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Law is law (3 stories about illegal conventions)

The first story happened several years ago during NABC. My LHO open "could be short" 1, partner bid 2, that according our agreements was Michaels, 5-5 spade and red. Opponents got out of our way and we end up in 4, made, after less than perfect defense. Good score? Not so fast.

Opponents called a director, asking if our convention is legal. It was not an easy question, but after maybe 20 minutes of checking books and consultations with other directors decision was delivered: “convention is not legal and score adjusted to ave+/ave-.” Law is law. Because we earlier asked different director if our convention is legal and reply was “Yes”, no PP was issued.


The second story is from regional I played summer 2015.

June 19 (date is important) we played in the top bracket of the knockout teams. Multi was allowed, of course, under condition that we have two printed suggested defenses. We were ready. We pre-alerted our world-class opponents and put 2 printed copies of defense on the table. What could be a problem? Opponents summoned a director with complain, that our printouts are not the latest version of the suggested defense.

ACBL published the new version June 17, but our version was printed from ACBL site right before we left home to drive to the Regional, June, 14 or 15. Idea to check ACBL site just in case if ACBL changed the suggested defense during the Regional and our printed version is not up to date anymore did not cross my mind. Sure, directors had no ideas about new version of suggested defense against multi too. They checked ACBL site and confirm that our opponents are correct. (Not like I ever have any doubts about it.)

Opponents were very nice. They explained us what exactly was the change, and why the new version of the suggested defense is much better than the old version. It was interesting and enlightening. The only thing they did not explain is why they need the latest printout if they know everything by mind, but I did not dare to ask that question. Law is law. We did not have the printed version of the suggested defense, so.. At least we did not get the PP.


The third story from the last National you can read here.

That time I was on the different end of the issue. Opponents used convention without pre-alert and printed defenses. We had a problem in the bidding. Idea that used convention should be pre-alerted and suggested defenses should be given to us did not cross my mind until LHO started to think about lead, and the face expression of my partner clearly suggested that we are in trouble and it is my fault.

Actually, I did not think about suggested defenses at all, I asked director about pre-alert and he was the one who brought up the issue about missing printouts of-suggested defense.

I am sure, I did not have to make that bidding mistake. But with suggested defense in hand I could not bid the way I actually did, so that exact problem could not happened.

I maybe an ass. But law is law? 

Directors on the floor said yes. The head director who reviewed the case after complain of our opponents said No. I am curious to see the reason, but case was not printed in NABC bulletins. Maybe someday, somewhere…

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