Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Full Disclosure of Agreements When You Know Partner Has Forgotten?

This past weekend, I came across two bridge laws that may need some change. This first one I guess is more of an ethical question than a bridge law question. I mean, the law that ace asking bids should be announced at the end of the auction, especially if 4NT was not the asking bid, makes sense, but the way it is used sometimes seems unethical. Our opponents had the uncontested auction: 1S-2C-2H-4C-4H-6C-P. Before I lead, the declarer announces that 4C asks for specific aces and 4H shows the ace of hearts but not the ace of diamonds. The play and defense to the hand was irrelevant. He had 12 tricks no matter what, but dummy had QJxxx of hearts and declarer had the ace!

Was it unethical for him to volunteer that information, knowing his partner had not bid correctly or not follwed the agreement, or perhaps the declarer thought they had that agreement but they did not. It's hard to tell whether this is the actual partnership agreement because it's not something that's normally on the cc somewhere and most people don't carry around detailed system notes. You're only supposed to announce or alert or announce failures to alert when you are sure you and your partner have an agreement about what it means, otherwise you say nothing. Anyway, assuming that is their actual agreement, should he say anything at all or should he state their agreement with a little caveat that his partner may have forgotten, or a caveat that maybe he forgot? I'm not sure, and the directors and other top players had very mixed views on this. I know he is well within the ACBL laws to announce the ace-asking bid. In fact, I kind of applaud him for trying to fully disclose their agreements, but in this situation I tend to think nothing should have been said at any point as any explanation given in this situation is likely more misleading than saying nothing or it's giving away too much information about declarer's hand. Fortunately, nothing we did on defense made any difference.

My other little gripe is about the revoke laws. We were defending 5DX and had taken two tricks already and partner still had the boss trump but he ruffed in too early he still had 1 club in hand when he trumped a club. I think any honest player would concede down 1 regardless of what the law is. He doesn't deserve to make 5 with 3 top losers after we our two not big trump winners right away. And isn't the main point of the revoke laws to restore equity, giving the non-offenders the benefit of the doubt and not so much to punish the revoker? Regardless, I think the rule should be changed to disallow someone to lose the top trump. You should not be able to make 7 off the A of trumps just because of a revoke. In this hand, making 4 would be the most that could ever be made, even with revoke trick penaltied. It is kind of similar to the rule that you can't revoke at trick 12. Yes, a player pulled the wrong card or had a card hidden or was thinking ahead, but when there is no line of normal play that could allow declarer to take all the tricks, a revoke should not allow that to happen.


  1. Was it unethical for him to volunteer that information

    No, and, in fact, he's required to. It sounds weird, but those are the rules in ACBL-land.

  2. I am well aware of what the ACBL rules are. They're just kind of absurd sometimes.

    Perhaps it is the dummy who should have spoken up and said he didn't think that was their agreement.

  3. There is an interesting discussion on a very related post on Judy Kay-Wolff's blog, http://judy.bridgeblogging.com/?p=485, and some worthwhile comments on my bridgeblogging page.

  4. Andre, on the revoke law, if it were changed,there are some hand where it would take significant time for the director to decide whether the card one revoked with was a sure trick or not.

  5. Andre, I totally agree on both counts. On the second I know that in bridge you usually win because you make less mistakes than your opp's. However, if all you want is something for nothing I do not want you at my table or on my team.