[BLML] Misinformation and UI - Law 16B opinions?

Nigel Guthrie nigel.guthrie41 at virginmedia.com
Tue Dec 29 18:46:30 CET 2009

IMO, Harald is right. In Sven's hypothetical auction, unless partner's
pass of 2D is alerted, it is natural, suggesting a place to play. You 
have already shown 5+ hearts, have no extra length, and no honour in
the suit. With 3 cards to an honour in diamonds, most players would pass
2DX. Unfortunately, however, directors are loth to go against the spirit
of the 2007 laws. This leaves the law-abiding to suffer.

[Herman De Wael]
I understand the emotion, but I feel it is unwarrented. The fact that 
you're in murky waters is AI to you. If partner then does something that 
suggests quite clearly that he has a different idea, the info that he 
has understood differently becomes quite strong.
Rather, I would not hesitate calling a person a cheat who, knowing he is
in murky waters, but holding 6 diamonds and 1 heart (and having opened
1NT anyway) would alert and pass. THAT is the person who is giving UI to
It is not fair to compare this case with one of a pair who obviously
know what they are doing, and who alert and pass. Sure, that can be done
with one of the hands Harald suggests (with 2 hearts and 5 top
diamonds), but it will also be done knowing that partner will take out
again to 2H holding six hearts and 1 diamond. That is a bid that only
occurs in pairs who really know what is going on, who are on firm
ground. As this pair was (apparently) not on fair ground, it is not fair
to ask them to make the same bidding sequence.
I maintain that passing is not a LA for a pair who are not on firm ground.

I understand Herman's emotions but feel they are over-sympathetic. The 
problem is that alerts and non-alerts provide obvious unauthorised 
information of which players take advantage, often subconsciously.
Alain points out and Herman seems to agree that, had 2D been alerted, 
the pass would show a willingness to play there. QED.

I also disagree with Herman about who is a "cheat". It is certainly not 
the player who alerts 2D, knowing he is in murky waters, having opened 
1N with five or six diamonds and a singleton or doubleton heart. As I 
understand current laws, a player *should* alert his partner's call if 
it may be conventional, even if he's unsure. Herman has got it back to 
front. If a player knows the law and deliberately fails to alert a bid 
that may be conventional, then he may be a cheat.

A similar quandary is faced by victims of "Guessed-em". Ostensibly, the
law-breakers don't know what they're doing -- although they usually land
on their feet. Furthermore, the long-suffering victims must pussyfoot 
around, avoiding actions that the director, in his wisdom, may consider
"wild and gambling", to retain any chance of redress.

Again, something I differ in opinion. I know that my partner sometimes
forgets which 2 suits are given by a Ghestem - but she never forgets
that a bid is Ghestem. That is AI to me. So when she passes my Ghestem,
I know she has a stack of them, but when she bids the fourth suit, I
cater for the possibility that she has once again forgotten. That is
behind screens, and I don't see why the same should not apply F2F.

Herman is right about the way the law works in practice. "Guessed-em" 
players usually manage to recover from forgetting. Herman's partner is 
indeed above suspicion. I suspect, however, that some ordinary cives 
Romani benefit from alerts and non-alerts.

I was highlighting the handicap that daft laws impose on the other side, 
The putative victims suspect an infraction, but have to suppress their 
normal flamboyant bidding tendencies for fear that they may scandalise 
the director into denying them redress. Then, if the director decides 
that opponents were innocent or their victims weren't harmed, then they 
just have to live with their mediocre timorous result.

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