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Ruling in Montreal

Montreal Regional: Saturday, August 17, 2019.  Bracket 1 Swiss, Round 1. Strong field.  Open+ chart allowed.

I was not involved in the hand.

North opened 1  (precision style, limited to 16 hcp).  East passed and South responded 2.


The 2 bid was explained as either 1) a game force with clubs or 2) a forcing NT type response with or without a spade fit. If the responder had a spade fit, he would have less than a limit raise.

East had a good hand:


What should he do now?  Is double a takeout of clubs?  Is double a takeout of spades?  Is double clubs?  It is dangerous to pass but it is also dangerous to bid.  Even with a good hand with short spades, it could be suicidal to enter the auction if the responder has the game force in clubs.  West chose to pass.  

EW should have called the director immediately since this convention is highly unusual and possibly illegal.  They did not.   I researched on the ACBL website and found no evidence that a convention like this is illegal.  However, I did find evidence that the treatment is pre-alertable. According to ACBL rules, systems that may be fundamentally unfamiliar to the opponents should be pre-alerted.   This treatment would seem to qualify.

NS bought the contract for 3S and went for -150 while EW were cold for +600 in 3NT.

South had:


EW did not call the director after the hand but seeked a ruling after the round was completed.  The question seems simple:  Is the 2 bid illegal, legal and not pre-alertable or legal and pre-alertable ?  Based on the information on the ACBL website, the 2 bid seems to be legal and pre-alertable.  If the 2 bid is deemed illegal or pre-alertable, it seems obvious that the result on the board should be thrown out.  

During the day, no director made a ruling.  This affected the matchups since the bracket had 10 teams and only 7 matches were played.  At the end of the last round, it was decided that no adjustment would be made.  There was no mention of the pre-alert.

The next day (Sunday), a director called the headquarters for some advice and was told the bid was legal but pre-alertable; however, no scoring change could be made because it was too late.   Why was it too late?  The non-offending side asked for a ruling immediately after the match.  This ruling, or lack thereof, had a huge influence on the overall rankings.  Do you agree that the ACBL should make the correction?

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