Join Bridge Winners
Psyching 2

Recently at the club I watched a strange auction unfold. I was in fourth seat with AQJx K10 K109x Qxx. LHO and parnter passed, and RHO opened 2. I immediately smelled a rat. 

Background: The 2 opener was a very old man who has been playing casually for a long time. He has never played seriously, and I think most people (including himself) would consider him to be a beginner (or at least a novice). His partner is a very experienced (and good) player who insisted on playing old-school methods that included strong 2-bids. 

So theoretically, 2 is a big balanced hand, or 20+ with a real club suit. I can "smell" that he probably has neither, but it's certainly mathematically possible, and my partner and I have no means of bidding constructively over this opener, so I pass, and the auction proceeds:

(P) P (2) P

(2) 2 (3) All Pass

Opener's hand was xx xx AQJx AKxxx. We got a zero for 3 down 3, when we're cold for 4 of either major, or 3NT. My question is for the directors out there: How would you rule? Feel free to add specificity in the comments if my answers don't fit your assessment.

Also please feel free to comment with additional answers to the following questions:

Does the quality of a player make a difference here? Specifically, at what point do we draw the line between "Players who are learning and can't be expected to know better", and "terrible players who have been playing long enough that they SHOULD know better (even if it's clear that they don't)"?

What are the broad implications of psyching strong forcing bids? Or forcing bids in general? The laws make it clear that it's not allowed to psych 2, but they provide no guidelines (that I know of) for what to do when it happens. 

What constitutes a psych? Must the player intend to mislead? I don't think that was the case here. It's clear that he didn't have his bid. I don't know if he thought he had his bid, but I do think he was trying his best in the context of a system he didn't understand. When I was first learning I opened a 4=5=4=0 8-count Flannery. I didn't think I was psyching. I evaluated my void to be worth 3 points, and that got me up to 11. The director politely informed me that this was not allowed, and that we would lose 3 IMPs for that board regardless of the result at the other table. The fact that I had no intention to mislead was irrelevant. The fact that I had 50 master points at the time was irrelevant. The issue of whether or not the opponents were damaged was irrelevant (there was no discussion about this).

Thanks in advance for your comments. I'm infinitely fascinated by ethical implications of the laws. I'm looking forward to the comments.

No score adjustment. Warn the offenders not to do it again.
Adjust to AVE+ for the non-offenders, AVE- for the offenders.
Adjust to AVE+ for the non-offenders, keep the table result for offenders, but warn them not to do it again.
Adjust to AVE+ for the non-offenders, assign a procedural penalty to the non-offenders. (If different from 1/4 of a board, please comment.)
Other. (Please comment)

Sorry, to answer polls. Registered users can vote in polls, and can also browse other users' public votes! and participate in the discussion.

Getting results...
loading...
99 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top