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

Herman De Wael Hermandw at skynet.be
Wed Dec 30 10:23:15 CET 2009

Nigel Guthrie wrote:
> [Nige2]
> 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.

Not at all. I agree that if a pair are on terra firma (and 2D gets 
alerted), then pass shows a willingness to play there. But for a pair 
that are not on firm ground, pass shows partner has taken the different 
Put a screen in there and ask yourself what the pass means. Surely one 
is allowed to use the (AI) knowledge that one is on firm ground or not.
So the pass will mean different things to different pairs.
Leave the screen and put yourself on the other side. Would you, when 
knowing you are not on firm ground, dare to pass? Of course you would, 
but would you not expect partner to run to 2H if doubled? Just because 
he is unsure?
And that is why I believe what I wrote further on: for a pair, not on 
firm ground, to alert and pass, is to employ UI to get the message accross.

> 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.

So you act this way? Your partner makes a call, of which you are unsure 
of the meaning? You need to make a new call, but your meaning depends on 
what he thinks you understood the previous call as? So you alert, 
clarifying (to him) what you understood his call as, and so he 
understands yours.
Well, you may act this way, but I don't. And I don't hesitate calling 
you a cheat.

> [Nige1]
> 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.
> [Herman]
> 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.
> [Nige2]
> 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.

Of course they do - and we should try to find out if they did. But we 
should also keep an eye on clues that are there and that would result in 
the same info being passed in a legal way - such as the calls being made.

> 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.

I don't understand this - should you not always bid as if your opponents 
are telling you the truth? I don't see how you can turn this from 
"possible offenders get away with possible use of UI" to "opponents are 


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