[BLML] (2017) Lack of Mutual Agreement

Eric Landau ehaa at starpower.net
Mon Apr 23 15:23:20 CEST 2012

On Apr 21, 2012, at 9:25 AM, Robert Frick wrote:

> I would like the following to be clarified. Players agree on a  
> system or
> convention by name, but do not have the same understanding. The  
> opponents
> of course are entitled to the mutual understanding. Are they  
> entitled to
> either of the person understandings?
> Richard Hills has suggested the following; Tony Musgrove also rules  
> this
> way. I would not make the laws this way, but there is nothing  
> particularly
> bad about this idea, and the important thing is just to clarify the
> situation.
> "When players agree on a system or convention by name, opponents are
> entitled to know only about the mutual understanding; they are not
> entitled to information about personal understandings. The correct  
> answer
> concerning personal explanations is no agreement."

In real life, what Robert calls "personal understandings" are in fact  
what a player incorrectly believes to be partnership understandings.

> For example, players agree on RKCB, but one player thinks that 5  
> hearts
> shows the queen of the agreed suit and 5 Spades denies it; his  
> partner has
> the reverse understanding.

And, critically, neither is aware that the other's "personal  
understanding" is different from his own.

> When opponents are given the wrong information,
> the director rectifies for what would have happened had the  
> opponents been
> told "no agreement".

Correct.  That is what should, and, hopefully, does, happen.

> Or, one player thinks that they do not have an agreement on whether 5
> Hearts and 5 Spades then when asked if 5 Spades says anything about
> queens, he responds "no agreement". This is a correct answer.

He responds no such thing, because he is unaware that it is the  
"correct answer"; we reach this situation because he incorrectly  
believes that his "personal understanding" is mutual.

What Robert overlooks is that the laws do not presume that the  
correct answer is the one that the player is "expected" to give -- if  
that were true, we wouldn't have these problems.  "The director  
rectifies for what would have happened had the opponents been told X"  
does not require or imply that the infractor was capable, much less  
expected, to tell the opponents X at the time of the inquiry.

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

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