[BLML] Agreement or no agreement? That is the question.

Jean-Pierre Rocafort jean-pierre.rocafort at meteo.fr
Wed Dec 15 15:36:18 CET 2010

Jerry Fusselman a écrit :
> On Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 8:57 AM, Eric Landau wrote:
>> Yes, at least in the ACBL.  There was a case at an NABC not long ago
>> in which an adjusted score was awarded to a player who had been given
>> an incorrect explanation of his opponents' partnership agreement as
>> to the meaning of a bid by declarer, but one which happened to
>> correctly describe declarer's actual hand, and was able to claim
>> successfully that had he had the correct explanation, notwithstanding
>> that it would have misled him as to declarer's actual holding, he
>> would have chosen a more successful opening lead.
> Does anyone recall which case this was?

i have an indistinct recollection it involved an italian pair but no 
more. there is a reference to a similar case in perth, described by e. 

Text of a letter from Edgar Kaplan to Mr. Krishnan, Oct 8, 1989.

Dear Mr. Krishnan,
  Here is the explanation I promised you of that ruling in Perth. The
facts are these. The eventual declarer explained to her screenmate,
who would be the opening leader, that her response to Exclusion
Blackwood promised one Ace;declarer did indeed hold one ace,
but her Blackwood response, as correctly explained on the other
side of the screen actually promised zero (or three) aces by
partnership agreement. Slam was bid and opening leader chose
not to lead a singleton, which would have defeated the contract.
  It is easy and tempting to reason that nothing was wrong - after all,
opening leader was correctly told the number of aces in declarer's
hand, so what harm was done? That reasoning may be common
sense but it ignores bridge law. Common morality may require
declarer to reveal, without deceit, what she holds, but bridge law
requires something quite different: declarer must give her opponent
an accurate explanation of the partnership agreement. She didn't,
of course - it is inevitable that a player who forgets her agreement
behind a screen will break the law by giving a mistaken explanation.
She will be morally blameless, since she explains in all honesty and
good faith, but what the law demands of the explanation is not
good faith, the law demands accuracy.
  Declarer's inaccurate though honest explanation was, therefore, an
infraction of law. That is enough to determine the director's ruling,
since information about aces obviously might affect the decision
whether or not to lead a singleton. The Committee's ruling is
determined by its answer to this entirely unrealistic hypothetical
question: how likely is it that the opening lead would have been
different had the opening leader been given the accurate
explanation (no aces) instead of the honest and inaccurate
explanation (one ace)? The Committee in Perth was far from
convinced that the one-ace explanation would have induced the
singleton lead (had it been convinced, it would have adjusted the
score to six down one), but it judged the change of lead to be a
small but reasonable possibility. Accordingly the Committee
awarded the adjusted score of 3 imps, "average plus" to the
innocent team.
  Note that the strange circumstances of this case arose only because of 
a screen procedure, where a player explains her own bid: thus, the 
absurd requirement that she give an accurate explanation of an agreement 
she has honestly forgotten. The closest analogy in normal bridge, 
without screens, is the position in which you know that your partner has 
made a mistaken bid. Suppose he opens four clubs, which is supposed to 
show a strong heart opening with at least a semi-solid suit, when you 
hold S. A x x H. KQJ x x D. J 10 x.x.x C void. It is obvious from your 
cards that he has forgotten the agreement, so you intend to pass him 
right there. First though, your right-hand opponent asks about the four 
clubs bid. Your explanation must be "Strong four hearts opening with a 
very good heart suit". That is, your obligation under bridge law is to 
describe your partnership agreement, not your partner's hand. That legal 
obligation remains the same when, behind screens, you must explain your 
own action.
I hope this now makes at least a little sense to you.
                                           Edgar Kaplan.
Oct. 8th 1989.
> Jerry Fusselman

Jean-Pierre Rocafort
42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis
31057 Toulouse CEDEX
Tph: 05 61 07 81 02      (33 5 61 07 81 02)
Fax: 05 61 07 81 09      (33 5 61 07 81 09)
e-mail: jean-pierre.rocafort at meteo.fr

Serveur WWW METEO-France: http://www.meteo.fr

More information about the Blml mailing list