Judy Kay-Wolff



At a local club today the auction proceeded:

1NT (15-17)      3C         X (RANDOM CARDS)    FOLLOWED BY TWO PASSES.


You are playing 3C is a minor two-suiter but there is no alert given.    What are your options?


dannyDecember 22nd, 2010 at 5:04 am

Obviously we have unauthorized information, and unless I have an extreme hand I would pass. But, if I had chose 3 Clubs with x x KQJTxx Jxxxx I would run regardless of the UI

Larry CohenDecember 22nd, 2010 at 6:52 am

Obviously, you have to pass–partner preferred clubs. Also obviously, this person ran. Either he was very inexperienced and didn’t realize (Judy would say no such thing), or he had no conscience. Surely, the director wouldn’t allow this–right?

Jane SegalDecember 22nd, 2010 at 6:55 am


I have been a director for about thirty years. I take my position very seriously as I not only ran a good sized game, taught bridge in the country clubs and have had a bridge school at a large club about as many years when I gave up club teaching). Presently I run private classes in my home since I retired from country club teaching. So I still very much have my finger in the pot and have done so for three decades.

“Trick or Treat: is cleverly posed as you never give the club bidder’s hand — but it matters not.

In my opinion, it is a slam dunk that if their convention card indicates they are playing minor two suiters (5/5, 5/6 or 6/5), if partner remembered (which obviously he did not) — his obligation over the double was pass or correct to diamonds. Once he did not, the club bidder

took advantage of unauthorized

information and should be barred

from bidding 3D. It is also considered what is called Convention Disruption and I think all knowledgeable directors would force a pass and have declarer play 3CX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mike BeckerDecember 22nd, 2010 at 7:45 am

Normally, I would agree with Danny, but I would never bid 3C with the hand Danny presented, I’d bid 3D. Maybe I can have x, void, QJ10xxxx, KQ10xx, where I bid 3C for the lead against their 4M, but never intended to play 3C if doubled. Other than that (which is very remote), I must sit for 3Cx’d.

Marty BergenDecember 22nd, 2010 at 7:50 am

Partner’s pass said he preferred clubs, so any action now is out of the question.

David BerkowitzDecember 22nd, 2010 at 8:13 am

Obviously, any non-extreme hand would not be allowed to run. If you hand bid 3C with,say, x,x, KQJxxxx, AQxx as a way to describe a massive diamond hand with clubs, I would allow the pull, but barring a hand this extreme the contract must be three clubs doubled.

dannyDecember 22nd, 2010 at 8:53 am

Those who say the player can NEVER run just do not understand the laws. Perhaps David’s example is better than mine, but you are not required to stop playing bridge and close your eyes and pass when there is UI. No one would consider sitting with his example hand. Therefore, pass is NOT a logical alternative, and the player can bid 3D, as indeed he should.

Robb GordonDecember 22nd, 2010 at 9:56 am

I agree with David Berkowitz.

Bobby WolffDecember 22nd, 2010 at 10:03 am


In my, at times, not so humble opinion, your comments can easily be misinterpreted by either inexperienced appeals people or by relative newcomers to the game.

When unauthorized information (UI) becomes available the person receiving it is required to “lean over backwards” (my considered phrase) to not take advantage of it and, of course, some of the extreme examples given, such as the 7-4 hand, would be an exception.

The sad thing about your description is that a wannabee bidder, chiefly because of the UI, will look for ways to justify an otherwise unethical action, and by your rhetoric, from someplace that you think is on high, may cause the game and our appeals process to retrogress.

Instead of you now getting angry at my not so veiled accusation, you would do yourself a favor to consider what is being said and be a positive role model instead of one who just wrote what he did.

ChrisDecember 22nd, 2010 at 12:00 pm

With David’s hand the agreement is obviously not pass or correct (weak minors) but game forcing so a bid is required. Who would want to play 3C with that hand?

With Danny’s hand I also would like Mike not have bid 3C, but having done so if the agreement is pass or correct and partner passed I would also pass.

dannyDecember 22nd, 2010 at 2:45 pm


The very fact that Judy did not even post a hand, and asked us what our options are should tell you why I said what I did. Of course 95% of the hands will have to pass. But to ask us what our options are without hand, at least to me, suggested that we have NO choice but to pass. Indeed I have seen less experienced directors rule that way. I am trying to enlighten those who think ‘if there is UI’, you must close your eyes and pass. IF you can’t see that from what I said, I guess we are finished debating the matter.

Bobby WolffDecember 22nd, 2010 at 3:24 pm


The main issue in Judy putting up the question (I think) was only so that lesser experienced players and certainly newcomers would begin to understand what constituted unauthorized information.

It has less to do with the official rule of not being able to use that information in influencing one’s action.

With the proliferation of artificial conventions, I believe firmly that partners should make every effort to remember their conventions and if not, then immediately either cross them off the convention card or suffer the consequences. If we want bridge to advance in stature and at several different levels, we should require more responsibility from the ones who want to play it seriously. Otherwise it will revert to the old folk’s home standard that many people think where it belongs now.

Furthermore I prefer to talk about not giving UI rather than, like a lawyer, talking about what one may be able to get away with.

I suspect you meant no harm, only information, when you mentioned limits, but if the great number of wannabe players out there put the exceptions on hold and complied to the rules, at least for now, bridge itself would be better off.

dannyDecember 22nd, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Meant no harm? Of course I meant no harm. Why do you think I sit on the NAC in the first place? I just wanted to point out the real rules, being what they are as I posted, as opposed to some theoretical construct you prefer.

Don’t get me wrong. It would be a really rare hand where I would allow the seemingly impossible bid of 3 Diamonds.

The transmittal of UI is a fact of life in bridge–people are not perfect. They forget bids meanings etc. Knowing the rules, and applying them properly should be the goal of committees, directors, and last but not least, bloggers!

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 22nd, 2010 at 4:46 pm


The sad aspect that UI is a fact of life may be alright with your sort of rationale, but I have and will continue to do everything in my power to stop it!!!!!!!!

Don’t throw the goals of committees and directors in my face. I’ve seen it all as witnessed through the eyes of both Edgar Kaplan and Bobby Wolff and plenty of egregious errors and rulings have been made. Perhaps changes should be made at the source rather than defending them.

The problem is no one seems to care enough to educate the directors and the committees as to what they should be looking for. Everything seems to be done behind closed doors — and as far as some of your laws and rules, you know what you can do with them. I see them in action every week at the duplicate games.

Thank God for blogging. At least the public has an opportunity to know what is actually going on.

P.S. And with people like you sitting on the NAC, it doesn’t impress me one bit after listening to some of your banter.

dannyDecember 22nd, 2010 at 5:24 pm


Good luck stopping UI. It is a part of the game. Players are ALLOWED to forget conventions. They cannot benefit from the UI, but it is part of the game.

Of course errors have been made on appeals. Do you expect perfection?

Yes, we need to educate directors and committees. That was why I responded to this thread in the first place. How can you ask what the players options are, without showing us a hand? Did you not see David’s example hand? Do you think he should be forced to sit for 3C with that hand? The point is a player still can play bridge. He just needs to bid as if his partner did alert the call.

Everything is done behind closed doors? I know your hand has been expunged from the casebooks, but every effort is made to publicize, analyze AND criticize decisions.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 22nd, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Yes, Danny, my appeal hand was expunged from the printed casebook but not by accident!!!! We both know the background. And — I do think there are politics and stealth that go on behind closed doors so as not to make the hired hands or volunteers look bad. It is like a brotherhood.

O.K. — to the actual hand

West: J6432 10542 842 A

East:: — AK9 KQ753 Q8743

Of course, the other hands cited by David, et al. were not in the same category. What distresses me is that directors are not educated on subject matters like these and it is high time the ACBL took note and made an effort to do something about it. Not one of the four directors who were asked had a clue.

And yes, Danny, I know all about criticizing decisions as Bobby is on the panel that reviews dozens of appeals committee verdicts — and it is in living color for all to see.

Nobodys perfect — but in the case of the above hand, there can be no argument.

The concensus: The final contract should have been rolled back to 3CX DOWN! East had said it all at his first opportunity.

tomDecember 22nd, 2010 at 8:55 pm

judy you and i dont always see eye to eye but i agree 100% with you on this one and the director i sleep with would also

EllisDecember 22nd, 2010 at 11:06 pm

This is a very strange debate, ui is ui, having ui does not preclude you from bidding if you believe your hand warrants it.

Granted that you have to decide wether pass is a logical alternative and granted that you have to bend over backwards to ensure that you are not being seen to take advantage of the rules( a good name is worth a lot more than any board in any bridge game) but if the hand passes your personal test of integrity then bidding is not disallowed. Having now seen the hand pass should have been the only alternative.

PaulDecember 23rd, 2010 at 5:58 am


A textbook example of using unauthorised information. I know it happens in the clubs but you’d hope that all qualified directors, and all unqualified directors, would correct such a blatant abuse.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 23rd, 2010 at 6:38 am


Happy to hear that you and your bed-partner are in accord!



Judy Kay-WolffDecember 23rd, 2010 at 6:48 am


I was not trying to say that there are not exceptions to UI.

However, the combination of factors (no alert and correction to 3D) made the minor suit holder realize partner forgot what they were playing and could not now overrule his forgetfulness. I think Pass to 3CX is not a ‘logical alternative’, but in light of no alert — a FORCED alternative. Partner had his chance. I believe you are now out of the auction.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 23rd, 2010 at 7:12 am


You said a mouthful.

Unfortunately, you and I are born optimists. The majority of Directors here in the States at the club level have no idea what we are talking about. It is a foreign concept to them. In fact, it was proven in living color when the director allowed the 3D bid to stand and when challenged he asked four other directors who all agreed.

What does that tell you? It means the club level is in deep trouble when not one director had a clue of the blatant transgression. I do think the comments of the experts on this site helped make the light dawn and I am appreciative for their participation.

I am happy to report that after I had Bobby contact one of the owner/managers and offer to write an email explaining the seriousness of the situation (involving both Convention Disruption and Unauthorzed Information), she graciously responded. She spoke to one of the other owners and they agreed to not allow the bid and make a score adjustment (not as severe as it should have been — but a step in the right direction).


Perhaps a petty issue — but a victory for the honor of the game.

I am proud of the group who were not embarrassed to have goofed (even after taking a poll of their directors who were in accord with the erroneous ruling). Hats off to Las Vegas Bridge World for setting an example for the rest of the ACBL to follow. It is never too late to learn.

EllisDecember 23rd, 2010 at 9:04 am


although I agree with your sentiments Iam not sure that the ui of partner having forgotten our agreement is grounds enough for failing to bid a freak hand. In this particular instance there is no doubt in my mind that pass was the only alternative, but this is not so for freaks , bridge logic need not go out of the window because of the ui. It just needs to be so normal to bid that my long deceased grandmother would have made the bid.

Mind you this is also the reason that freak hands never make good bidding questions:-)

To be honest , in my local club where bad rulings are the norm , and most of the players are not tournament players and have no real knowledge of the rules, Itend to let bad rulings stand at the table and discuss them afterwards with the director/players involved, there is also an important element of not usurping the directors authority. If the club players think a director is bad he/she will have difficulty with future rulings.

As well as the all important factor of civility at the club, Iwould rather suffer a bad ruling than give one person any reason for not coming back.

Robb GordonDecember 23rd, 2010 at 9:13 am

Yikes Judy! Your happy ending horrifies me. To review –

A ruling was made at the table (we all agree the director blew it). Whatever appeal was possible at the game either was or was not made, and if made, rejected.

After the fact, the Director’s boss is contacted and changes the ruling, presumably without even hearing from the offending side.

I think that this is not at all in accordance with appeal procedures set out in the Laws (Law 92-93). I think that this is contrary to our system (the USA, not just bridge) of jurisprudence. I think it sets a horrible example, a horrible precedent, and is not within anybody’s authority who acted.

Take a baseball analogy. Umpires blow calls all the time. We saw a great (terrible) example with that young Tiger pitcher Gallaraga and his imperfect perfect game (or is it the other way around?). Everybody, including the umpire himself agreed that he blew the call. Did Commissioner Selig go back and “adjust the score”? Rightly, no!

What should have happened in this case? It certainly was fine, and even desirable that Bobby contacted the owner and educated him/her and presumably the directors in his or her employ. It would also be good to educate the offender (some of these people REALLY don’t understand these rules), and the director should have done this.

I am sorry to go off on this so strongly but I can think of incredible injustice that COULD be done if club owners take this as a precedent.

Warm regards,


Bobby WolffDecember 23rd, 2010 at 11:10 am

Hi Robb,

While I respect your knowledge, intentions, and most of the times your practicality, I directly disagree with you (and others, such as Danny, to some respects Ellis and likely others who, at this time, have no way to determine just who they are. Let me explain:

1. Learning something new and depending on what sides of the brain (I am not knowledgeable about the details) are to be effected, particularly since bridge logic is tied to the study of numeracy, it is a larger task than almost all of us, including me, to comprehend.

2. If anyone dares to think that the concept of unauthorized information and its nuances is an easy subject for the bridge layman or especially novice to grasp, he needs to rethink .

3. Many extraordinarily bright and high IQed special people are no less than horrible with so many of the concepts necessary for players to even have a chance to develop their bridge thinking and eventually become a top player or even close to one.

4. Obviously this fact alone does not negatively reflect on the overall intelligence of these otherwise learned savants. However, it does play a large factor in the teaching of bridge and its byproducts (TDs, club owners, ACBL BOD’s members, bridge teachers themselves and possible other bridge role models).

5. Since without this ability, the ceiling on actually playing the game as well as understanding the logic behind many of our specialized bridge laws such as the irreparable havoc caused by convention disruption, the unusual limited legal language of bidding available, many of the subtle psychological mind battles between the great players, the reasons for possibly at least, some use of psychic bidding, as well as the understanding of necessary even handed ethical tempo as well as our current subject, the illegality of using unauthorized information (UI) during the bidding or defense, causes most a very small chance to progress to what that person’s other intellect would normally reach, almost to the sky in his or her ability to comprehend.

6. Trying to get to my point, (finally), the number of bridge players out there who do not excel and only play the game for social, fun, or other relatively frivolous reasons far out number the ones who play it very seriously. And, instead of soon competing against only one’s peers, like in other competitions, in bridge, all classes, at least in many tournaments, still all play in the same competition and directly against each other.

If I am basically correct in my analysis it then becomes totally necessary when discussing a subject like illegally conveying unauthorized information, it should not be coupled with an immediate discussion of exceptions, since for learning periods, that interlude will only confuse and deflect the person who is trying to learn.

It then becomes likely that his thoughts may be, since he will logically be trying for his best score, that it might be better for him to learn what the exceptions are, so that he can learn how to conjure up his best defense, once he gets accused of violating that law.

What any educator wants is for his pupil to understand what UI is rather than for him to concentrate on how to beat the case once he is accused.

Yes, one day it will be wise for everyone to understand the details of all our laws, but first we need to crawl before we walk and unfortunately we are encumbered by many more than expected of us who have not mastered, as of yet, the first step.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 23rd, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Yikes, Robb:

DON’T TALK TO ME ABOUT ANY APPEAL PROCEDURES. Some of them are bad enough to make you puke and I have lost all respect for the appeal process (and some of the laws and alerts as well) because of our enormous record of bad decisions.

We are talking about a club game. I know one club in Vegas where they are so desperate to keep their customers happy and not lose the card fees they give double rulings/scores to make each side happy. This is not Sesame Street or Ding Dong School — but an ACBL sanctioned event.



First of all, when the director (?) was called to the table, the defendant spoke up so it wasn’t like he didn’t know of the protest. He happens to be a good player and did it with with his eyes open — knowing the rules of the game quite well.

Unfortunately, the primary owner/manager was on vacation and was not privy to the goings on. I assure you it would have been handled differently because she is dedicated to improving the conditions to elevate the level of the club. I had to laugh when I was told that they (the directors) don’t like to overrule each other — but rather to support one another’s decisions. Isn’t that admirable??????? I guarantee you if, instead of the four so-called directors being conferred with, had they selected any of a half a dozen other players who are in the expert or near expert category, NOT ONE WOULD HAVE ALLOWED the 3D call. To use the other unqualified directors to back up the DIC, is a real joke. THey don’t know anymore than the one in charge.

So, you can take your protocol and stick it!

Maybe the ACBL should start paying more attention to the qualifications of directors — and by the way — do they still use the open book tests? I am fed up with the quallity of directors (even at the sectional level) but no one cares enough to do anything about it). Everything is kept hush, hush and it is run like a closed corporation.

At least the person at the helm tried to do the right thing, respecting Bobby’s fair judgment. The result was not as important as the princiiple involved — and that is playing


So, you are preaching to deaf ears. Save your breath.


EllisDecember 23rd, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Bobby I appreciatte your sentiments, however I do find myself in disagreement with some of them.

I play in a local club, we have 600 members 350 of which are active, out of the 350 active members 50 are designated as flight A players for club purposes only(in my humble opinion this number in tournament bridge could be whittled down to 5) the vast majority of these players play for purely social reasons and enforcing heavy handed rules is not he way to forward bridge within the community.

The setting of good examples of ethical behaviour and sportsmanship by better players is much higher on my list of things that are important than getting a rulling changed for whatever reason however eggregious the ruling.

Just as an aside, I have always thought of bridge to be a language skill as oppossed to a numeracy skill, even in the play there seems to be a magic which can only be seen by the litterate side of the brain.

Robb GordonDecember 23rd, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Bobby I don’t think anything I said contradicts anything you said.

Judy – do you think bridge should have rules? If you do, then you have to live with them. If you don’t you have to make up your own game but it won’t be bridge. I am fortunate to serve on the Laws Commission that should probably be named after Edgar Kaplan. He believed the Laws were important. Obviously he didn’t believe that they were perfect, because he tried to improve them, and did, for the most part.

What do you think Edgar would think of the owner changing the score after the fact?

We have no argument about taking advantage of UI, just which of the Laws you think we should follow and which we shouldn’t.

Don’t worry about my breath, I have lots more!

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 23rd, 2010 at 4:19 pm

As far as Edgar, I knew him for forty-years — and much better than most. Lots of laws he drafted were written so he could interpret them how he wanted as he didn’t trust the judgment of some of the directors. That was one of the first subjects that Bobby and I

discussed when we met. We both knew his motivation. In fact, everyone always teased that if you gave Edgar the facts, he could win the case for whichever side he wanted to win.

Yes, I do think bridge should have rules. But if so, the directors must be trained and qualified to recognize and interpret them — none of this “we don’t like to reverse the DIC’s decision.” Ah, there’s the rub! No one is there to enforce the laws and most directors do what they damn please. Look at all of Danny Kleinman’s comments in the last year about directors showing favortism to some and disdain to others.

Bridge has to be played on a level playing field. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Tuesday’s incident (with the actual cards and failure to alert) was open and shut in the opinion of the real experts on line. The director in charge should have known immediately that 3CX was the final contract. Instead they had to have a pow-pow of directors whose level of knowledge did not include the implications of the pass over the double (indicating a preference for clubs over diamonds). When Bobby wrote an email to the ‘directors’ involved, they did agree with him because having been explained the facts, they were now armed with inferences they previously had no clue about. The score eventually was ruled as A+ and a A- (instead of 1/2 and 11-1/2. If the correct ruling was made, 3CX would have gone for a number and not been allowed to play 3D. So, the director Bobby wrote to, in good faith, actually compromised, but did not score it as 3CX DOWN. I believe when unauthorized information is obvious (which in this case it was according to the experts who responded), the score should have reverted back. Thus, the A+ AND A- were no ‘biggies.’ — just an effort at a mild conciliation to close the issue.

And, by the way, there never should have been an “after the fact” issue. The DIC should have formed an appeals committee to decide. What kind of nonsense is it to ‘check with directors who knew little more than those asking.’

And, by the way, I find a lot of sloth in filling out cards and alerting. Most of the ethics at our club are fine and there are a few very good players so for the most part, there is little nonsense. However, when there is — you must nip it in the bud so that it does not become a free for all and people will soon cease and desist.

Here’s to better ethics and less UI and CD.

Robb GordonDecember 23rd, 2010 at 5:24 pm

I agree with absolutely everything you said here from top to bottom. The ONLY thing I disagree with is that after-the-fact score adjustment whatever it was. I certainly realize it isn’t going to make a difference in anybody’s life, but for the same reason Bobby is concerned about blogs that “lawyer” the UI issue, I am concerned about club owners thinking that they have the right to do this when they do not. Thanks for understanding.

PS – I think Edgar could have sold out Carnegie Hall for a reading of the Manhattan telephone directory 🙂 (and I would have had orchestra seats)

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 23rd, 2010 at 8:59 pm


Let’s face it. There is a simple solution. Any club that has a clientele of 15-25 tables with many national champions should have an Appeals Committee and then all could have been avoided. The directors who are friendly and lovely are not qualified to make judgmental decisions. Sure they can read from the rule book but in involved auctions are not familiar enough with the innuendos, to make a decision on their own. Thus, an experienceed committee of elders would come in handy and a decision should have been made immediately after the session if the director was not experienced with the issue.

I don’t buy it that it’s just a game — a social get together. Most of the players are fierce competitors with some newcomers or oldtimers mixed in. It matters not — but this is not party bridge and one must abide by the standards of play. Therefore, an Appeals Committee (pro bono, of course) would serve a very useful purpose if it is handled politely and delicately based on protocol and doing the right thing. This marathon blog and the whole incident could have been avoided and we could go on to more interesting subjects although I think it did open the eyes of the public.

EllisDecember 24th, 2010 at 12:13 am

Actually it is just a game, at least according to the ACBL

They will not get involved in anything at the club level, from conduct and ethics to bad director rulings, they are just not that interested in anything aside from collecting sanction fees.

The quality of the directors that clubs employ is up to the individual clubs, and the demand for a level playing field falls by the way side in the interetrs of better social enviroment.And talking only of my local club, we would be hard pushed to find 3 people to sit on a standing appeals comittee that are knowlegable enough to be effective.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 24th, 2010 at 2:17 am


I’ve always believed in “Hitch your wagon to a star.” — strive for the highest you can achieve — in whatever the endeavor happens to be.

I am not sure which area you represent and it is wonderful you have such thriving bridge interest. According to your analysis. however, the average bridge playing prowess of the players doesn’t compare to the game to which I am alluding. If you want a better social environment here, people can play kitchen bridge where one does as he or she wants and there are no guidelines. Duplicates here are sanctioned and master points are distributed so basic rules must be followed.

It all boils down to what you have available to help adjudicate problems. We are most fortunate that there is a reasonable amount of players who could fill the bill So, in our particular cases, it is a question of having qualified people. I understand your hands are tied and and sadly nothing can be done about it. However, at our club we have no excuse as the problem (which may only occur occasionally) can easily be remedied.

I now understand your apathy as you seem to have no other choice and do the best you can. Thanks for being so frank.



Bobby WolffDecember 24th, 2010 at 5:22 am

Hi to many of the above and, at least from my end, to make clearer my intended humble views,

Danny, I did not mean you meant to inflict intentional harm, but what I did mean is that discussing exceptions to the rule against taking advantage of UI should not take priority over first making sure that taking advantage of UI is immediately known as a major NO NO in competitive bridge and to start out talking about when it is OK without first getting acknowledgment that abusing UI is not, at least in my opinion, the best way to get that point across. There will be time later to discuss special situations, but only when the bridge student first understands his primary responsibilities and that furthermore bridge is a unique game, primarily because of the partnership element, requiring unusual awareness which is definitely not present in other competitions.

To Robb, I agree 100% that we are on the same track in all the important matters discussed and, at least from my perch, have been happily convinced of that for years.

To Ellis, while I agree to your assessment of many, and probably most bridge clubs, throughout the world’s bridge hangouts, I am hoping for them to give greater attention to detail which would involve bridge education and utilizing bridge elders (as you so well describe them), to at least attempt to establish the proper discipline so that the game played, will always resemble what you and I want it to be.

However, it needs to be noted, that all bridge elders are not exactly the same, with some fitting the mold well as bridge disciplinarians, and with enough social graces to convince lesser experienced bridge enthusiasts, but sadly, other elders come up short. I do also understand and sympathize with many clubs being in difficult positions to enforce necessary bridge laws consistently among their whole clientele, but to not continue to search for ways to find proper common denominators for vital bridge disciplines, should not be acceptable. The avenue taken may (and probably should) be different from club to club, but the effort needs to be ever present and transparently visible, to succeed.

In any event Judy joins with me to wish a safe and joyous holiday season to all bridge bloggers, wherever you happen to live.

EllisDecember 24th, 2010 at 9:20 am


although Iagree with everyrhing you say and in my ideal world all would be as you wish, as the chair for the C&E in the club , when I try to explain to a director why an initial ruling was wrong and Iget these type of answers

1) But they revoked I needed to penalize( huh, must have missed the concept of restoring equity)

2) They need to bid as if they were behind screens, (Excuse me? yes, why would they have a screen then they could see the other hand?) The director was thinking of a movie screen and had never heard of playing behind them.

3. Did you ask the player if they would have changed thier call? I wouldnt have! (Hmm but you were not the player so you didnt get to have that choice ,but the player did)

Ihave considered purchasing a sandbox out of y own funds so all of our octaganerians will play nicely.

Happy Holidays to one and all.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 24th, 2010 at 9:50 am


You have a marvelous sense of humor, but I often think to be a bridge player and keep your sanity — that is mandatory.

Pray tell, where do you live? In what City or Country. It is a real mystery either involving gremlins or martians — not people who proclaim they play bridge. Are you pulling my leg?

Happy Holidays to you too.


Robb GordonDecember 24th, 2010 at 10:28 am

An appeals committee at the club would be a good educational tool as well as ensuring that “justice” is served, and it is permitted under the Laws. Permitted, but not required because, as Ellis says, many clubs do not have qualified people to serve. To have unqualified people serve would likely only exacerbate the problem.

This whole situation reminds me of an experience I had very recently. We were playing in a club in a city we were visiting. In this 10 table game there was one top level player, many amateurs and some duplicate novices.

While playing against a very pleasant pair of novices, a hesitation UI came up. Now, against such folks we would often grin and bear it, but this one was so blatant (something like one opened 1NT, I overcalled, slow pass, pass 2NT by opener on 4-3-3-3 16 count or something like that) that I called the director hoping for a “teachable” moment.

I was the one who got the lesson. The director ruled against me and I did not perceive it was out of favoritism, but out of genuine ignorance. I took him aside and told him I accepted the ruling but that I had blah blah credentials and I would encourage him to review the situation with an experienced tournament director. I explained that he was doing his patrons no favor if they came to believe that this was acceptable in the tournament world.

Later he came up to me and told me he talked to Mr. X, Mr. X being the club owner and “experienced director”. I let it go.

I later (see I can be persistent too) emailed Mr. X, and it was the beginning of a long colloquy. At the beginning, I think Mr. X thought I was some jerk throwing my weight around, but by the time we finished our correspondence he was on the right page, both as to the rules and to my intentions.

I share this not to say that it is easy to change the world, but that it is very hard. For every Mr. X whose mind can be opened up, there are several Mr. Y’s whose cannot and whose position will only harden with entreaty.

But that should not prevent us from trying.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 24th, 2010 at 10:41 am


Hats off to you. I really believe it is worth fighting for. There are few of us still around who really care for the beauty, majesty and morality of the game. You said you still have lots of breath left — well so do I. Let’s keep trying to do the right thing while we still have the energy and time on this earth.



EllisDecember 24th, 2010 at 10:50 am

I wouldnt pull your leg about this stuff, some of it is so funny I couldnt make it up if I tried.

We live in Laguna Woods CA, we have beyond any shadow of a doubt one of the best bridge facilities in the US, well lit, well spaced, place for over 100 tables, with close to that number in use on many weekday afternoons, the use of a full kitchen, timing and video screens, as well as bridgemates, and a PA system so the directors can be heard.

And yes I do sometimes think it is populated by bridge martians

, my favorite story though is being called at home by a director at home 4 hours after a game( in which i played as a fill in as someones partner had failed to show,) because Ihad allowed a player on opening lead out of turn to replace their card and also allowed thier partner to make any lead they wished, my temporary partner had called to complain that had i used my rights etc etc we would probably have got a better score.

Explaining to my partner that although I had certain rights I chose not to use them because I would rather win on my own merits than by the opps mistakes , and that a sporting gesture is far more important than a matchpoint didnt seem to go over very well.

We get 60 -70″ novice” players in for a 30-40 minute lecture, on our personal convention card, which includes such niceties as 2 way nmf and minorwood , and yet we cant get an “A” flight player any where near this lecture.

Hopefully our c flight novices will soon surpass our A flight players and we will get the beginnings of a real bridge club as oppossed to a sociial event only club.

EllisDecember 24th, 2010 at 11:15 am

I had a director called to my table once, because I answered positively to a queen ask in a keycard auction with extra length but no queen, the opponents wanted me written up for a phsyce.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 24th, 2010 at 4:37 pm


At this point, I’d believe anything.


Bobby WolffDecember 26th, 2010 at 6:18 am

Hi Ellis,

Your last blog about being negatively queried about answering positively to a queen ask without the queen, but with extra length, is right on point to me about what is terribly wrong inside the ACBL, apparently without any desire on their part to try and change or update knowledge so that all TDs will help, not hurt, with their various rulings, not to mention their considerable influence on the game itself, by starting to consistently rule correctly, instead of the devastatingly wrong way they often do now.

In order to learn to rule correctly there must be some form of education, conducted by someone who is ultra qualified and thus respected by both his peers and his would be students. Second, there must be a willingness of both the TDs and their supervisors to engage in that sort of upgrading, both for the future of the game and to instill confidence in the direction to be headed. Finally, this suggestion should definitely have priority over lesser important matters, similar to annual updates required in such professions as medical and legal who demand that such a thing be done in order to justify basic consistent human needs in those critical professions.

Changes and upgrades in all meaningful endeavors are not usually transmitted to the necessary people in the direct line of fire, by osmosis or other mysterious means,

which leaves only specific education as the vehicle.

So, Ellis, you have struck a nerve with me, but I thank you for that and whether or not the ACBL does at least a 90% turn for the better or not, is directly up to them.

As a lung specialist must have, at least, once said to his patient, “Don’t hold your breath”!

JaneDecember 26th, 2010 at 10:03 am

Hi Judy,

I have a question about the bidding of this hand, not the UI issues. The UI has already been addressed by lots of smart people who know much more about the rules that I do. May I assume that the north person doubled three clubs, since the opps wound up in three diamonds doubled, making. Since north had opened an off shape NT (not a criticism, just a comment) and partner took no action against the three club bid, why not pass and let the opps waller in their misery. Even if they were playing three clubs as a long club suit, it seems unlikely they can make it and since partner took no action, what would be wrong with a pass? I am not a flight A player and don’t claim to be, just someone who finds the bidding process fascinating and I want to improve my skills. Thanks in advance for any advice you are willing to share.

JaneDecember 26th, 2010 at 11:09 am

Hi Judy,

After looking at the bidding sequence again, I see that south doubled the club bid. Random cards, the explanation given, is confusing to me. Should north bid a major if they do not have clubs? Did south double the three diamond bid? Looks reasonable since north, I assume, sat for the three club double. One of those lucky, crazy hands.

Once again, just looking for advice from the experts. Thanks.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 26th, 2010 at 11:12 am

Jane; Thanks for your interest but you have the directions wrong and the auction confused.

North opened 1N (with an offshape hand which is his perogrative.) East bid 3C. South asssumed it was clubs and does not have enough for a free bid but with 6 opposite at least 15 (strong NT) has the balance of power and has to make some kind of noise.

She made a negative double. The opener with KJ962 of clubs converted it to penalty.

Since there was no alert, East realized partner forgot it was a minor two suiter) and ran to diamonds. Holding KQ985 86 J1096 105 Bobby agreed it was an automatic double opposite a strong NT regardless of the result.

Being a non flight A player this should be a valuable lesson about taking advantage of unauthorized information (failure to alert) which is something all new or inexperienced players should know but few directors (and even teachers) are qualified to explain. Also, knowing you have the balance of power, you should not let the opponents push you around — regardless of the result. Had East passed, as he should have assuming his partner made the correct bid, the outcome would have been quite different (and justified) — with 3CX going for quite a number.

Hope this helps.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 26th, 2010 at 11:28 am


After responding, I saw your second comment. Here are some answers that may clarify the situation.

(1) Random cards means, I have points and opposite 1NT, we should get a plus.

(2) If opener bids 3H, random doubler can bid 3S (NF).

(3) Of course with the club holding of North, Pass was automatic.

(4) Naturally 3D was doubled by South as she assumed the bidding was on the up and up and it did take a freak hand (and a dummy that automatically should have retreated to 3D) to end up with the actual result.

It is clear to the world of expert bridge that East had no “pull” to 3D since partner could have shown the preference early if he had remembered what they were playing. THAT IS WHY UNAUTHORIZED INFORMATION AND CONVENTION DISRUPTION ARE SO DESTRUCTIVE TO THE GAME. WHEN THEY OCCUR — ALL BRIDGE STOPS!!!

JaneDecember 26th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Thanks for the explanation on the random double. It makes sense, and it does appear that east got the chance to run to a safer place to play. Since I had not heard of this random double, (ignorance may be bliss once in awhile) my partner and I would have been luckier. Over the many years that I have played this wonderful game, I rarely have gotten an adjusted score after calling a director regarding my opponents forgetting their systems. Most of the time, all the director does is to tell the opps that they have to remember what they are playing and have to alert what they are playing if it is a bid that is a system bid. Gee, thanks for that, right? This happens at the tournament level as well, so it is not only at our local clubs. I am not a director and don’t know all the rules, but I agree that the rules should be followed to the best of all our abilities. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my bidding question. I just discovered you and Bobby had the blogs a few days ago. Quite interesting!

Bobby WolffDecember 26th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Hi Jane,

Please excuse me for butting in, but you need to know what unfortunately too many much more experienced players than you. probably don’t.

Forgetting their convention (3 clubs showed both minors) by the partner of the 3 club bidder was Convention Disruption (CD) but had very little to do with the necessary ruling. The following did:

1. West (after his partner East had overcalled North’s 1NT bid with 3 clubs, a minor suit takeout) his partner failed to alert, which could only be caused by his forgetting the system they were playing and the meaning of his partner’s 3 Club bid. When South doubled 3 clubs (random cards, but not penalties) West then passed which should have shown to his partner that he, West, preferred clubs to diamonds since East’s bid showed both suits. Therefore, after North converted South’s takeout double (random) to penalties by passing, East became privy to unauthorized information, that being that partner had forgotten their convention by his failure to alert.

Consequently East having been theoretically bridge wise been told by his partner that he West preferred clubs to diamonds, but in reality East knew his partner had forgotten and was assuming he East just had a long club suit (which most people play). Therefore the information of his bid not being alerted becomes unauthorized information (UI) which cannot legally be taken advantage of by East. Therefore East was required to pass 3 clubs doubled and hope for the best.

This might be somewhat confusing, but in reality only the specific bidding can be used by the players as evidence to what the hands are, not skewed tempo, undue emphasis, or any other body movement.

The immediate description above is the calling card of bridge as we know it, and to violate that definition is unethical and not allowed.

Just to be sure, without the above caveat present. bridge is not worth playing because there can be so much more told partner than he has a right to know. Unfortunately many players, usually relatively new players let physical evidence rather than just the bidding itself help determine their actions.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 26th, 2010 at 5:06 pm


You say …..

“Over the many years that I have played this wonderful game, I rarely have gotten an adjusted score after calling a director regarding my opponents forgetting their systems.

Most of the time, all the director does is to tell the opps that they have to remember what they are playing and have to alert what they are playing if it is a bid that is a system bid.”

If you were proven injured, there should be a score adjustment. If not, life goes on as usual.

The fact that you never got an adjusted score (if indeed warranted) proves that tournament directors as well as club directors are not familiar with how it should be handled. I understand four directors were consulted with the subject hand and everyone thought the auction was ginger-peachy clean and recommended leaving the score stand. WRONG!.

It is time the ACBL started concentrating on teaching ALL directors about situations like these — and the sooner the better.

You asked a good question and Bobby’s explanation will give everyone a better handle on the auction and why it was wrong for East to pull 3CX which should have been the final contract and score though in reality that was not what actually happened. However, next time those involved will be in a better position to make the right ruling.

Bringing the issue out into the open served a worthwhile purpose!

JaneDecember 26th, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Wow, another term I had not heard of before- convention disruption. I understand what it means, and when partner passed, he accepted the bid because he forgot the system (seems obvious in this case) or because he had some clubs. Of course, if he forgot the system, he would not alert. Pulling the bid to three diamonds was a chance the bidder took, and he got away with it this time.

I think I better read Bobby’s book again. Thanks for taking the time to answer the bidding questions and for the additional explanation. Knowledge is a good thing.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 26th, 2010 at 5:56 pm


He got away with it “this time” because those in charge were not familiar enough with the irregularity that had occurred

(running to 3D when partner’s pass said he preferred clubs).

Because partner did not alert, he took advantage of partner’s not remembering and struck it rich (unethically).

Of course, if the opponents knew what had happened, a trump lead might have beaten the contract so NS got the worst of it on all counts.

Robert E. HarrisDecember 29th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I think the answer is this: The contract should be put back to 3C unless the 3C bidder would almost always rebid 3D if his partner had alerted the original 3C bid and then passed the double. I can’t think of such a hand off the top of my head. Maybe a slam try over a psychic 1 NT opening?

I do a lot of club level directing, and there is a lot of marginal UI floating around the tables, mostly from occasional partnerships, pairs who play together once or twice a month and otherwise play now and then with others in a broad group. They tend to play some conventions with some folks and others with others. I say “MARGINAL” because no one knows what is going on. Often the pair are individually playing somewhat different systems. Then there are the failures to alert, the alerts of non-alertable calls, the announcements instead of alerts and the alerts instead of announcements, the explanations not asked for, the explanations offered by the bidder, meaningful questions and similar meaningless questions, the hesitations that mean inattention and the hesitations that mean something else, and so on.

The resistance to announcing the strength of a 1NT opening is really astounding. I point out the player (now late) who always asked when holding a strong hand and never with a weak hand. Well, that’s what the announcement is supposed to stop. They understand but do not announce. One tries to educate, but it is a slow process. The ACBL guidance on how to deal with this is not very helpful.

Bobby WolffDecember 29th, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Hi Robert (No disrespect by calling you by your given name),

Your comment is as good as it gets, since even though it covers the waterfront (and probably land areas as well) nothing more profound can be said.

If you continued on, I suspect, you would touch on intent to deceive and not, but not reach a conclusion, because all those irritations mentioned are hard to categorize. Therefore rules must be adopted where all must comply or pay the price.

Without having to accuse malice, where none might exist, it should just be assumed that when one becomes privy to UI he is required to lean over backwards to not take advantage or else plead guilty and take the fine imposed.

For all of us to improve and be rewarded with the best competitive mind game ever invented we should have no choice but to accept responsibility for committing taking advantage of UI, or its very damaging cousin, convention disruption (CD)

In most cases, all a partnership need do is to only play conventions that they are capable of understanding and therefore remembering and if they refuse, play them, and forget, then they must pay the price. At least to me, since players like to win, they would learn their conventions or else put them on hold until both partners were sure to not forget them.

Simple, but to the foxes who play to win (by stalking the hen house), or stubborn players who are also inconsiderate of others, they would be slower to comply, but sure to do it eventually.

I, for one, thank you for writing and would love to discuss it with you, up close and personal, at some future time.

Sadly, the ACBL seems to have taken a stand to only just stand by and deny responsibility, but in reality they are, hopefully not known to them, causing chaos, hard feelings, and all the fallout emotions by their laissez faire position. When they wake up, (if they ever do) and smell the roses our game represents, although it will be late, it might save this aspect of our game from ruin.