Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Psyching a XX (bridge)

During a recent BBO ACBL speedball, I psyched a XX with 1 HCP on an auction that went:


The director was called and ruled against me, saying that the psyche was illegal. I mentioned that psyching a redouble is certainly not an uncommon psyche, and the reply was that this was a GCC event. I then looked up the GCC which says, "Psyching of artificial or conventional opening bids and/or conventional
responses thereto. Psyching conventional suit responses, which are less
than 2NT, to natural openings."

I started a thread on the Bridgebase forums: and it brought up a couple of interesting points.

1. The director was under the impression that 1C promised 2+, which made it "conventional". My partner and I play standard convenient minor openings so I don't know where that came from. Anyway, this director cited from the ACBL active ethics page: "The latest version of the Laws of Duplicate Bridge defines a convention as a call that, by partnership agreement, conveys a meaning other than willingness to play in the denomination named (or in the last denomination named), or high-card strength or length (three cards or more) there." I don't see how 1C promising 2+ is not a willingness to play clubs, since it means I clearly can't open any other suit.

So first question: Is 1C showing 2+ a conventional call and should it be treated as such in all interpretations of law?

2. The director then cited the ACBL alert chart for his ruling that redouble was a conventional response: "A bid which, by partnership agreement, conveys a meaning not necessarily related to the denomination named or, in the case of a pass, double or redouble, the last denomination named. In addition, a pass which promises more than a specified amount of strength, or artificially promises or denies values other than in the last suit named." And followed that up by saying that redouble "artificially promises values in a suit other than the last therefore conventional."

First of all, I think most people play that XX promises 10+HCP, and I don't think that necessarily means values in outside suits (it might imply it). Also, it isn't telling partner not to play the contract redoubled (like an SOS XX), and so should convey a meaning related to the last contract/denomination, right? (and hence not conventional)

3. Maybe the laws should be clearer about using two adjectives (natural/artificial, conventional) to describe what's allowed or not and that might clear things up a bit. I remember once an opponent overcalling 2NT with 19HCP but I was oblivious because none of the 2NT interpretations are alertable on the CC. I expect to ask a director or two about all this when I'm in Reno.

Comments/thoughts welcome either here or in the forum thread.


thg said...

I'm pretty sure the newest Laws do not define "convention". So, the quoted part of the ACBL active ethics page that cites "the latest version of the Laws" for a definition of convention is out of date.

The Pretender said...

Asked a high-up director, and his first reaction was that it was a silly ruling. His basic point was that after the double, the situation was now competition and no longer a "conventional response".