a weak two with only 5 in the major, 4 in the other major (opening does not promise the other major) - 2H here is not alertable
4) Your opponent passes S KQJ9xx H --- D 432 C 5432, even though they play weak twos (passing since holding a void) - pass here is not alertable
5) Your opponent bids 2NT over their partner's weak two - in their methods this bid shows exactly a game invite in opener's suit - 2NT here is not alertable
6) Your opponent passes, and then overcalls your 1C bid with 1NT to show the majors - 1NT here is not alertable.
7) Your opponent responds 1S to 1C with 5432 of spades and seven solid diamonds - 1S here is not alertable.
8) Your opponent opens 1S, and over their partner's 1NT response, bids 2C, showing 2+Cs - 2C here is not alertable.
You may wish that one or more of these would be alertable, but yesterday's ACBL is gone.
The reason for this change was twofold:
- if you force the alerting of style, you end up with far too many alerts;
- if you make alerting necessary when a style is not close to standard, you have to define standard first, which varies depending on location and skill levels.
Style differences are not "secret pacts", but just agreements to play natural, or almost natural bids not the way you may play them. They are secret to you only if you choose to assume everybody plays one way only and decide not to ask.
Now let's look at the negative inference from support doubles, using the example auction 1C-P-1S-2H;-P (our 1C opening and 1S response, and a 2H overcall).
Today's ACBL is clear: pass, a natural call, is not alertable. If instead you want to play pass is alertable, denying 3Ss, do you then:
- force partnerships to alert if pass 95% denies 3Ss (using an optional support double approach)?
- force partnerships to alert if pass 90% denies 3Ss (not using support doubles, but usually raises to 2S or higher with 3Ss)?
- force partnerships to alert if pass 85% denies 3Ss, using 2S to show 3Ss not 3-3-3-4, or 4Ss flat)?
Yesterday's ACBL guidelines were a mess generating a proliferation of alerts. In today's ACBL if they alert, there's something you need to be aware of.
Since style is generally not alertable, how do you find out what your opponents are doing or not doing? Three ways:
1) Review the convention cards of your opponents;
2) Ask at your turn to bid;
3) Ask at the end of the auction, at the appropriate time.
If you haven't looked at the convention card of the opponents, do not assume your style is their style just because there are no alerts.
-- Please post any comments on this at Judy's blog --