Laws Forum launched June 2018

Query Reply References

1st June, from Graham Burrows, KZN

Could you please tell me if there are any limitations on the use of opening with a 3 card minor, when using a 5 card major system.

Questions have been asked for clarity, especially when the holding includes 3-3 in the minors. All I can see from the laws and conventions is that it is accepted that a minor suit must contain at least three cards unless one is playing an approach club system.

Graham Burrows

Hi Graham

Absolutely no limitations. The WBF rules now state that an opening of 1-minor when it can contain 3 cards need not be alerted. However, a club can stipulate that for the sake of clarity and full disclosure, we announce a possible 3-card minor opening as "better minor"   or   "we always open 1C with 3-3 in the minors" or similar. Just as we announce a 1NT opening as "15-17 balanced". Benoni Bridge Club follows this procedure...

Personally, I prefer always opening 1C on 3-3. Even if diamonds are A-K-Q and the clubs 4-3-2 !
When I open 1D and D's are 3 only then I will have 4-4 in the majors.

The following deviations to the above norm are pre-alerts, i.e. it must be announced at the start of a session:

  • A system where 1C opening shows points only (like Precision)
  • When a 1C can be shorter in clubs compared to diamonds, e.g. 2-3 or 2-4
  • Also, if you open the weaker minor when 3-3 as a partnership understanding, this must be disclosed (Law40). A bad result obtained as a direct consequence of non-disclosure of a partnership understanding can be overturned (see Law40b).

Partnership Understanding


Law 40A1
(b) Each partnership has a duty to make its partnership understandings available to its opponents. The Regulating Authority specifies the manner in which this is done

Law 40B3:

(a) A side that is damaged as a consequence of its opponents’ failure to provide disclosure of the meaning of a call or play, as these laws require, is entitled to rectification through the award of an adjusted score.

(b) Repeated violations of requirements to disclose partnership understandings may be penalized.

11th June 2018

This incident happened during the European Championships, that is presently underway in Belgium.

From the Czech Republic v/s Scotland match: the Scots played in 3H by West in room 1 for -2 or -100.

In room 2 the Scots plays in 3D by North, for 1 down or -50. An innocuous-looking hand except for the fact that in Room 1, the Czech players (both!) forgot that a 3D response to a 1D opening in their system shows both majors and this fact was disclosed to the TD, who was called at the end of the hand in Room 1.

In their system, they are able to open 1D with the North hand on K-6. Suffice to say here that they play some sort of strong club system.

The TD was not called until at the end of play. North (or South) remembered that a 1D - 3D bid in their system was supposed to be for the majors. I think they deserve a pat on their back for belatedly disclosing that there could be damage caused to E-W for their misinformation (a non-alert is also deemed misinformation.) N-S called the TD at the end of the hand and "owned up". 1D - 3D = majors was in both of their CCs. They simply forgot.

QUIZ: How would you rule?

Pete Maybury of my mailing list, got it spot on! The TD figured that if they remember and explained, no-one would bid 3H. So the contract was reverted back to 3D.

Now a look at the hands (and results of other matches) determines what should happen to 3D by North, It was decided that one out of four times 3D makes, the other 3 times -1.

End result of the board? Instead of Czech Rep gaining 4 IMPs (+100 for 3H-2 and +50 for 3D-1) they gained but +1 IMP on the board, taking the weighted result in the calculations.

New 2017 Laws: emphasis is on restoring equity.

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