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He may have forgotten

A recent post featured an auction starting 1-2, where the 2 overcall was described as showing both majors, but turned out to have only hearts, a possibility which Advancer catered for in the auction. 

Under current EBU regulations, fielding a misbid like this is legal so long as you have no UI.  However, if you suspect a misbid for any reason other than the cards you hold, you should inform your opponents of the possibility.  Otherwise, there may be a ruling that opponents have been damaged by misinformation.

So far so legally consistent.  But in practice, the part about disclosing the possibility of a misbid just doesn't work.  My partner opens 1, my right-hand opponent bids 2, my left-hand opponent alerts, I ask, my LHO tells me that by agreement it shows "at least 5-5 in the majors, but last time it came up he'd forgotten".  What am I supposed to do with this information?  My methods are that if 2 is natural, my 2 bid would be natural and forcing, but if it shows 5+ spades my 2 bid is artificial, with a meaning related to the minors.  What should 2 mean if 2 shows spades but that may have been forgotten?   Even if we want to agree to treat 2 as natural once the probability of a misbid becomes high enough, how are we both supposed to estimate the same probability?

I say that to protect what I'll call the non-forgetting side there should be consequences to declaring that the meaning of a call is uncertain.  Specifically, if an explanation mentions more than one possibility, the player who requested the explanation should be entitled to declare which meaning his side will assume.  And he should be allowed to take his hand into consideration in making his election.  (Conventional agreements about the meaning of the declaration should not be allowed.)

So after 1-2, which explained as either 5-5 in the majors or a system forget, I can say "we'll treat that as natural" and bid 2 naturally, or I can say "we'll treat that as majors" and bid 2 conventionally.  Or in either case I can make any other call, having settled the meaning of later spade bids by our side.

This procedure would rightly take the strain off the non-forgetting side.

(This applies only to face-to-face play, where the bidder's partner is the one making the explanation.)

Polls are fun, so what do you think of my proposal?



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