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Precision - 2 Club response to strong 1 Club opener - not alertable

In a regional Sunday Swiss last weekend, a theoretically superior team lost to us admitted mortals by eight imps.  They were apparently embarrassed enough that they resorted to passing the blame for a huge error through director and committee.  They must be better jailhouse lawyers than we were, because our big result (one of four boards out of seven we won; they won two) was rolled back, and they were declared winners of the match by three imps.  The primary issue was that our forcing 1 Club bid was alerted verbally, but the alert strip in the bidding box was not touched.  This was the case for every other alert at our table by either side; and the opponents had played us many times (including the previous day), and certainly know we play Precision.  Nonetheless, one player was allowed to claim that he might have remembered had the alert tab been touched.

Another issue was whether an alert is required for a 2 Club response to a Precision strong club opener (in this case after 1 Heart interference).  The claim was that an alert might have awakened the next bidder.  The two self-proclaimed experts at the other table condescendingly, haughtily, and obnoxiously "informed" me that "Everyone knows 2 Clubs is alertable."  I did ask a full-fledged expert at the tournament from another area, who plays Precision regularly, who answered to the effect that he wasn't sure, but he and his partner do not alert it, at least against competent opponents.  The director threatened me with procedural penalties if I continued to protest the point.

Before the committee met, I did some quick internet research and could find only one conclusive statement, but nothing authoritative from an official source.  The committee would not entertain a "non-ACBL statement."

So I e-mailed the following to rulings @acbl.org:

"In most Precision systems, a 2 club response to the 1 club opener is natural and game forcing. Alert rules and chart seem uncertain as to whether 2 clubs is alertable. A 2011 Precision article by Daniel S. Harting on quora.com says flatly that 'If your 1H/S/NT or 2C/D responses to 1C [Precision] are natural and game forcing, they are not alertable.' The article does not cite an official source. Is it correct? Does it depend at all on whether the opponents are sophisticated and know Precision?"

I received a prompt response from Dan Plato: 

"I would agree--it is natural therefore no alert is required. Of course you know you'll receive questions about the 2C response from both experts and beginners. One thing I always ask players to remember comes from our Alert Procedures:To ensure full disclosure, however, at the end of the auction and before the opening lead declarers are encouraged to volunteer to explain the auction (including available inferences).

I think this is good advice for all players."

Although I am happy to have been right on one of the technical points, the result unfortunately probably just serves to show that if you protest enough and are obnoxious enough and are thought by the director to be a significant player in the area, you can win some by whining that you couldn't win by skill.

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