[BLML] Illegal signal?

Eric Landau ehaa at starpower.net
Fri Nov 12 17:25:15 CET 2010

On Nov 10, 2010, at 1:40 PM, Marvin French wrote:

> From: "Grattan"
> [Marv] (in re Alarm Clock Signals)
>>> There is no way that it is legal to bar a simple ACS at any level
>>> of
>>> play. I am copying this to Matt Smith for his comments, and to
>>> Bridge Laws Mailing List (BLML) for their comments..
>> +=+ If there is an 'agreement' (sic) then the players must
>> disclose
>> the partnership understanding in the manner prescribed by the RA.
> So there is an agreement to play good bridge, which includes an
> occasional ACS to alert partner that something is expected of
> him/her.
> We should pre-disclose that we play good bridge?. State on the
> converntion card: "Alarm Clock Signals"? Not required in ACBL-land.
>>      If the RA lists such an understanding as a 'special
>> partnership
>> understanding' it may be regulated; this includes the power to ban
>> its use.
> The ACBL controls bidding and play agreements via the Alert
> Procedure and ACBL Convention Charts, the latter controlling
> agreements differently for different levels of play. Neither
> document says anything that would require pre-disclosure of this
> type of signal.
>> I would think it remarkable if this last were the case here but
>> Marv must not be too sweeping in his assertions.
> I don't like to pussy-foot when I am sure of my facts.
>>      It would be interesting to learn more.
> Stay tuned, more  will be forthcoming. I have asked Steve Johnson
> for details on his experience, requesting that he forward them to
> Matt Smith (as Matt requests).

Appalling, isn't it?  Partner does something noticeably peculiar, you  
think to yourself, "Now why did he do that?  Aha!  The only sensible  
reason is that he has... he wants me to...", you play accordingly,  
and it works.  Thoughtfulness and logic triumph again.

But once partner has induced you to take the desired action based on  
pure logic, both of you can be 100% confident that the same result  
can be replicated if the situation arises again, which means you now  
have an implicit partnership understanding, which means you have a  
partnership understanding, which means that there's nothing to stop  
your RA from declaring it a "special" partnership understanding,  
which means you have no recourse if they tell you that you're not  
allowed to do it again.

Perhaps appalling is too weak a word.

Eric Landau
1107 Dale Drive
Silver Spring MD 20910
ehaa at starpower.net

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