Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Sunday, January 12th, 2020


Jeff SJanuary 27th, 2020 at 12:28 am

Hi Bobby,

I have a question about the answer to Ethics in Question. How do I alert the opponents without waking up my partner? If I am reading it right, I make a conventional bid, my partner responds without an alert and I respond as though he was following our convention even if I think he has forgotten it. That all makes sense, but letting the opps in on it while not inadvertently letting my partner know he missed something is where I get a little stuck.


Bobby WolffJanuary 27th, 2020 at 5:18 am

Hi Jeff S,

If and when the partner of a player who made a conventional bid does not alert, his partner has an obligation to follow the convention, including the final bid, by playing partner to have remembered the convention (even though you, when at the table, are reasonably sure your partner has forgotten.

Example: Your partner opens 2NT and you respond 3 spades which, according to your convention card and to you, is a hand with both minors. Your partner does not alert but raises you to 4 spades. You then need to interpret that bid is a very strong response with likely both minors, so that you, have good diamonds and a sound 2NT opening should probably bid 6 diamonds and await developments, If he then returns to 6 spades, you should then play him for a 1st round spade control and a desire for you to bid a grand slam. If he then corrects to 7NT, you, of course, cannot help passing.

BTW, while not saying a word during the bidding, you should then tell the opponents what your convention meant with your partner possibly (or likely) forgetting, but not during the auction.

IOW, you need to theoretically. at the very least, get the worst of what may happen, but if, in fact you luck out, you are entitled to keep your score.

No one wants that to happen, except, of course, your partnership, but sometimes luck just takes control and everyone needs to accept it.

If you think about the above, you will realize that to do anything different, like immediately award an adjusted score, while possibly being a more just verdict, it takes away the game as such, which has always allowed for genuine fixes, that being a good example of one.

Jeff SJanuary 27th, 2020 at 5:12 pm

Ah, thank you. I realized you have to follow the bidding disaster to its natural conclusion, but was unclear about when to alert the opponents who would probably be either confused or gleeful depending on whether they twigged to what was happening on their own.