Chris Hasney

Another Question for Bobby

This one’s been eating at me since Monday.  I opened 1NT announced as 15-17 by pard.  LHO Doubled.  No alert.  Pard thought for a sec, then redoubled.  RHO bid 2C.  I then asked what double meant.  It was a transfer (Transfer Over No Trump TONT), which is what I suspected knowing the pair against which I was playing.  I then called the Director, who chewed me out for calling him.

In after game discussion with the Director his rationale was that I was giving UI to pard by calling him.  He said I should have kept quiet, continued the auction, played the hand, and then called to ask for remedies after the hand.  He may be right, but that seems screwy, and I’m a certified director, albeit without experience.

Your comments would be appreciated.


LindaJune 26th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I don’t see why you can’t ask what the bid meant in your turn even. I can’t see how calling the director provided any UI. You called the director for protection because the bid wasn’t alerted. I am not sure I would have done that at the time but that is beside the point.

It is usually safest to ask what a double of 1NT means and/or to check the card.

The procedure suggested by the director seems reasonable to me. Calling the director for protection in the middle of the hand is really only necessary when there might be a dispute about the facts (i.e. to establish that there was a hesitation or a failure to alert).

What did you expect the director to do, other than tell you to continue bidding the hand and call him at the end of the play if you felt you were injured?

Bobby WolffJune 26th, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Hi Chris,

Back in tow, at least for 2 days, and trying to be productive, not to mention constructive.

Concerning your calling the director when the opponents were playing TONT which I learned today meant “transfers over the opponent’s NT opening” if you hadn’t called the director you should have been ashamed of yourself.

How dare the director tell you that by calling him you were giving your partner UI. Perhaps you were, but what about the opponents not alerting you to what they were playing. If I was directing I would recommend an immediate procedural penalty (PP) to the opponents for their combination of playing such a thing (OK if alerted properly) and not alerting. Why should you have to parry and thrust to understand what is going on and have to deal with your partner’s redouble when he wasn’t alerted before he made it? Perhaps your partnership style would create a different meaning to what redouble would normally show, but even if it doesn’t, the onus MUST be on the opponent’s for creating this monster.

This proves the following truths:

1. Way too many TD’s do not understand what our game is about and because of it, often tend to mix up the bad guys with the good guys.
2. In this laissez faire approach to let everyone just play the game and allow almost anything to go unpunished we are throwing the baby (representing the game itself) out with the bathwater.
3. Until we adopt a sensible alerting style which I sincerely think is before somewhat unusual conventions and especially “home brew conventions” are allowed the opponents must agree to take on the entire responsibility of reestablishing the status quo for their opponents so that, under NO CIRCUMSTANCE should their opponents be disadvantaged or much less penalized for having to go through the process.
4. A “need to know” should be the battle cry for alerts and whenever something unusual is played, neon sign alerts should accompany that unusual call.
5. Chris, you seem to have more untoward things happen to you than do they happen to others. Perhaps my fierce demeanor and possible wolf howl approach to these problems wards off the bogey man, causing my opponents to mind their P’s and Q’s.

TD’s, the poster children for the game itself, sorely need to get better educated on how to present themselves and also, and most importantly, to be educated on what the goals really are.


Danny KleinmanJune 26th, 2009 at 5:27 pm

The villains in this case, Chris, are the ACBL and the directors who allow themselves to be guided by the proclamations from Memphis. Of course the director who chewed you out should have spoken to you more kindly, even though in my opinion he was technically correct in saying that you should not have inquired about your LHO’s unalerted double of your 1NT opening.

Yes, inquiring about an unalerted call that turns out to have been conventional and thus alertable can convey information to your partner. However, idiotic proclamations from Memphis saying that it is the duty of victims of failures to alert to “protect themselves by inquiring” put you in an intolerable “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. If you ask, you are guilty of transmitting unauthorized information to your partner (namely, that your hand causes you to doubt that the double was a penalty double). If you don’t ask, and your side suffers damage from an opponent’s failure to alert, most ACBL directors nowadays will deny you any redress because you did not perform your “duty to protect yourself.” You have my utmost sympathy.

Chris HasneyJune 27th, 2009 at 12:45 am

Thanks guys. At least now I know I wasn’t completely off base. By the way, if the double had been penalty, which was the thought conveyed by the lack of an alert, my partner’s redouble would have been SOS. But if the double was conventional (which it actually was), the redouble is card showing and strong. So, with the lack of alert our auction is hosed.

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