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BIT following 1m-2M; 2M-3nt vs 4M

In an earlier thread, I raised the question as to whether having the agreement that 1m-1M; 2M-4M shows 5+ in responder'a major would obviate 3nt as a logical alternative following a BIT.  Here is the response I got from the ACBL when I addressed the specific hand and auction to them:


Hello Henry,

Thank you for your questions.

The treatment that you describe (1m-1M;2M can often be made with three-card support) is not uncommon. Yes, you may have a partnership agreement to the effect that an immediate responder's rebid of 4M promises five or more cards in that major.

In the example you provide,






1d p 1H p

2H (BIT)

if there was a break in tempo (described in Law 16 as an "unmistakable hesitation"), then the unauthorized information provided by the break in tempo might result in an adjusted score or it might not. The issue of "logical alternative" will only arise if

a. The break in tempo demonstrably suggests one call over another, and

b. Responder makes the call suggested, and

c. There was a logical alternative call that he could have made, and

d. The opponents were disadvantaged by responder's choice.

These are all facts that the Director would have to determine on a case by case basis in light of the hand that responder actually has and what other players of his same class and using the same partnership agreements would do (NB:  using the same partnership agreements - my note).

In general, my advice to players who have to make a call after partner has gone in the tank is to make the same call they would have made with their hand if the hesitation had not occurred, and be prepared to hear a director call if an opponent believes you've taken advantage of the unauthorized information. The ruling could go either way, depending on a lot of factors.

I hope this has helped. Thank you for consulting the Rulings Box.

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