Paul Cronin


A situation came up at the club today on the following partial auction

RHO     Me     LHO     Partner

 1         2     3       3

I alerted partner’s 3 call, and later in the auction LHO asked me to explain same.

When I explained it as “a diamond raise denying the A or K”, LHO remarked that partner’s call was not alertable, and RHO added that it shouldn’t be alerted as the alert might “wake up partner”.

Leaving aside the issue of whether or not opponents should be telling other players at the table what is or isn’t alertable,  most players at the club do not look at their opponents’ convention cards, and would not be aware of the meaning of the 3 call. That puts me in the position of having information that they do not have, and

even if the ACBL does not require an alert (is this true?)

even if opponents should look at my convention card but don’t

I believe I have an obligation to alert them as to the 3 call.

Opinions on this will be appreciated!


LarryJuly 10th, 2016 at 3:59 am

Seems that you re plying the Rosenkranz Double. Both the double and the raise are alertable.

Larry, ACBL Club Director

bobbywolffJuly 10th, 2016 at 8:42 pm

Hi Paul,

Believe it or not, I do not know whether that call is technically alertable or not, but, at the very least, assuming the opponents buy the hand, the partner of the 3 diamond bidder needs to alert his interpretation of what he thinks their understanding means.

Bridge is very unique, meaning the ethics of which are difficult to pinpoint, however such a disclosure of denial of the ace or king of diamonds needs to be made. And that would be such if only the person himself who bid 3 diamonds asked his partner to leave the table, not necessarily in the laws and I think is not.

By doing so the Active Ethics of that situation are honored. Of course, if one player or the other forgot the meaning of that call and because of that the declarer went wrong in the play, an adjustment needs to be made if damages are suggested.

All the above is pure conjecture, but to do it any other way is a total affront to the game we play and I fervently hope that any experienced TD or, of course committee to follow, would interpret it that same way, and if not bridge jurisprudence should hang its head in shame.

It is not only no good which would come from an opposite ruling, it would lead to all kinds of intended transgressions by the evil side of players, leading us into the devil’s workshop.

PROPER BRIDGE RULES MATTER even if they have to be promulgated individually by experienced and ethical players who CARE!

Thanks Paul for having the bridge intelligence to bring up something which could indeed be very controversial between players seeking as honest a game as we can create, as opposed to those who, stuck on horrible and incomplete laws, continue to bow down to them, instead of revolting against.

Paul CroninJuly 10th, 2016 at 9:19 pm

Hi Larry & Bobby,

Thanks for your comments – greatly appreciated!

I firmly believe that players have an obligation to protect their opponents whenever they may have information their opponents do not have, and are entitled to have. This doesn’t mean that an opening bid of 1H should be alerted, because the meaning of bids like that are so well understood and in such common practice that they need no explanation. But there are many cases, especially where inferential bids are concerned. where opponents are not likely to know the meaning of the bid. For example, the ACBL requires an alert for the Rosenkranz double, but not for its inferential partner the simple raise. In my opinion, both should be alerted.

Jeff LehmanJuly 16th, 2016 at 4:11 pm

I don’t know whether the raise is alertable (as Larry says) or not (as Paul says).

As a matter of expediency and the avoidance of interruption to the players, the ACBL general mantra of not alerting bids that have inferential meanings (such as Pass in a support double situation) has my support. Not so sure about that for this particular auction, as well, to add another auction, say one where a cue bid overcall is not Michaels but rather is top-and-bottom or the like. Well, matters are definitely different for events not held behind screens where written explanations to screenmate is common.

Having said that I generally support ACBL mantra about not alerting inferential bids, I should note that players who become declarers should absolutely explain the inferences of their side’s bidding before the opening lead is made. But if the inferential auction is by players on defense …?

The word “ethics” suggests a harsher treatment for one who does not alert, especially if an alert is not required. But I completely understand and support your concern about disclosure to the opponents.

I think at the table I would (perhaps unwisely, and illegally) alert — without regard to what the laws say … but maybe not against players whom I am pretty sure do not care about the impact of such disclosure.

Bobby WolffSeptember 26th, 2016 at 6:02 pm

Hi Jeff,

No doubt, you have succinctly explained the problem with technical conventions and the ambiguity which follows about the alert of them.

As it stands now, I agree with you as to your
practical application of alerting some but not others since the ACBL continues to straddlle
the line in interpretation, to me, the worst possible interpretation, since it continues to give even more power and thus evil motives to any and every one who wants them.

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